COLOMBIA AND ARGENTINA
On December 17, the plenary sessions of the Colombian House of Representatives and Senate made progress with the discussion of the Economic Growth bill which proposes that all medicines change their taxation category from excluded to VAT-exempt, thus lowering prices. Meanwhile, Argentine President Alberto Fernandez presented a bill declaring a health emergency and establishing reference prices for medicines in line with the agreement signed on December 13 by Argentina’s Ministry of Health with the pharmaceutical companies to reduce drug prices by 8%.
The Colombian bill seeks to improve access to medicines and proposes changing the taxation category for all medicines and supplies required for their manufacture from excluded to VAT-exempt. The impact of this measure will be analyzed by the National Commission on Drug and Medical Device Prices. To sanction this initiative, the Colombian Congress has convened extraordinary sessions until December 20, when it should be passed.
The bill presented in Argentina enables the Ministry of Health to monitor the prices of medicines and their alternatives for direct imports and licenses. It also creates a list of medicines and supplies to be purchased by the National Institute of Social Services for Retirees and Pensioners, and by the Superintendence of Health Services. In theory the bill could be enacted on December 20, although it may take longer and be postponed to the following week.