On January 9, Panamanian President Laurentino Cortizo launched a drive to promote “consolidated medicines purchases” to enable all citizens to access medicines in the public sector. The idea is to promote cooperative work between the Ministry of Health (MINSA), the Social Security Fund (CSS) and the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF). Cortizo also presented the country’s Strategic Plan to 2024, which will promote the use of telemedicine and a range of programs to fight cancer. These measures will begin to be implemented this year, with the goal of having them up and running by 2022.
However, according to Cortizo, this only covers “80% of the drugs”, which he deems “insufficient”, thus aiming to promote joint purchasing mechanisms between different public sector entities to achieve “economies of scale” by accessing greater “volumes at lower prices for drugs”. Cortizo announced an agenda of working sessions between the CCS, MINSA and the MEF to be drawn up in the coming weeks.
The initiative falls within the framework of the health objectives presented in the Strategic Plan to 2024 presented by the Executive which include: strengthening the primary health care network, implementing electronic prescriptions at the national level, and improving the National Pharmacy Directorate regarding drug quality certification processes. The Executive also plans to implement the “Digital Health” Program to unify public sector prescriptions and pull them into an information system. Finally, efforts will be made to boost the National System of Care for Cancer Patients to improve current standards of service and care.