The Panamanian government has recently taken steps to avoid drug shortages and attract pharmaceutical companies to the country. On February 5, the Minister Counselor for Private Investment Facilitation, José Rojas, announced that the government is working to position Panama in the region as a pharmaceutical hub.
The Health Ministry (MINSA, for its acronym in Spanish) also announced a new medicine tender and on February 7, the Medicine Shortage Committee held its first meeting. Finally, Health Minister Rosario Turner announced future joint work with international experts to explore new cancer treatments in the country.
Rojas explained that the government is seeking to identify “areas and processes where pharmaceutical companies can be brought in” and “the necessary conditions for them to invest in the country.” He added that it is important to reduce and simplify entry barriers so that “medicines can be more affordable.”
Similarly, to preempt the critical shortage of medicines, MINSA will hold a second tender for 38 medicines that were not tendered in the first, which was held on January 15 for 407 medicines.
On the other hand, the Medicine Shortage Committee met at the Health Ministry MINSA for the first in a series of monthly meetings to analyze measures enabling access to medicines in the country. In addition, experts and researchers from the University of California met with the Minister of Health to discuss the possibility of conducting a clinical study of a new anticancer drug in Panama. Turner said that the experts “were initially keen in allowing Panama to take part in the drug approval trials.”