Cabinet authorizes Minister Sucre to present to the AN a project that will allow pharmacies to import medicines

The Cabinet Council authorized the Minister of Health, Luis Francisco Sucre, to present to the National Assembly the draft Law 16-22 that modifies literal d of article 8 of Law 24 of 1963 that will allow the importation of medicines by the pharmacies.

In this regard, the president, Laurentino Cortizo, assured that with this regulation, small pharmacies can associate to import and thus obtain medicines at a better price, as long as they meet the requirements.

Article 8 refers to the classification of pharmaceutical establishments and literal “d” defines pharmacies as establishments dedicated mainly to the preparation and retail sale of prescriptions, patent medicines, botanical drugs, chemical products, perfumes, cosmetics, and to the activities of pharmacies in the countries with the greatest economic progress, where soda fountains, ice cream parlors operate, and articles of their nature and activity are served to the public.

Meanwhile, the Vice President and Minister of the Presidency, José Gabriel Carrizo, pointed out that the Government is making significant changes and that they will generate positive results in the coming months in favor of the Panamanian population.

“With this modification, it is included that pharmacies or their owners can import medicines and thus in a simpler and faster way as merchants can look for distributors outside the country. If you have a valid sanitary registration in Panama, you can bring the medicine and sell it in your establishments,” explained Carrizo.

For his part, Minister Sucre explained to the Council of Ministers that medicines constitute a product of first necessity for the population because they attend to the recovery, rehabilitation and health care of people and it is the responsibility of the State to ensure their availability and accessibility. according to what is conceptualized in article 11 of the Political Constitution.

He stated that the regulation of medicines is dispersed in a group of legal norms, which includes laws, executive decrees and resolutions, mainly issued by the Minsa, mostly technical norms whose purpose is to guarantee the safety and efficacy of medicines, without However, he stressed that there are regulations that have an impact on the functioning of the market, which affects availability and accessibility.

He indicated that through 60 years of Law 24 of 1963, a drug market made up of wholesalers and retailers has been legally consolidated, forcing pharmacies to buy wholesale from intermediaries without allowing them direct access to the manufacturing laboratory and to be able to buy them at a better cost or to be able to import medicines that they can obtain at a better international price.

This situation, he said, has led to the imperfect functioning of the market where there is unequal and limited competition, which results in the presentation of prices markedly higher than those presented in other countries for identical medicines.

“Bearing in mind that the price of medicines has a direct impact on their accessibility, mainly for people with lower incomes, it is necessary to break down legal barriers that restrict the participation of more providers in the market. This legislative proposal is focused on allowing pharmacies, being regulated pharmaceutical establishments, to import drugs directly, complying with the regulations that guarantee their safety, quality and efficacy, causing greater competition, which would result in more and better offers”, highlighted the Sucre Minister.

According to the initiative that will be presented to the National Assembly, it is necessary to open market competition to benefit the consumer.

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