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February 15, 2023
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Small pharmacies demand rejection of extension to the 30% discount on medicines

Judith Pena | February 14, 2023

After yesterday, Monday, February 13, the technical committee for medicines approved to recommend, to the President of the Republic, Laurentino Cortizo, an extension in the application of the 30% discount on the purchase of medicines, the National Union of Pharmacy Owners (UNPROFA) spoke out against this measure.

According to Orlando Pérez, president of UNPROFA, the measure that has been in force since August 2022, has caused the closure of more than thirty pharmacies in the country, during the last 6 months, leaving more than 150 people without direct and indirectly.

“Despite the fact that we warned on multiple occasions about the negative consequences of the application of the 30% discount on the purchase of medicines, yesterday, February thirteen (13), it was approved to recommend to the President the EXTENSION of this measure, which It has caused the closure of pharmacies and not only has the supply of medicines in the National market deteriorated, but also the principle of supply and demand that, for large pharmaceutical companies, it is a high risk to maintain their operations in Panama, “he said.

He stressed that they have been assuming these discounts to the consumer without guarantees of tax credit, and this has generated some unfair competition with the large multinational chains.

He specified that the union disagrees with this 30% discount, because it has generated shortages in public health institutions.

“No to shortages in private pharmacies, not to the closure of small pharmacies, because there are no state health centers and polyclinics, cannot be imposed on the thinnest link in the chain: the small and medium-sized Pharmacies of Panama”, indicated.

They added that they appeal to the solution of fair prices, with equitable measures for all.

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