National Economic Prosecutor’s Office published its preliminary report of the medicines market. November, 2019.

On November 20th, the National Economic Prosecutor’s Office (“FNE”) published its preliminary report on the medicines market. This report joins other previous reports prepared by the FNE on other markets, like the textbooks, notaries and annuity markets and another report in public procurement is in progress.

The analysis of medicines market is based on the FNE’s detection of a lack of competition in this area, whose hypothesis is that there would be “spaces in the medicines market that are not working properly from the competition point, which would be causing that commercial conditions to which consumers may have access in the country are not optimal”.

The National Economic Prosecutor, Ricardo Riesco, said that “medicines are a primary commodity and is urgent adopt actions that allows the people access to it for a lower price. This is achieved through regulation that promotes more competition in this market”.

According to FNE, one of the study’s most interesting findings is that medicines market works as a market for brands, such as cars, clothing or luxury goods in general, and not as a commoditized one, based exclusively on price.

The FNE’s conclusions are contained in fourteen measures, which respond to four objectives: i) the introduction of more bioequivalent medicines to the market; ii) obligates doctors to prescribe unbranded medicines; iii) obligates pharmacies to provide the cheapest medicines; and iv) that the State buy medicines in a more transparent, efficient and effective way.

The main measures proposed by FNE are to modify the procedures for registration and certification of bioequivalence before the Institute of Public Health, to implement measures to increase the number of bioequivalent medicines, to regulate the dispensing and billing method of pharmacies, to remove the restriction on the sale of over the counter medicines outside pharmacies, to allow online sales of medicines, to regulate the functioning of pharmacy committees, among others.

With the implementation of the proposed measures, it is estimated by FNE that savings would be in a range between 20% and 40% in the price of medicines sold in pharmacies with bioequivalent alternatives. This would mean a total annual impact of between US$ 76 million and US$ 380 million in the market of medicines sold in pharmacies, which moves approximately US$ 1.5 billion a year.

This preliminary report was released for public consultation until Friday, December 20th.

The full report is available here.