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The other side of the drug purchase policy

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By: Diana González-Bravo
MD, Epidemiologist
MBE researcher
Neuroeconomix

The purchase of drugs has multiple edges to be appreciated. The academy plays an important role in educating people and in generating opinions and positions that support or reject policies established in Colombia.
This is the position of another actor in the health system, the academy. 

We have already approached the centralized purchase of medicines from the points of view of the Ministry of Health and social protection and the pharmaceutical industry, we lacked an opinion to sift through and it is that of academic associations, thought leaders, who of course take a position and influence about current issues that afflict the country.

The purchase of medicines is a high point among the actors of the health system. Essentially, the centralized purchase of medicines is a process in which several bargaining units associate and contract services in common. The Ministry of Health and Social Protection in Colombia acts as the negotiator for the drugs and purchases them through an intermediary (PAHO Revolving Fund). This in order to guarantee access to medicines for the Colombian population and not to collapse the financial sustainability of the SGSSS.

The pilot test of centralized purchasing was with hepatitis C. The saving outlook is encouraging, since in this new scenario, the combined treatment of daklinza + sovaldi will drop from 137.2 million to 29 million pesos per patient, and the treatment with harvoni from 114.3 million to 23.5 million *.

* Information taken from: 07/24/2017 Press Bulletin No 098 of 2017, MINSALUD. Available in: https://www.minsalud.gov.co/Paginas/Medicamentos-contra-hepatitis-C-ahora-80-mas-baratos.aspx

Academic spaces have always been characterized by plurality of thought, enrichment of knowledge, debate and discussion. This is a healthy exercise that provides feedback and builds, the breaking point is whether the opinion issued is heard or not. Specifically, in the case of marketing and regulation of drugs in the country, a think tank was created at the National University, in order to explore this diversity of thought regarding this important issue.

The Medicines, Information and Power Thought Center was created by professors belonging to research groups of various faculties, including: the Faculty of Medicine, Economic Sciences and Law, Political and Social Sciences of the UN, in alliance with the University de los Andes (through the Salud Visible project). This is a space that arises from the need to discuss in a formal, neutral, academic and fluid way (outside the government and union representation) about pharmaceutical policy and regulation in the country.

 

What is the Medication, Information and Power Thought Center?

This space offered by the National University is a place where the policy that encompasses the commercialization of medicines can be debated for academic purposes and freely. The fact that this space is within the framework of the Permanent School of University Thought would probably promote debate, consultation and knowledge.

 

Opinion Claudia Patricia Vaca González:
Director of the Thought Center

“The centralized purchasing strategy achieved very significant savings in the price of these drugs and improved access to treatment. This strategy should be used more widely in the country. The think tank "Medicines, information and power" recently called on all presidential candidates to strengthen purchasing policies and negotiation of drug prices. "

For more information, head over to the Thought Center page:

thought.unal.edu.co/cp-medicamentos

 

To conclude, the centralized purchase of medicines has multiple benefits, which represent a greater weight in the balance when making decisions. However, since this is a new purchasing mechanism with little experience in the country, regulation is needed, greater judgment is required, and that all actors in the health system (medical sector, pharmaceutical industry, patients, academics, economists) are active part of the decision-making process, in order to enrich and strengthen it more and more.

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JUAN E CESPEDES L MD
3 years ago

Centralized drug purchasing is an intuitively attractive idea because of the potential cost savings. In fact, it has been proposed on multiple occasions and tested on a departmental scale.

However, upon more careful reflection. raises several concerns, especially the following (among others):

1. Centralize the purchasing process in a single entity, would make it vulnerable to being captured by political interests and, therefore, to corruption.

2. Inefficiency and lack of opportunity in the delivery of medicines due to lack of security in logistics.

In essence, the fear is that the savings, on the one hand, end up generating higher economic and social costs, on the other hand.

Perhaps for these reasons, few countries, governed by market economies, have chosen to centralize drug purchases.

ABEL CASTILLO
3 years ago

IN ADDITION TO THE ABOVE, THE GOVERNMENTS MUST HAVE A LABORATORY, WHICH COMPETES, WITH SOME MEDICINAL PRODUCTS AND PROVIDE, THE GENERICS, WHICH MANY TIMES ARE SCARED, AFFECTING THE HEALTH OF THE POOREST BECAUSE IN THE CASE OF PERU, DIGEMISD, IT IS DISAPPEARED , SAYING THERE IS NO.

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