PharmaBoardroom’s new Healthcare and Life Sciences Review on Chile, available today for free download, looks into how the country’s new ‘Ley de Farmacos,’ or Drugs Law, which was passed by Chile’s former government in January 2014, and is now awaiting implementation, will affect the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors in the country.
“2014 represents an exciting time for healthcare in Chile with the implementation of a new national drug law; ensuring the creation of a system that makes access to medications easier and more transparent for patients and moreover assures a sufficient supply all over Chile,” explains Helia Molina, a doctor specializing in pediatrics and nephrology and Chile’s Minister of Health since March 2014.
In her paper entitled ‘50 Commitments for the First 100 Days of Government,’ President-elect Michelle Bachelet builds the basis of her plan for better health services for the nation, committing to invest significantly in the construction of new hospitals, increase the number of specialists to combat long waiting lists in the public sector and provide patients with better access to free drugs.
As it currently stands, Chile’s universal healthcare plan covers 80 percent of the population. The remaining 20 percent are entitled to pick their coverage from a number of private insurance companies known as ISAPRES. 80 percent of people in Chile should have access to free drugs under FONASA, the public health insurance system; however, there are often shortages at hospitals, and as a result people turn to private pharmacies to fill their prescriptions out-of-pocket. Out-of-pocket expenditures in Chile are some of the highest in the OECD: A total 4.6 percent of the average Chilean family’s budget is spent on healthcare, compared to the OECD average of 2.86 percent.
There is positive news on some fronts however: after years of infamously tense relations between MNCs and the government, both parties finally seem to have found a platform for dialogue. “As an industry, we have an active dialogue with the ministry regarding the expansion of access to innovative medicines, but the discussion is still young and we still have a lot to do,” explains Erich Viertel, country manager at Janssen Chile. “Finding the best path to lead Chile toward economic development has been an ongoing task of Chilean governments and leaders over the last century. And if the country is able to sustain its current momentum, at the end of this decade it will probably become the first fully developed country in Latin America.”
The new drug law will also introduce bioequivalence requirements for generics, hopefully bringing an end to the dominance of similars in Chile. The recently appointed director of the Public Health Institute, Ricardo Fabrega, stresses that: “laboratories that produce generics will have to understand that they must comply with bioequivalence studies; otherwise we will take them out of the market.”
Helia Molina, Minister of Health
Ricardo Fabrega, director of the Public Health Institute
Jean Jacques Duhart, executive vice president, CIF
Erich Viertel, country manager, Janssen
Carlos Cicogna, managing director, MSD
Elmer Torres Cortes, general manager, ASILFA
Antonio Avila, general manager, Tecnofarma
Ciro Caravaggio, general manager, Roche
Cécile Bassereau, managing director, B. Braun
João Simões, head of integration, Grünenthal Chile
Carlos Murillo, country manager, Pfizer
Eduardo Bitran, executive vice president, CORFO