Q COSTA RICA – Why the cost of medicines has not decreased despite the measures implemented, and when could new measures be anticipated?
Those were part of the questions put to President Rodrigo Chaves, who responded that the market conditions are responsible for this situation.
“The pharmaceutical market in Costa Rica, outside of the Caja (Caja Costarrricense de Seguro Social), is worth hundreds of millions a year in profits and it is not so competitive,” he said.
Chaves added, “There are three companies that dominate from the wholesale market, vertically integrated to the pharmacy counter, with profit margins, correct me if it’s a lie, up to 10 times on some medications.”
President Rodrigo Chaves pledged to reduce the cost of medications in Costa Rica as part of his campaign platform.
Chaves has regularly argued against taking action, expressing his disapproval of price intervention, citing the examples of countries such as Venezuela and Cuba where this type of policy had caused significant shortages.
In contrast, he said that the line of Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, of which Costa Rica is a member, goes more to facilitate competition.
He suggested that the most desirable solution would be to strongly promote competition in the market.
The Minister of Health, Mary Munive, requested a period of a few weeks to present an initiative, and afterwards the policy would be presented by President Chaves.
“Give me around three weeks, to a month, and when it is finished, if we carry it out (the policy), it will bring about a real transformation in the regulations,” said the Minister.