Small pharmacies are expected to close as the 30% discount arrives

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(MENAFN-Panama Newsroom)

On the eve of the introduction of an executive decree, which sets discounts of 30% on the price of 170 drugs, the owners of small and medium pharmacies have yet to reach an agreement with the authorities of the Ministry of Health.

While the Government insists that the decree enter into force on Monday August 15, as planned, the National Union of Pharmacists Owners (Unprofa) is calling for its repeal or putting it on “pause”.

The two sides met on Friday and Saturday, but there was no consensus, reports La Prensa.

Orlando Pérez, president of Unprofa, said the government must look for the real genesis of high drug prices because pharmacies do not have high profit margins.

Negotiations will continue on Sunday, according to Minsa.

Orlando Pérez, president of Unprofa, had a busy agenda between Friday August 12 and Saturday August 13, which included meetings with the National Council for Private Enterprise (Conep), the Authority for the Protection of consumers and the defense of competition (Acodeco) and Ministry of Health staff (Minsa).

Friday, after hours of conversations, they did not reach an agreement on their main request: to repeal the executive decree or “put it on hold”, so that all the actors – whether they are pharmaceutical laboratories, distributors and pharmacies – seek a solution to the conflict.

“We don’t make a lot of money and they [the Government] must look for the real genesis of the problem. This problem is solved by the big pharmaceutical companies who produce the drugs with the big distributors, but we do not have profit margins to cover the discounts imposed by the authorities. This decree punishes us,” said the head of the owners of small pharmacies.

On Saturday, Pérez again met with the authorities of Minsa, in order to find a way out of the problem. If they cannot reach agreements, they will close their doors from Monday, when the executive order takes effect.

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