BUENOS AIRES – Argentine President Mauricio Macri unveiled on Monday a new agreement between the National Institute for Retirees and Pensioners Services (PAMI) and pharmaceutical companies that aims to reduce the cost of prescription medicines.
“After 20 years, PAMI will again buy drugs directly from the laboratories without intermediaries,” he said during an event at the Buenos Aires headquarters of drug-maker Laboratorio Pablo Cassara.
“This healthy competition will allow 5 million retirees served by PAMI to access better supply,” the president said.
For the past two decades, PAMI operated by buying medicines through associations representing the drug sector, rather than purchasing directly from laboratories.
“Then, the associations decided who would sell and we bargained for discounts,” Macri said. “But the system was not working, it was not sufficiently competitive and transparent.”
That arrangement, he said, led to a PAMI that was “weak, unbalanced, that ended up behind in payments for medicine and prosthetic devices.”
The new rules “will clearly favor domestic industry,” according to Macri, who noted that several of Argentina’s pharmaceutical companies have already established themselves as global players.