COLOMBIAN FIRMS, MULTINATIONALS CALL FOR PRICING REFORM

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The Colombian government should change its drug pricing system, as a comprehensive reimbursement system would be preferable to the threat of direct price controls. This is according to a study conducted by Asinfar, a Colombian trade body representing local and foreign research-based firms.

Pharmaceutical companies in Colombia have long claimed that list prices bear little relation to actual transaction costs. This is mainly due to heavy discounts offered to the leading wholesalers, which can reportedly reach 92% in the case of drugs reimbursed by the country's Social Security system.

The report argues that as maximum prices often differ from final selling prices, the retail prices the government could now use to decide which drugs will be freely priced are unlikely to be representative. Asinfar's report instead calls for greater generic substitution. However, given the poor reputation of generics in Colombia, regulatory changes could amount to little without large publicity campaigns to promote the sector.