A new study indicates that since 2000, Chile's drug prices have risen at more than three times the rate of inflation, which averaged about 3.3% in the five-year period. In the first six months of 2005, analgesics prices have increased by 17.9%, anti-hypertensives by 11.8% anti-acids by 11.3%. Prices for antibiotics, intestinal anti-infectives and diahorrea treatments are also 11.3% higher year-on-year.
However, the pricing survey appears to contradict authoritative studies indicating that Chile's drug prices are among the lowest in Latin America, mainly thanks to fierce retail competition and a thriving manufacturing industry. Price increases for medicines are a controversial topic in Chile, as it is assumed that tough new intellectual property rules in the country's free trade agreement with the US will drive up prices as cheap copies are withdrawn from the market.