February 20th, 2013 (InsideCostaRica.com) A new bill seeks, in essence, to open the drug market in Costa Rica. The news comes from legislator Jose Maria Villalta, who also said that the initiative would be discussed in May.
The bill 17738, called “Regulating Drug Prices,” would create an Office of Drug Price Regulation for the 25% of drugs most commonly used in the country.
According to the legislator, the free market, which has existed since 1996, has resulted in a small monopoly of drug wholesalers controlling the market, resulting in higher prices for consumers.
The regulatory office would be attached to the Ministry of Economy.
“The opening of the market and the end of monopoly that currently exists would mean medium and long-term reduction in prices,” Villata said.
He said the bill has been met with strong opposition from the country’s drug wholesalers, and that many have lobbied lawmakers or have sent them letters urging them to reject the bill.