Washington DC, November 23, 2018 (PAHO/WHO)- The ministers of health of MERCOSUR, and Associate States, agreed on the procurement of an immunosuppressant medicine at reduced prices, by up to 80%, with the support of the PAHO Strategic Fund. The medicine seeks to reduce the rejection of organs in transplant patients.
"The result of this agreement is positive for the Region as it seeks to improve access to essential and high-cost medicines in the Americas, and prioritizes the use of safe, effective and quality medicines," said James Fitzgerald, Director of the PAHO Department of Health Systems and Services.
The agreement took place during the XLIII Ordinary Meeting of Ministers of Health from MERCOSUR and Associate States, which was held on November 23, in Montevideo, Uruguay. The initiative is also aligned with PAHO´s Policy for human organ donation and transplantation that promotes the strengthening, sustainability and viability of national transplant programs.
Although the impact varies according to the country and the medicine dose, considering the current demand, savings will be around 69% of the price of the medicine Tacrolimus. According to the Secretary of Health of Argentina, Adolfo Rubinstein, "this initiative will mean a substantial saving for the MERCOSUR bloc, countries will obtain lower prices than the best offer received individually."
The medicine is part of the list of essential medicines offered by the Strategic Fund, which allows the countries of the Americas to acquire treatments at more affordable prices.
Ministers of health also emphasized the progress and the actions carried out for the reduction of prices of the medicines for the treatment of hepatitis C, recommended by the World Health Organization. Health authorities also mentioned the difficulties presented in the negotiation of these medicines, which will continue in the future, strengthening actions to reach the goal of eliminating the disease by 2030. According to the Minister of Public Health of Uruguay, Jorge Basso, "the prices were very high in the past and have been falling, but there is still space to continue falling".
National health authorities from Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay, and PAHO representatives attended the meeting.
Ministers of health will continue collaborating to agree on new actions to improve access to oncological medicines, both biotechnological and chemical synthesis, with the support of the PAHO Strategic Fund.
The PAHO Strategic Fund is a technical cooperation mechanism that seeks to improve access to strategic public health supplies and contribute to the strengthening and sustainability of health systems in the Region.