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Fri Feb 1, 2013, 03:42 PM

Cheaper Medicine a New Year’s Gift for Salvadorans

Cheaper Medicine a New Year’s Gift for Salvadorans
By Edgardo Ayala

SAN SALVADOR, Feb 1 2013 (IPS) - After years of delays and obstacles, a law regulating the pharmaceutical market has come into effect in El Salvador, giving its people access to medicines at more reasonable prices, with discounts of over 50 percent for some drugs sold in high volumes, like diabetes medication.

“The Medicines Law is a major step forward for health rights” in El Salvador, Margarita Posada, the head of the Salvadoran Association of Community Health Promoters and one of the first activists to present in 2002 a bill to limit the abusive practices of drug manufacturers and retailers, told IPS.

In early January, the Dirección Nacional de Medicamentos (DNM, National Directorate of Medicines), newly created by the law, published maximum retail prices for 4,406 medicines that are on average 35 percent lower than before.

Within this list of named medicines, the drugs with the highest volumes of sales and the highest costs had their prices slashed by an average of 69 percent, good news for consumers who for decades have been paying high prices fixed by an under-regulated industry which has been accused by social organisations of committing marketing abuses.


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