Medicines posted strong increases over the past year. According to a recent report prepared on the basis of data from private companies in the sector, which are part of the Argentine Union of Health Entities (UAS), medicines for hospital use increased an average of 278% in 2020.
However, products such as propofol (an anesthetic for use in seriously ill patients with covid-19) had annual increases of 335%. Acenocoumarol, which is an anticoagulant necessary to prevent cerebrovascular accidents (CVA) in people suffering from arrhythmias, increased its retail price by 1,397%, although it was later reduced – due to a price agreement – and averaged an increase of 1,349% .
High-cost drugs had increases of over 55%. While drugs commonly used in outpatients, the increase during 2020 was 46.1%
Meanwhile, the accumulated variation of medicines and disposables with covid-19 supplies was 119.7%. While in the last five years drugs increased an average of 487%.
According to the companies that make up the UAS, high-cost drugs — which in some cases exceed $ 500,000 per unit — had increases of more than 55%. While the drugs commonly used in outpatients, the increase during 2020 was 46.1%.
Drugs for the treatment of HIV, hepatitis, STIs and Tuberculosis increased an average 84%, although there are some that rose 1,300%. “Today there are drugs like treprostinil, for pulmonary hypertension, which has a price close to $ 13 million. In this case, for each patient with this pathology, 28 ampoules are required”, said the report.
Propofol, an anesthetic for use in critically ill patients with covid-19, had increases of 335% in 2020
“The increase in supplies and medicines are imposed by a highly concentrated supply, in front of which there is no possibility of negotiation and they go to the detriment of the income of sanatoriums and professional fees. The observatory report indicates that in the case of high-cost products there is a clear relationship with the variation of the dollar, an unapproachable value for most health companies, both financers and providers,” they indicated from the UAS.
Prepaid medicine companies indicated that the increase in fees is regulated by the State and, so far, the evolution of the increase in drug costs has not been considered. After government authorization, companies in the sector applied a 3.5% increase in January 2021.
Previously, they had a 10% increase in December 2020. “Both prepaid medicine companies and providers had to absorb the increases in medicines and supplies throughout 2020 without being able to increase their income ”, they explained.
Prepaid medicine companies and providers say they had to absorb increases in drugs and supplies during 2020 without increasing their income
Inflation during 2020, according to INDEC data, was 36.1%. In the health segment (which includes medicinal products, health devices and equipment and prepaid expenses) the increase during the same period was 28.7%, but the shares of the prepaid medicine companies were practically frozen until December, when a 10% increase was authorized.
According to a survey by the Observatory of the Argentine Pharmaceutical Professionals Center (Ceprofar), the prices of the most used prescription drugs in Argentina had an average increase of 46.1%, ten points above the general inflation for the same period.
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