Prescriptions on the rise in Santo Domingo – 40% at least!

The Pharmacy Owners Association Luz Divina Crisostomo said pharmaceuticals which sold for RD$150 in 2004 when the dollar cost RD$4 are now selling for more than RD$500.

The Pharmacy Owners Association of the Dominican Republic spoke with their Hoy newspaper how prices of pharmaceuticals have increased by up to 40% in recent months. As reported, association president Luz Divina Crisostomo said there had been continuous price increases. She complained that prices are even higher than in 2004, when the dollar was at RD$48 to US$1. The dollar now is about RD$38 to US$1.

She said that pharmaceuticals that were selling for RD$150 in 2004 when the dollar cost RD$4 are now selling for more than RD$500.

The association says that the Ministry of Public Health authorizes the prices that pharmaceutical companies are unilaterally setting.

They say that due to the rising costs, many patients are no longer taking their medications, and others are buying the more costly pharmaceuticals in units, not by the box. They said they are also affected by contraband of pharmaceuticals sold in Moca as many patients travel to Moca to purchase the drugs there.

Furthermore, they are also affected by what they deem as unfair competition from the government itself. She criticized the existence of Promese, the network of low cost pharmacies run by the government, which they say costs the state millions on the bureaucratic structure that needs to be maintained. They suggested that the government make generic pharmaceuticals available through the private pharmacies network instead. Crisostomo said that in the Balaguer years, a program to supply low-cost pharmaceuticals through private pharmacies was successful. This was later abandoned when the Fernandez administration established the Promese network. Crisostomo said that the same could be achieved by selling low-cost pharmaceuticals at private pharmacies across the country. She said that the Promese program “involves many interests” as reported in Hoy. She criticized the program for being in unfair competition with pharmacies. She suggested that it could be managed in the same way as Medicare is managed in the US.

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