Santo Domingo, Dr. –In recent months, the Ministry of Public Health’s high-cost drug program has come under harsh criticism from politicians, the media and the general public due to delivery delays, bureaucracy and obstruction in procurement and placement legislation.
Chronic diseases such as: Growth Disorders, Cancer, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Kidney Disease, are part of the more than a hundred types of conditions covered by this program.
In recent days, statements to the media by Carlos Pimentel, Director of Public Procurement and Contracting, who said that this chapter of social policy is “untenable for the government”, caused concern. It later clarified that it was a call from health risk administrators (ARs) to cover the more expensive drugs.
Currently, the High Cost Drug Program has a budget of 8 billion pesos per year to guarantee free treatment to a limited number of patients with chronic diseases.
According to a recent press release published by the Ministry of Public Health, 1,300 new patients have been admitted this year and treatment has been maintained for over 16,000 beneficiaries without delay.
On its part, the Essential Medicines Program (PROMESE/CAL) manages a budget of RD$7.3 billion pesos for the purchase of these medicines.
In this programme, he recently carried out two procedures for procurement of essential medicines by the Directorate of Access to High Cost Medicines (DAMAC) to meet the demand from May to November of the current year.
In these two procurement procedures, 75 molecules were acquired, for which a budget of RD$3,406,760,728 million pesos was allocated.
There are more than 100 chronic diseases which are treated with expensive medicines.
Within pathologies, the highest demand is for various cancers, which account for 41% of chronic diseases covered under the programme.
The main diseases among these are: Cancer of the tongue, prostate, colon, lung, rectum, papillary, head and neck, tonsils, cervix, pharynx, breast, ovary, pancreas, kidney; and thyroid cancer. Idiopathic arthritis, psoriatic, rheumatoid arthritis. Endometriosis, Behcet’s disease, hepatitis C, hidradenitis suppurativa, arterial hypertension, pulmonary hypertension and kidney failure, among others.
The Public Health High Cost Drug Program currently has a list of 106 drugs available, including:
Abiraterone Acetate, Abiraterone Acetate, Goserelin Acetate, Goserelin Acetate, Sustained Release Implant, Leuprorelin Acetate. zoledronic acid, zoledronic acid adalimumab, agalsidase beta, atezolizumab, azacitidine, basiliximab, bevacizumab, bevacizumab; in others.
While on its side, the governing and superior body of the Dominican social security system, the Council of National Social Security (CNSS), which is in charge of guaranteeing social security. The coverage that associates get for social security with respect to catastrophic illnesses and high-cost medications.
As stated in Resolution No. 553-02 on the expansion and integration of coverage of both drugs and high-cost procedures. Such that by September 2022, the CNSS had approved a budget of RD$1,000,000.00 to RD$2,090,000.00 pesos as the coverage limit per member. This includes a list of pathologies demanding high-cost treatment, which are covered by ARS today.
CNSS has total coverage of 89 high cost drugs for treatment of adult and pediatric cancer, neoadjuvant, adjuvant and palliative.
abiraterone, megestrol acetate, folinic acid; Ibandronic Acid, Zoledronic Acid, Albumin+Plaquitaxel, Anastrazole, Aprepitant; Azathioprine, basiliximab. bendamustine, bevacizumab, bicalutamide, bleomycin, bortezomib; busulfan, capecitabine, carboplatin, cetuximab, cyclophosphamide; Apart from others with high cost in the market.