From Sun Jun 27 10:15:14 2004
Date: Sat, 26 Jun 2004 23:30:08 -0500 (CDT)
From: Kathy <>
Subject: Nicaragua Network Hotline June 21, 2004
Article: 183111
To: undisclosed-recipients: ;

Private Pharmacies Resist Generic Drug Distribution

Nicaragua Network Hotline, 21 June 2004

In one of its few indications of having at least a minimal awareness of the dreadful economic lot of the vast majority of Nicaraguans, the Health Ministry, MINSA, announced plans to set up a network of peoples' medicine stores, where generic drugs and medicines would be available to the population at large. The non-brand-name generics are a great deal cheaper than their better-known cousins. Predictably, the private pharmacies, which emphasize much more the kudos associated with brand-name medicines, expressed their concern that, under MINSA's plan, they would be faced with what they called, unfair competition.

MINSA remained unrepentant despite the complaints. A spokesperson explained that the new network would enable the ministry to fulfill its mission more completely, bringing care to those who need it most. We talk of accessibility of medicines, she said. By developing this network of community pharmacies, we should be able to assure people of access to the basics, at least.

In its newfound zeal, MINSA also announced a new plan to engage in providing more services, especially to outlying communities. There is a widespread need for people to have easy access to good services, she said. What we propose is to contract out certain parts of the work to private service providers; if we want to extend our reach into the deep hinterland, to provide people at least with the basics of a dignified human life, we believe this is the only way to go. It was emphasized that this would not just mean hiring private companies; some of the organizations it intends to contract would be non-governmental agencies engaged in appropriate fields.