San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Lawmakers eye bill to curb prescription drug price gouging

A bill proposed by lawmaker José María Villalta, from the Broad Front Party, aims to regulate the price of prescription drugs to avoid the big differences customers frequently find in the market.

Costa Rica has the most expensive prescription drugs in Central America, and the bill seeks to curb abuses where “prices are freely set, and where most drugs are distributed by a single company,” Villalta said.

Costa Rica’s Pharmacists Association does not oppose the bill, but said that Villalta’s proposal needs improvement.

The bill (No. 17,738) establishes the creation of a new pricing regulatory authority within the Economy Ministry, which would set prices for 25 percent of the most frequently used drugs in the country.

In December, the proposal received the approval of a Legislative Assembly commission, and it could be discussed in May if the President Laura Chinchilla includes it on a list of priority legislation for this year’s term.

Contact L. Arias at

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