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Colombian Health Insurance Giant Obtains Agreement to Guarantee the Supply of Medicines to Its Members


Sanitas acuerdo garantizar suministro medicamentos
Colombian Health Insurance Giant Sanitas agreement to guarantee drug supply – Photo: EEIM / CC BY-SA 4.0

Sanitas, one of Colombia’s major private health insurance companies, has reached a last-minute agreement with the pharmaceutical company Audifarma to ensure the supply of medications to its policyholders. Following the crisis with the drugstore chain Cruz Verde, the drug supply was compromised starting from today, November 15.

Yesterday afternoon, Sanitas and the pharmaceutical company Audifarma announced the agreement by which the normal supply of medications to the insurer’s policyholders is guaranteed. It is worth noting that the crisis applied to high-cost medications for serious illnesses, such as cancer or HIV treatments.

Sanitas has announced that, to protect its obligations to its policyholders, it is “temporarily forced to assume the financing which should be coming from the Government,” referring to the fact that the private insurance company will temporarily cover the high-cost medication needed by its patients, leveling a harsh criticism at the government, which, according to the insurer, is failing in its financing obligations.

A Temporary Solution for 30 Thousand Users

Sanitas has emphasized that this is a temporary solution while negotiating with the government for the payment it claims the Administration owes due to historical debt dating back to 2020. There are 6,509 drugs that Cruz Verde will stop delivering to Sanitas users, and starting today, Audifarma will dispense them.

“As is publicly known, on October 27, we were notified of Cruz Verde’s decision not to continue dispensing non-financed medications (…) to our policyholders from November 15 due to the financial blockade situation with their suppliers. Despite the fact that this situation is not the responsibility of health insurance company Sanitas, from that moment on, we have done everything possible to minimize the impact on the more than 30 thousand users who require this type of medication,” said Sanitas in a statement.

Sanitas acuerdo garantizar suministro medicamentos
Audifarma will supply Sanitas medications for now – Photo: @alvarohgallego / X

Pending Debt with Cruz Verde

This agreement does not mean that Sanitas will pay, for now, the 400 billion pesos demanded by Cruz Verde. However, the insurer has emphasized its commitment to its policyholders, defending its management over almost three decades of operations in Colombia.

“Being consistent with the trust that more than 5.7 million policyholders have placed in us, we are making efforts beyond our responsibility and capabilities to find solutions. For that reason, and prioritizing our users, we, from health insurance company Sanitas, will temporarily assume the financing not sufficiently met by the government. It is not an easy decision because our resources are in a critical stage, but we do it due to the commitment that characterizes us with Colombians and with the system to which we have contributed for more than 28 years,” states Sanitas.

Call to the Government for a Definitive Solution

Simultaneously, the insurance company has made a new call to the Colombian government to find a definitive solution to the financial crisis and non-payments situation. For months, accusations between private health companies and the government have not ceased.

While the Ministry of Health claims to be completely up to date with its financial obligations, the insurers acting as intermediaries in payments assert that the debt has been generated by discrepancies in the reimbursements for pharmaceutical expenses issued by the government, originating three years ago.

“We reiterate the urgent call to the National Government, as this financing solution is temporary, and definitive decisions that we have been requesting for a long time in different scenarios are still required. This serious situation affects the entire sector, as budgetary and financial insufficiency persists and impacts the different actors in the system,” concludes the Sanitas statement.

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