Argentina Sees 710% Hike in Key Medicine Prices Under Macri


Human Wrongs Watch

Inflation historical data demonstrate that the elderly have experienced a gradual loss of their economic rights since Mauricio Macri became president in 2015.

Argentines protest in front of the Health Ministry to request the regularization of medicine purchases in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jan. 26, 2018. The right sign reads “I died without medicines”. The left sing reads “You cut off my retirement and now you go for the medicines.”

Argentines protest in front of the Health Ministry to request the regularization of medicine purchases in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jan. 26, 2018. The right sign reads “I died without medicines”. The left sing reads “You cut off my retirement and now you go for the medicines.” | Photo: EFE | Photo from teleSUR.

8 May 2019 (teleSUR)* — In Argentina, the essential drugs average price increased by 710 percent between May 2015 and April 2019, an inflation process which mainly affected 6,983,377 people over 60 years of age.

Between April 2018 and April 2019, however, the situation became more dramatic as medicine prices increased by 67.1 percent in just one year, according to a report released Wednesday by the Center for Argentine Political Economy (CEPA).

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Nevertheless, President Mauricio Macri’s administration worsened the situation for two million Argentines by deciding to cut the chronic patients coverage provided by the Comprehensive Health Care Program (PAMI), which is a public health insurance agency managed by the Health Ministry.

“Both the medicine-related inflation and the withdrawal of the free delivery of medication for chronic diseases leave the elderly in a situation of great fragility, which implies that it is very likely that the mortality rates will increase in the coming years,” the CEPA report announced and explained that heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and osteoporosis medicines are the most demanded drugs.

Since Macri assumed the Argentine presidency in December 2015, the elderly have experienced a gradual loss of their economic rights. According to the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INDEC), 15.5 percent of the Argentine population is over 60 years of age.​​​​​​​

“Argentina, poverty, childhood: Half of the country’s children are poor. Macri is hungry, crisis.”

Most people in this group manages to survive with a US$231 monthly pension, which is such a small amount that forces the elderly to stop buying medicines, either totally or partially. This medicine underconsumption, in turn, prompts a further health deterioration which creates greater pressure on public services.​​​​​​​

“Given that the number of seniors who receive minimum retirement amounts to 60 percent, this situation is particularly conflictive. Compared to other age groups, older people have much higher costs in food and medicines,” Hernan Letcher and Julia Strada, authors of the CEPA report, said.

In Argentina, the situation is even worse for those who receive the Universal Pension for the Elderly (PUAM), which represents only 80 percent of the minimum retirement, that is, US$185 a month. Between March 2018 and March 2019, the number of people receiving PUAM who fell into poverty increased by 10.5 percent.​​​​​​​

Due to the recession deepened by Macri’s IMF-recommended policies, the South American country has currently an unemployment rate of 9.1 percent and a poverty rate of 32 percent.

Seen from a business perspective, the Argentine economic situation is not good either. In early May, for instance, the interest rate reached 74 percent, which is now the world’s highest short-run interbank interest rate.

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*SOURCE: teleSUR. Go to ORIGINAL.

2019 Human Wrongs Watch

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