Evaluation of the Effects of Generic Substitution Policy Implemented in Chile

Santiago, Chile. Photo by Francisco Kemeny via Unsplash.

Chile has developed several pharmaceutical policies during the last 10 years, aiming at improving the access of medicines. One of the most important policies implemented in 2014 was the generic substitution policy, which was designed to increase market competition by regulating the substitution of generic products for originator medicines. After three years of this policy, however, there is uncertainty regarding its effect on access to medicines.

A journal article in BMJ Global Health by Cristián Mansilla, Jorge Cárdenas, Warren A. Kaplan, Veronika J. Wirtz, Lucy Kuhn-Barrientos, Matías Ortíz de Zárate, Tatiana Tobar and Christian A. Herrera aims to measure if the generic substitution policy had an effect on the sales volume and prices of referent and branded generic products. 

The authors find that the volume of sales of the referent products decreased overtime after the intervention. However, this reduction was not mirrored by an increase in the corresponding branded generic bioequivalent volumes overall. Since referent products are more costly than branded bioequivalent generic products, reducing their consumption – and increasing bioequivalent availability – should improve access to medicines in Chile. The paper contends that this must be accompanied by promotion of bioequivalent products to ensure savings for consumers in the long term.

Read the Journal Article