State of Healthcare in Argentina
The healthcare system in Argentina is supposed to be one of universal access. Access is, however, fragmented, selective and unfair. In the development of the 2013 LeIP Report Card on Lymphomas, Argentina was found to have one of the more complicated funding/reimbursement systems compared with the other countries reviewed in the report card. What complicates Argentina’s system is that most cases have to be negotiated to determine whether coverage for a therapy will be provided.
Coverage is provided by a mixture of public, semi-private and private funding bodies.1 The process entails a patient receiving a diagnosis and being provided with a prescription. This may then require the doctor to contact the pharmaceutical representative who, in turn, contacts the payer to provide the payer with the information that the prescription fits the diagnosis. In breast cancer, coverage for 70 to 80 per cent of new cases had to be individually negotiated.
While Argentinean law requires payers to cover all therapies, it’s a common perception among the lymphoma community that payers make every effort to delay providing such coverage.1 By law, patients with cancer, including those with lymphomas, are supposed to receive an approved therapy for their treatment at no cost to them.2 As well, patients can receive a therapy that has been approved in another country, e.g., the USA, even if it is not approved in Argentina. The reality seems to be somewhat different and patients often resort to taking legal action to receive the required therapy.2
1. Information based on teleconferences and email communication that took place with numerous pharmaceutical companies between April 2013 and August 2013.
2. Linfomas Argentina. Email communication, September 16, 2013.