Skip to main content

Chileans Storm Pharmacies to Protest Price-Fixing on Medicine

By Nathan Gill and James Attwood
March 27 (Bloomberg) -- Chileans stormed pharmacies and the government pledged a crackdown after the country’s second-biggest drugstore chain said it joined with rivals to raise prices of life-saving medicine.
Crowds gathered outside pharmacies in downtown Santiago, waving placards and shouting their opposition to high prices, according to images aired by Television Nacional. Yesterday, protesters wearing black masks spray-painted “Down with high prices” on another store and clashed with riot police.
“I never imagined that there were people like this,” said Gladys Sanhueza, 67, outside a drugstore in Santiago. “It can’t be possible that poor people are dying so that rich people can make more money.”
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, echoing criticism by other political leaders, said it was “shameful” for drugstores to take advantage of consumers during hard times.
“This impacts thousands of Chileans at a time of economic crisis, especially poor families,” Bachelet, a medical doctor and former health minister, said today during a speech. “My government will not accept unscrupulous commercial practices on any level.”
Outrage over drug prices has dominated news coverage and radio talk shows since March 24, when Farmacias Ahumada SA, known as Fasa, the country’s second-biggest drugstore chain, said it joined with rivals to raise prices on 222 medications.

                      Class-Action Planned

Jorge Seleme, president of the Santiago-based National Consumer Association advocacy group, said his group is planning a class-action lawsuit to seek compensation for people who paid inflated prices for medicine.
“It’s more than a crime, it’s an assault on public confidence,” said Seleme, who said that as a diabetic he has also been hit by price increases. “Sick people don’t buy because they want to, they buy because they have to.”
Santiago-based Fasa said March 24 that it agreed with regulators to pay $1 million in the case involving products sold from November 2007 to March 2008.
The two other drug store chains regulators targeted, Farmacias Salcobrand SA and Farmacias Cruz Verde SA, denied fixing prices, according to a statement published on Chile’s economic public prosecutor’s Web site.
Fasa shares have fallen 11 percent this week to the lowest price in eight years in Santiago trading.


Popular posts from this blog

Moving to the Suburbs: Reducciones in Recent Latin American Historiography

In 1503, the Spanish monarchy issued its first decree for the resettlement of indigenous groups in the Caribbean so that they would “live together” and “not remain or wander separated from each other in the backcountry.”[1]

As the European conquest spread to North, Central, and South America, these new settlements – known as reducciones and congregaciones in Spanish and descimentos in Portuguese – became sites of forced labor, evangelism, experimental agricultural, and refuge. Through a series of imperial policies decreed over the next decades and centuries of colonial rule, Spanish and Portuguese officials attempted to reshape the New World, including its human and natural landscapes. How colonial historians explain this process and indigenous peoples’ reactions to it is the focus of this essay.

In a review of the recent historiography of reducciones, several trends emerge that signal a shift in our understanding of the practice. As this paper will show, one common element is that …

77-Year-Old Wall Street Favorite to Face Fujimori in Peru Runoff

By Nathan Gill and John Quigley April 12, 2016 (Bloomberg) -- The victory by Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, a former finance minister, for second place in Sunday’s Peruvian president elections sets up a showdown between two business-friendly candidates, part of a regional backlash against left-wing politicians.
Kuczynski, a 77-year-old Oxford-trained political economist who’s spent more than 50 years championing debt control and free trade, won 21 percent of vote with 96 percent of the ballots counted, according to the electoral office. He will face Keiko Fujimori, who won 39.8 percent, in a second-round vote on June 5.
Click here to read the full story on Bloomberg News.

Greetings From Gringolandia

Bloomberg Businessweek, March 28 — April 3, 2016
Susan Lamy and her husband, Jean Pierre, owned a successful interior design business in Westport, Conn., but they still worried about how they would make ends meet in retirement. “Just paying for the basic necessities was killing us, and we could see that there was no way that we would ever be able to stop working,” says Lamy. 
The search for an affordable retirement spot led the couple to Cuenca, a Unesco World Heritage site in Ecuador’s southern Andes. They settled there in 2013 and now live in a spacious apartment with a terrace overlooking the Yanuncay River. Lamy says she and her husband enjoy a high standard of living in Cuenca for around $2,500 a month, paid for by their Social Security checks: “This seemed to be the best possibility for having a really terrific life on a fixed income.” 
The combination of a subtropical climate, well-preserved colonial architecture, and low cost of living has made Cuenca a magnet for North Ameri…