Friday 2nd September 2022.

September 2, 2022

The Technical Table for Medications agreed this yesterday to create a subcommission to negotiate with pharmaceutical laboratories the reduction in the prices of the medications that are on the list with the 30% discount so that “Executive Decree 17 of August 10, does not have to be extended after six months.” Through this decree, the Government ordered last month a price decrease on 170 medicines considered the most consumed in Panama, amid protests over the high costs of these products. During this Thursday’s meeting, held in the Paz Room of the Presidency, the table led by Vice President José Gabriel Carrizo announced that 95% of the laboratories of the Central American and Caribbean Federation of Pharmaceutical Laboratories (Fedefarma) have already approved the 30% decrease in the list of 170 medicines. So did 80% of those who do not belong to this union, indicates a statement from the State Communications Secretariat. “It’s not perfect, but we are taking steps in the right direction,” said Carrizo. For his part, the Vice Minister of Foreign Trade, Juan Carlos Sosa, explained that this subcommittee, which would be made up of the Ministry of Commerce and Industries (Mici), the Ministry of Health and the Social Security Fund, will be in charge of negotiating with the laboratories to achieve a reduction in the prices of drugs listed with the 30% discount, with the aim of defining long-term solutions. At the meeting of the technical table, the commissioners also recommended the implementation of MedicApp, a portal that would help citizens to know the price of the medicines they require, their availability and proximity in relation to the location of their home or where they are at the time. The platform was created by the National Authority for Government Innovation (AIG) and the Authority for Consumer Protection and Defense of Competition (Acodeco). Luis Oliva, general administrator of the AIG, explained that in a first phase the portal will be updated with the Acodeco database and, in a second phase, pharmacy owners will have a user number that will allow them to enter the platform. to update the prices of their pharmacies. “Two weeks after the portal was launched, training for pharmacy owners will begin and they will be able to do it from a mobile phone or from a computer”. The commissioners also recommended to President Laurentino Cortizo the regulation of Law 109 of November 12, 2019, which adopts the National Drug Policy. With the regulation, they point out, the aim is to strengthen the local industry and attract manufacturing laboratories to settle in Panama, which “would impact access to medicines at a lower cost for the population, complying with the rational use of medicines.”

According to the latest report from the Department of Epidemiology of the Ministry of Health (Minsa), 75% of patients hospitalized for covid-19 do not have the complete vaccination schedule against the virus. Lourdes Moreno, national head of epidemiology, explained that the latest report reflects that in week 34 (from August 21 to 27) 170 hospitalizations are recorded, of which 136 patients are confined in the ward and 34 in the Intensive Care Units (ICU). “Of the patients confined in the wards, a total of 101 were without the complete vaccination schedule, while of those hospitalized in the ICU, 27 did not have the complete schedule,” Moreno said. She emphasized that registered hospitalizations are recurrent in individuals with chronic diseases such as hypertension, cardiovascular problems, diabetes, obesity, immunosuppression, cancer and who have an incomplete vaccination schedule. Regarding deaths from the new coronavirus, since the immunization process began in 2021, she explained that the figure reaches 2,603. Of this total, 2,403 correspond to patients who did not have the complete vaccination schedule, that is, more than 90%. Meanwhile, 200 had completed the scheme.

The plenary session of the National Assembly approved this Thursday, in the third debate, Bill 714 that modifies and adds articles to Law 12 of 1998, which develops the career of the legislative service. It received 42 votes in favor and four against, reported Secretary General Quibian Panay. The document, which was approved less than two years before the end of this government, must be sanctioned or not by the Executive. The proposal, presented by the PRD deputy Raúl Pineda, establishes that officials who have worked in the Assembly for two years will enter the legislative career, which guarantees stability. These officials will be incorporated without the need for competition. During the discussion, several pro-government deputies threw flowers at the initiative of their colleague Pineda. According to Miguel Fanovich, from Molirena, this proposal seeks to ensure that legislative officials are not exposed to “the political ups and downs” of each five-year period. For Daniel Ramos, deputy for the Democratic Revolutionary Party , the project does justice to those people “who have been waiting for their stability for 14 years.” For his part, the president of the Assembly, Crispiano Adames, recalled that in past periods, with a stroke of the pen, they had repealed regulations related to the legislative career. Emelie García Miró, a PRD deputy, defended the officials. “In this Assembly you work and you work hard…here the day begins and you don’t know when it ends,” she said. “We have good employees. We have ethical officials and we do want to recognize their work, they are so good that they deserve, like any worker in the private sector, guarantees, ”she added, while she was applauded by members of the association of officials who were in the stands. The deputies Juan Diego Vásquez, independent, and the Panamanista Luis Ernesto Carles agreed that this bill could be improved. Carles recommended to the association of civil servants that they apply the norm correctly and do not allow people who do not fulfill their functions to be included. “That this law is not for those who Juego Vivo”, he indicated.

Bill 802 that reforms the Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code , which seeks to prevent overcrowding in the country’s prisons, was approved in the first debate this Thursday, by the Government Commission of the National Assembly . Leandro Ávila, deputy president of the commission, explained that the reforms are aimed at streamlining procedures, digitizing them and shortening “times” for those persons prosecuted through the inquisitorial criminal system. He said that there are many prisoners who were sentenced in the second instance under this regime, several years ago, but are waiting for the appeal to be defined, a “slow, bureaucratic” process. “With the issue of cassation, two things happen: they confirm the sentence or they give you freedom,” added the deputy. With this proposal, presented by the president of the Supreme Court of Justice , María Eugenia López, the time in which the Public Ministry and the Court must respond would be reduced, Ávila said. Panama is currently governed by the accusatory criminal system.

An underwater cable will provide electricity to Isla Colón, province of Bocas del Toro, one of the most visited tourist sites in the country. The project, which is being built by the company Naturgy with an investment of $28 million, consists of a 22-kilometre section of lined submarine cables. Isla Colón is currently supplied with energy from a power plant installed on the site operated by a generation company and the distribution service is provided by Naturgy, through Edechi. In addition to conducting electricity, the cable is equipped with high-speed fiber optic cable that will help boost tourism in the province, according to the National Public Services Authority (ASEP) . The arrival of the cable was inspected by the ASEP administrator, Armando Fuentes. The official stated that the materialization of this project is the result of the commitment made by the Government, through the Tourism Cabinet chaired by the Vice President of the Republic, José Gabriel Carrizo. This island, like other remote places in the country, requires a constant and efficient electric power service. With this submarine cable, for the first time Isla Colón will be part of the National Integrated System, through a double submarine circuit of 34.5 kW, Fuentes highlighted. The project, which has generated the hiring of local labor and will benefit the locals, will also be the basis for the large-scale tourism development of the island, for which a total benefit to more than 3,000 clients and tourists who visit the region. This work, which began in January 2020, has maintained constant monitoring of its progress through the ASEP and the Tourist Office, said the entity that regulates public services.

A dream come true and a goal achieved. This is what the members of the Panamanian heavy metal band Komodo experienced when they stepped on the stage of the Wacken Open Air festival, which takes place every year at the beginning of August in Wacken – a German town in the Schleswig-Holstein region – which is considered the largest conclave in which fans of this musical genre in the world meet to listen to their favorite artists and the latest musical trends. To enter and participate in the festival, the group – made up of Hugo Andrade (vocalist and rhythm guitarist), Juan Díaz (bassist), Carlos Owens (solo guitarist) and Miguel Yau (drummer) – had to compete with other heavy metal bands. emerging in the Metal Battle. Although the Panamanian musicians were able to enter the contest in 2016 and advanced to the Central American final, held in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, they failed to win. Then, they participated again in 2020 and after the impasse that the contest went through due to the covid-19 pandemic, they finally won in 2022 during the Central American final held in Guatemala. Carlos Owens told La Prensa that the atmosphere at the Wacken Open Air festival was characterized by inclusion, camaraderie and good vibes, feelings that prevailed especially when the different groups gathered there exchanged experiences regarding making music in their countries. He noted that when they began to play on stage there was initially an audience of around 2 thousand people. But in a few minutes the audience doubled. “It was a great experience, in which we met new people and in which we had a very good reception from the public,” he said.

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