C. 01-14 th
El Salvador, January 15 , 2014
CS will analyze competition in purchases of pharmaceuticals The Competition Superintendence (CS) requested, ex-officio, to the Ministry of Health (MINSAL, its acronym in El Salvador) the documents containing the specifications for the purchases of pharmaceuticals in 2014 objected by the Association of Chemical-Pharmaceutical Industrialists of El Salvador (INQUIFAR, its Salvadoran acronym), due to an alleged discrimination of local pharmaceutical suppliers in favor of foreign ones. Pursuant to the Salvadoran Competition Law (Provision 14 letter m), the Board of Directors of the CS is empowered to: “Issue, at the request of a third party or ex-officio, opinions on the procedures for public acquisitions and contracts, which might significantly limit, restrict, or impede competition ”.
After becoming aware through various news reports of an alleged discrimination of local pharmaceutical suppliers in favor of foreign ones, the Competition Superintendence requested the MINSAL “the documents containing the specifications for the purchase of pharmaceuticals in 2014, in order to issue recommendations to increase competition in the respective public procurement processes”. Said request responded to public remarks recently made by INQUIFAR who affirmed that the methodology for evaluating the bids contained in the technical specifications for the direct purchase of pharmaceuticals in 2014 shows “inequality and 1 discrimination in favor of international companies”. MINSAL has pointed out that the required quality standards and the highest technical evaluations, which guarantee quality for the consumers, are obtained by foreign 2 laboratories. Pursuant to the results of the analysis which the Superintendence will carry out, said authority could, if deemed necessary, issue recommendations to guarantee competition in these purchases.
In 2013, the CS issued opinions with respect to several public procurement processes, amongst them, one for the supply of 300MW of firm power and associated energy, adverting that the tender documents contained some measures that might limit the number of possible participants and issued recommendations to promote competition. Likewise, the Competition Superintendence issued an opinion regarding the auction of 40MHz of the radioelectric spectrum to the General Superintendence of Electricity and Telecommunications, (SIGET, its Salvadoran acronym), recommending the SIGET to insure the participation ”exclusively of new operators not related to any mobile operator currently participating in the market”. Said auction was temporarily suspended. 1
Taken from the newspaper article: “Foreign labs take advantage in purchases of pharmaceuticals”; published in the Salvadoran newspaper El Diario de Hoy; Saturday, January 11th, 2014, page 2; (title of the article in Spanish: “Laboratorios extranjeros tienen ventaja en compra de medicina”). 2
Ibíd, page 3.