Among the members of the new EPS In the Carmen de Atrato a phrase has become common: “they have not paid the pharmacy; They are not delivering the medicines.” Patients, who, like many in the Colombian health system, need to go through a chain of authorizations, appointments and formulas, must stop their treatments because for two months the drugstore ‘El Descuento’ has not received payments from the EPS. Patients, since then, have been left in the middle of a process that they do not understand.
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There are patients with interrupted treatments, as told by Melissa Rueda Serna, mother of a five-year-old boy diagnosed with schizophrenia, He denounces that for two months he has not been given the medicines he requires for his treatment in El Carmen de Atrato (Chocó). The minor needs a few drops of ‘Tractal Risperidone’ that must be supplied daily to guarantee their quality of life.
“He needs 10 drops a day and the drops last about eight to fifteen days. Since we couldn’t get the drops, we had to give him a presentation in pills, but this is hurting him. has side effects, it’s giving him a headache and it’s making him very upset. The drops cost 12,000 pesos, but because they are psychiatric drugs, not all pharmacies carry them,” says Melissa Rueda, who works in a barbecue and affirms that she does not have enough money to buy the medicine that her son requires.
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“When he doesn’t have the medication he is aggressive, he hits people and I didn’t want to have problems with his classmates or the teacher” Melissa Rueda Serna, affected mother.
Melissa hasn’t sent her son to school for the past two weeks. “When he doesn’t have the medication, he’s aggressive, he hits people and I didn’t want to have problems with his classmates or the teacher.”
Another case is that of Gloria Cecilia Tirado, diagnosed with diabetes: “They sent me some injections to control my weight. I also need some strips to measure sugar and I have had to buy insulin because they don’t deliver it to me”.
Faced with this situation, Carlos Augusto Muriel, pharmacist and owner of the El Descuento drugstore, explains that stopped delivering the medicines due to late payments. “They stopped paying me at the beginning of October, but we were a few months past due. The Santa Sofía de Asís Foundation was paying me, but debt is still very highfor more than 150 million pesos”, he indicates.
The Santa Sofía de Asís Foundation, from Quibdó, is the service provider of the Nueva EPS and was the one who hired the El Descuento drugstore to deliver the medicines. Consonante contacted the Nueva EPS to find out why there are delays in payment and how the delivery of medicines to users is being guaranteed, but did not receive a response.
What would be the main problem of the health system in the country
Lto non-delivery of medicines It is the most common barrier in access to health, according to a report by the Association of High Cost Patients with complaints received nationwide during 2021.
On president, Nestor Álvarez, stresses that the EPS cannot redirect their responsibility, as in the case of Carmen de Atrato, to the providers or suppliers. “Health is an individual right and the New EPS is responsible for guaranteeing the rights of the patient. The EPS leave the patient saying that the providers are the ones who must take charge, there is no clear system for the delivery of medicines and this is one of the main deficiencies of the health program ”, she warns.
“This situation is more accentuated in the most remote areas of the country because they do not have the same offers and with fewer suppliers. Payments must be made within 30 days and it turns out that this does not happen, if there is no money there is no way to provide a service. Patients are harmed and dehumanized in the health system”.
“Payments must be made within 30 days and it turns out that this does not happen, if there is no money there is no way to provide a service,” he said Nestor Álvarez, president of the Association of High Cost Patients.
For his part, lawyer and health worker Johnattan García Ruiz warns that in Colombia “there is a debt between health intermediaries” that directly affects users and their service. “Beyond the EPS, an entity is required to be in charge of monitoring and negotiating everything that is done in health,” he says.
Ana María Muñoz Olaya, Secretary of Health and Social Welfare of Carmen de Atrato, stresses that it is a worrying issue and warns of a bigger problem: “Users from El Carmen de Atrato can travel to Quibdó to request the delivery of their medicines. But this journey would imply a journey of five hours”. The cost of the tickets is 90,000 pesos, a figure that can exceed the value of the medicines that they must go to claim.
The Secretary of Health does not have a count of the complaints they have dealt with, but Muñoz affirms that he has known cases of patients with chronic diseases in which not having the medication significantly affects their lives. “Many do not have enough economy to buy them on their own or a family member to take care of them. The affectation is not only on a physical level, but also on a mental level because the person can collapse. This is very complex.”
These complaints have already been reported, according to Muñoz, to the National Health Superintendency and the Departmental Health Secretariat. “I hope that an agreement is reached, either with this pharmacy or another. We do not have a favorite, what we need is for the protocols to be followed and for it to work”.
If you have a complaint about a medicine that has not been delivered to you, you can report it on this page https://www.pacientesaltocosto.org/