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Panama announces Reform of Health System

The health crisis triggered by the death of over 40 people, who consumed contaminated drugs made at Panama’s health institution's laboratory, has prompted Panamanian President// Martin Torrijos to announce new measures to resolve a health crisis.

Torrijos said that the government had since closed the laboratory that was owned by the Social Security Body (CSS), permanently in a bid to win back confidence in the country's social security system.

Medicines including cough syrup made at the CSS laboratory were found to be contaminated with toxic di-ethylene glycol that causes death by causing kidney failure. Over 40 people fell seriously ill after taking the contaminated medicines. According to Torrijos he would sign an executive order later in the day which would make an ethylene glycol test mandatory. He also added that he had instructed Health Minister Camilo Alleyne to present plans for an autonomous quality and security control body to the cabinet within 90 days.

The ministry has planned to restructure Panama’s medical care system by creating a fund that would care for uninsured citizens.

Torrijos said that a new presidential office would compensate victims of the poisoning, although the victims could still make claims through the nation's courts.

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