A well-functioning health system offering universal health coverage to their citizens requires equitable access to health services, and technologies, such as medicines, vaccines, and devices. Several countries in the Americas have declared universal health coverage of their population; however, medicines are often financed out-of-pocket as they are not included in the benefit package.

The World Health Organization in conjunction with its regional offices, have provided information on the performance of pharmaceutical systems within health systems. For example, WHO performed surveys in order to gather information on key performance indicators of health systems including the pharmaceutical system. The support of the regional offices has allowed countries to assess their own pharmaceutical systems. Previous Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) country profiles included regional and sub-regional level information on pharmaceutical system performance. The South-East Asia Regional Office (SEARO) published their country profiles in 2017. Similarly, in 2018 the West Pacific Regional Office in conjunction with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) published theirs.

The goals of this document is to gather data of Colombia’s health and pharmaceutical system in efforts to describe system structures and processes, generate evidence on system performance, inform stakeholders on system performance, allow identification of effective policies and programs, and promote efficient resource allocation. This document will be an input for the larger project that aims to develop a country profile that includes a dashboard, descriptive text, a full reference list and underlying source data pertaining to the indicator list.


Pre-defined indicators were organized by the research team and were divided into 13 domains. Data for these indicators was gathered through open internet searches from primary and secondary search engines such as Google and Google Scholar using Spanish and English-language terminology. For example, the term ‘Licencia Obligatoria’ was used to obtain information on the national compulsory licensing, ‘Extensión Bolar’ for Bolar Extention, and ‘extensión del término de protección de las patentes’ was used to identify legal provisions for the extension of a patent. Primary sources include Instituto Nacional de Vigilancia de Medicamentos y Alimentos (INVIMA), Ministerio de Salud (MINSALUD) and Ventanilla Única de Comercio Exterior (VUCE) while secondary sources include the World Bank, World Trade Organization, and the World Health Organization (WHO). Key data sources include the World Bank, Instituto Nacional de Vigilancia de Medicamentos y Alimentos (INVIMA), Ministerio de Salud (MINSALUD), as well as the World Health Organization (WHO). PAHO’s internal data provided by Colombia’s government directly to PAHO has also been included.


Gaps in information was noted for Standard Treatment Guidelines, Procurement and Reimbursement of Pharmaceuticals, Medical Device Regulation and Management, Regulatory Infrastructure in Radiological Safety, and in Blood Services. Most of the data provided by PAHO is similar to the public data found; however, some information did vary such as the number of medicines with current valid registration and the number of blood units collected during the reporting period.

See complete profile