The government will incorporate five new drugs into the Popular Pharmacy program, for free drug distribution. The announcement, made on Thursday (29) during the Ministry of Health’s symposium on World Heart Day and cardiovascular diseases, comes after the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo revealed a 60% cut in the program budget in 2023. — which will restrict the population’s access to 13 different types of active drug ingredients.
It is the first time since 2011 that new drugs are included in the program. They are aimed at the treatment of hypertension and diabetes, and will be available to the population within 30 days after the publication of the ordinance in the Official Gazette (DOU), scheduled for this Friday, 30.
According to the Ministry of Health, the estimate is that 2.7 million people will benefit.
See the drugs that will be included:
- Amlodipine Besylate 5 mg (high blood pressure | free)
- Metoprolol Succinate 25 mg (high blood pressure | free)
- Spironolactone 25 mg (high blood pressure | free)
- Furosemide 40 mg (high blood pressure | free)
- Dapagliflozin 10 mg (type 2 diabetes mellitus associated with cardiovascular disease | copayment modality)
The president of ProGenéricos, Telma Salles, evaluates the inclusion of new drugs in the program as very beneficial.
“These are the diseases that most affect the population. So, updating this list, giving more access possibilities, is very good. It is a timely review, for a government that places itself as an agent capable of responding quickly to an alert from society, when it has weakened the budget issue”, he says.
She considers, however, that the planned 60% cut in resources will have to be revised to accommodate this inclusion. “It’s less money to buy more (drugs). There will have to be a recomposition of the program’s budget, because otherwise the account will not close”, she observes.
“But I think it is important for the National Congress to be aware of the matter and for the government to have this disposition”, he says.
As revealed by O Estado de S. Paulo, the Jair Bolsonaro government, when sending the 2023 Budget project to Congress, used the scissors in the Popular Pharmacy program to make room for the secret budget. The budget for free medicines fell from R$2.04 billion in the 2022 budget to R$804 million in the 2023 bill sent to Congress at the end of August – a cut of R$12 billion.
The medicines offered for free by the program – which focuses on the low-income population – and which will be affected by the budget cut can cost up to R$ 65 per box, according to a survey by ProGenéricos at the request of Estadão.
According to the Ministry of Health, the Popular Pharmacy program serves more than 20 million Brazilians, in more than 30 thousand accredited pharmacies, distributed in 4,397 municipalities.
Source: CNN Brasil
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