23 de June de 2023

New rules expand the “Farmácia Popular” program

On June 7, 2023, the Brazilian Federal Government published Decree No. 11.555/2023, which amends the Farmácia Popular (Popular Pharmacy, in English) Program (“Program”) and expands the group of beneficiaries and the medicines offered.

The Program offers free or significantly discounted medicines to low-income populations.

Created in 2004 as a complementary action of pharmaceutical assistance connected to the Brazilian Unified Health System, its operating model involves partnerships with private pharmacies, which receive partial or total subsidies to offer medicines at a discount or for free.

The main novelties brought by the new rule are as follows:

  • Free of Charge: The availability of medicines to beneficiaries of the Bolsa Família Program (i.e., a program in Brazil that provides financial aid to poor families) becomes free;
  • Specific Care: The Program now has a specific axis for the free availability of medicines to indigenous people;
  • Priorities: Municipalities in situations of greater social vulnerability that have joined the Mais Médicos Program (i.e., a program in Brazil that aims to improve access to healthcare in underserved areas) now have priority over others.

The Ministry of Health will regulate the Decree and new accreditations within ninety (90) days.

On the same date, the Ministry of Health also published two related ordinances:

  • Ordinance No. 675: promotes the gratuity of contraceptives, as well as medicines for the treatment of osteoporosis.
  • Ordinance No. 676: establishes the Program Monitoring Committee, a consultative body composed of high-profile entities in the sector such as the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency, Abrafarma, and Sindusfarma.

It is important to note that these publications come after eight years without accreditation of new pharmacies.

According to the Ministry of Health, it is expected that, with the new accreditations, 93% of Brazilian cities will have Program units by the end of this year. The Brazilian government estimates that the budget for 2023 is around BRL 3 billion.

Our Life Sciences team is available to assist you with this issue and to provide any necessary clarifications to your company.