Generic Medicines and Sustainability of Portuguese Nhs

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The health systems are becoming broader and more complex and healthcare expenditure has never been so high, consuming an increased part of the national income, more than 10% of GDP. In the last decade, medicines spending had a particular growth, having contributed decisively to the rise of total health expenditure. In order to contain medicines expenditure several policies have been introduced in Portugal. The subsidiary objectives have been the promotion of the usage of generic medicines and the introduction of market mechanisms to encourage prices reductions. But with a low rate of success so far. Although penetration is still modest, with a market share below 20%, the generic medicines have already generated significant savings in total medicines expenditure, accounted between 2003 and 2009 more than 1.7 billion Euros savings. Over the next five years the potential growth of the generic medicines market will be considerable, taking the number of products that will lose the exclusive rights to market by the end of their patents during that period. However, to maximize these advantages, Portugal will need to undertake several measures aimed to remove existing restrictions and imperfections of generic medicines market: (i) reduce or eliminate the regulatory pressure on prices (ii) abolish the conditions that favour the practices of patent linkage, (iii) create incentives for doctors to prescribe generic medicines, (iv) implement a system for pharmacy remuneration based on pharmaceutical act fee or regressive margins, (v) create greater differentiation with regard to patients co-payment towards the option of using a more expensive branded medicine instead of a cheaper generic medicine.

Bibliography
[1] – EGA, “How to Increase Patient Access to Generic Medicines in European Healthcare Systems” Health Economics Committee, July 2009. http://www.egagenerics.com/doc/ega_increase-patient-access_update_072009.pdf [2] –Kanavos, P.; Costa-Font, J.; Seeley, E....
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