Government Under Pressure To Provide More Advanced Medicines


BMI View: Multinational pharmaceutical companies should promote the public awareness of the diseases treated by their innovative medicines as an important marketing strategy to enter Brazil's public health sector. However, foreign drugmakers will encounter issues such as strong government negotiation power and the risk of potential production technology transfers to local rivals.

The Brazilian government has encountered increasing pressure to provide more advanced medicines in the Unified Health System (Sistema Único de Saúde, SUS) or drugs not yet approved by Brazil's National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) but available in the country. According to data from the General Attorney Office, in 2013 there were approximately 18,000 claims from patients demanding access to innovative medicines through the public health system. The federal government alone could face monetary penalties of up to BRL3.93bn (USD1.73bn) to satisfy these claims. The government has already lost some lawsuits filed against the public health system, and has considered the possibility to modify national policies for medicine allowances in the public sector.

We note that patients in Brazil can access to advanced medicines through lawsuits, as the Brazilian Federal Constitution dictates that access to healthcare is a social right and independent of financial capacity. According to a study from the SUS, in 2011 the government spent BRL266mn (USD135.4mn) in total on the purchase of drugs by court decisions. During the same period, one-third of patients who receive government funding for a targeted cancer drug do so through a court order.

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Brazilian Pharmaceutical Market Outlook

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Related sectors of this article: Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare, Patented Drugs
Geography: Brazil