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hSNS publication in the Health Policy Journal

The Portuguese generic medicines market: What’s next?

Authors: Alexandre Morais Nunes; Diogo Cunha Ferreira; Andreia de Matos; Rui Miranda Julião

Abstract: Brand-name medicines have dominated the Portuguese market for several decades with unquestionable exclusivity. This resulted particularly from the absence of a requirement of prescriptions by international non-proprietary name. To promote the enhancement of both efficiency and sustainability in the health system, the Portuguese government introduced the generics in Portugal by the 90 s. However, only in the first decade of the 21st century were some policies implemented to increase their market share. Although some expectations were created, the use of generics has increased moderately during that period, in which policies to promote them were consolidated by imposing the austerity principles in the midst of the economic and social crisis. This study analyses the main policy measures already implemented as well as the incentives created for the replacement of brand-name medicines with generics. In addition, the present study also makes some recommendations to promote a broader and better use of generics in Portugal.

Keywords: Generics; Portugal; Economic crisis; Broadening use of generics.

[Bibliographic reference] Nunes, A.; Ferreira, D.; Matos, A.; Julião, R. (2020). The generic drugs market in Portugal: What’s next?. Health Policy. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.healthpol.2020.02.014

About the journal: Health Policy is intended to be a vehicle for the exploration and discussion of health policy and health system issues and is aimed in particular at enhancing communication between health policy and system researchers, legislators, decision-makers and professionals concerned with developing, implementing, and analysing health policy, health systems and health care reforms, primarily in high-income countries outside the U.S.A. Health care policies and reforms are made at an ever-increasing pace in countries around the world – and policy-makers are increasingly looking to other countries for solutions to their own problems. Health Policy is committed to support this international dialogue to ensure that policies are not just copied but used and adapted based on the specific problems and objectives as well as the respective context.