Pharmaceutical Assistance

What is pharmaceutical assistance?

Pharmaceutical Assistance is a set of actions for the promotion, protection and recovery of collective and individual health, with medicines as an essential element aiming to guarantee access to and rational use. These actions are to promote research, development and production of drugs and supplies, as well as their selection, programming, procurement, distribution, prescription, dispensing, quality assurance of products and services, monitoring and evaluation of their use, in the perspective of achieving concrete results and improved quality of life (Resolution SES/MG Nº 1416, from February, 21, 2008 – content in Portuguese).

Pharmaceutical Assistance is characterized by actions connected to each other, which are executed in a sequential order. As dependent on each other, the inappropriate execution of one phase influences the other and undermines the purpose and results of the entire chain.

c of pharmaceutical care?

The Pharmaceutical Assistance is often confused with Pharmaceutical Care. Their difference is related to their target. In Pharmaceutical Assistance the actions are focused on access to and rational use of medicines, even if the final beneficiary is not the patient. Pharmaceutical Care refers to care directly addressed to the patient. As it contributes to the rational use of medicines, Pharmaceutical Care can be considered an element of the Pharmaceutical Assistance.

 Pharmaceutical assistance in the brazilian health system

With the regulations of the Brazilian Federal Constitution in 1990 Pharmaceutical Assistance was included as part of the comprehensive care which should be provided by the public health system. The National Policy of Medicines was conceived in a context in which it was necessary to reorganize the way of providing medicines to the citizens, in accordance with the principle of decentralization of the national health system.

Besides decentralization, promotion of rational drug use, optimization and efficiency of the public sector logistics system and the development of actions to improve access to medicines are principles of Medicines National Policy. In the timeline below you’ll find the major milestones related to the implementation of Pharmaceutical Assistance in Brazil by the Unified Health System (SUS).

Pharmaceutical assistance components

Health financing actions are organized in blocks and Pharmaceutical Assistance is one of them. This specific block is subdivided in three Components: Basic Medicines, Specialized Medicines and Strategic Medicines.

The Pharmaceutical Assistance financing does not cover for medicines used in hospitals. Those are financed by the Secondary and Tertiary Care financing block. Oncology treatment is provided by SUS accredited establishments and reimbursed afterwards.

The pharmacy of minas gerais network (rede farmácia de minas)

The Pharmacy of Minas Gerais Network defined a model of pharmaceutical assistance in the Unified Health System in the state of Minas Gerais, in which the pharmacy is recognized as a health establishment and as the reference for pharmaceutical services to the enrolled population. Within this perspective the Pharmacy of Minas Gerais Network is divided into three components: Pharmacy of Minas Gerais: Medicines for Primary Health Care; Pharmacy of Minas Gerais: Strategic Medicines; and Pharmacy of Minas Gerais: Specialized Medicines. The Municipality Health Authority builds and operates the Pharmacy is operated with funding from the State Department of Health.

The pharmacies of the Network provide to the population basic and strategic medications and pharmaceutical care free of charge. These activities enable the integration with other health services offered by the municipality, the health district and the state.

With respect to medicines of the Specialized Component, the Superintendence of Pharmaceutical Assistance is restructuring pharmacies located in the Regional Health Offices in partnership with municipalities. Also the Superintendence is improving the services provided through the dissemination of the Pharmaceutical Care Guide and the implementation of the electronic Program for the Management of Pharmaceutical Assistance (Sistema Integrado de Gerenciamento da Assistência Farmacêutica – SIGAF).

By February 2010 more than 600 cities have received the incentive from the State Health Authority for the deployment of a pharmacy of the Pharmacy Network of Minas Gerais. To learn more about this initiative visit the website of Minas Gerais State Department of Health (content in Portuguese).

The specialized component of pharmaceutical assistance

The Specialized Component of Pharmaceutical Assistance is part of the Pharmaceutical Assistance National Policy. It aims to guarantee comprehensive care by provision of medicines used in the treatment of rare diseases and in late stages of treatment of various diseases, for example rheumatoid arthritis.

In this Component the investment in new technologies follows the principles of evidence based medicine. This means that the candidate medicine has to present safety, efficacy and advantage over the other available treatment options. The definitive decision for investment occurs only after the publishing of final version of the National.

Guideline Each National Guideline comprises one disease. It establishes diagnostic protocols, inclusion and exclusion criteria, special cases, treatment algorithm, expected results and monitoring. The access to the medicines of this Component is done in the following way: