The Farmácia Popular Program (FPP) launched a subsidy system in Brazil, but in coexistence with the ongoing regular governmental access to medicines (Unified Health System (SUS) dispensings) mechanisms, causing overlaps in terms of financing and target population. This characteristic is quite different from most countries with medicines cost-sharing schemes. This paper aims to analyse the FPP under a health systems perspective considering the different health system levels. We analysed the findings from the study 'Impact of consecutive subsidies policies on access to and use of medicines in Brazil - ISAUM-Br', designed with the objective of describing and evaluating the impact of the government medicines subsidy policies implemented between 2004 and 2011. Patient share of copayment increased with the implementation of the intervention, which decreased the reference price and decreased with SNP (; zero copayment for patients). There was an increased number of FPP dispensations over time, but SUS dispensings remained the most important source for medicines, especially for hypertension and diabetes. FPP allowed the establishment of a well-designed pharmaceutical information system in the country. Despite the improvement on control mechanism, fraud remained a problem. There were important effects on the pharmaceutical market and sales of generic medicines. FPP has proven to be a very important policy for promoting access to medicines for hypertension and diabetes in Brazil. Examining this policy with a health system perspective has allowed us to highlight many of its important consequences, including for the first time a broad and consistent information system on access to medicines in the country.
BMJ Glob Health
Applying a health system perspective to the evolving Farmácia Popular medicines access programme in Brazil.