Strategies to improve the availability of medicines in primary health care in Brazil : findings and implications

Barbosa, Mariana M and Nascimento, Renata CRM and Garcia, Marina M and Acurcio, Francisco A and Godman, Brian and Guerra Jnr, Augusto A and Alvares-Teodoro, Juliana (2021) Strategies to improve the availability of medicines in primary health care in Brazil : findings and implications. Journal of Comparative Effectiveness Research, 10 (3). pp. 243-253. ISSN 2042-6313

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    Abstract

    Aim: Access to essential medicines is a key component of managing patients in ambulatory care. In 2008, the State of Minas Gerais, Brazil, created the Pharmacy Network of Minas (RFM) program to improve access to medicines in some municipalities, increasing availability and restructuring the physical facilities of public pharmacies. The aim was to assess the current situation, comparing municipalities with and without RFM. Methods: Cross-sectional study, with data collected from 2014 July to May 2015. Availability of medicines was verified by reviewing stock levels. Results: The general availability index of medicines was 61.0%, higher in municipalities with RFM. Most physicians considered the pharmaceutical services as good/very good. The main reasons for medicines shortage were “financial transference problems”, “insufficient financial resources” and “budget”. Conclusions: Strategies such as the program Pharmacy Network of Minas can promote improvements in essential medicine availability.