BRAZIL UNVEILS NEW REGIME FOR HIGH-PRICED DRUG TENDERS

A A

Brazil's health ministry has unveiled a new unified tender regime for government purchases of high-value innovative drugs. The electronic system, which will include a National List of Exceptional Medicines, will affect local and federal purchases of drugs for long-term diseases including hepatitis, schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis.

Brazil currently spends about BRL1.3bn (US$590.21mn) per year on these medicines, treating around 400,000 people. The new list has a clear cost containment focus, as it is hoped that a single national price will cut treatment costs by up to 50%.

Meanwhile, beginning in April 2006, the government will more than double the value of annual central government transfers to states and municipalities for basic drug treatment. The funds -- which are earmarked for asthma medicines, anti-inflammatories, antihypertensives and diabetes therapies -- will increase to around BRL3.75 per person, or a total of roughly US$320mn per year. Producers of low-cost generics and bulk drugs are expected to benefit most from the increase.