Brazil Spreads Low-Cost Popular Pharmacies

Brazil’s Ministry of Health inaugurated March 21 seven more units of the Community Pharmacy program. The program objective is to increase popular access to medications. 89 products used to treat the most common illnesses in Brazil are currently being offered.

Minister Humberto Costa attended the opening ceremony at the unit in Olinda, a city in the state of Pernambuco (in the Northeast region of Brazil).


Six more units were also inaugurated in the cities of Recife (Pernambuco), Curitiba (Paraná), Teresina (Piauí­), Belém (Pará), Fortaleza (Ceará) e Sobradinho (Distrito Federal).


The Community Pharmacy program now has a total of 38 units in 15 Brazilian cities, providing an important alternative for over 30 million people to have access to medications. The program benefits low-income individuals by selling products without markup.


The list of pharmaceutical products sold through the Ministry of Health’s Community Pharmacy program includes male condoms. The decision was one of the acts that marked the World Day to Combat Aids, commemorated on December 1.


According to the coordinator of the Community Pharmacy, Jamaira Giora, it will be possible to purchase condoms for less than what they cost at regular pharmacies.


“In the Popular Pharmacy, they cost US$ 0.30. On the average, they will be 85% cheaper than in commercial pharmacies.”


Giora says that, besides condoms, other medications will be added to the list.


“We now have 89 items. We have added five items in the past two months and are analyzing the inclusion of another five. Two should join the list, one to control cholesterol and the other for hypertension.”


The Ministry’s Community Pharmacy of Brazil program got underway in June 2004. According to Giora, the Ministry’s goal is to have 100 pharmacies in operation by the end of 2005.


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