Prescription Charges in Portugal

Prescription Charges in Portugal

Background

The health care system in Portugal provides universal free health care for all, financed through general taxation. Alongside this there are private insurance schemes (17% of the population) and insurance for employees (25% of the population). Health care is administered regionally and overseen nationally [1].

As part of the national system, prescription medication is reimbursable under four different rates [1] (see below).

Patient co-payments

In Portugal, patients pay a percentage of the cost of the prescription medication they are prescribed (see below). The percentage paid is 10% less for generic drugs [1].

In 1995 private sector prescriptions were subject to the same cost-sharing as Portugal’s national health system. This policy was introduced to reduce the number of private prescriptions being repeated as NHS prescriptions [2].

Contribution (generic)

Co-payments in Portugal 2005 [1]:

  • Category A: Essential Drugs for chronic conditions e.g. diabetes: 0%
  • Category B: most prescription medication: 20%
  • Category C: anti-infectives, vaccines, immunoglobulin, anti-parasitics and sera: 50%
  • Category D: transitional category while drug is being assessed: 70%

Contribution (non generic)

Co-payments in Portugal 2005 [1]:

  • Category A: Essential Drugs for chronic conditions e.g. diabetes: 0%
  • Category B: most prescription medication: 30%
  • Category C: anti-infectives, vaccines, immunoglobulin, anti-parasitics and sera: 60%
  • Category D: transitional category while drug is being assessed: 80%

Reduced Co-Payments

Low income pensioners are eligible for a further 15% of the cost of their prescriptions [1].

Co-Payment Exemptions

Prescription medication for some chronic conditions is exempt from any co-payment (see above). The following therapeutic categories are fully covered:

anti-diabetic drugs
anti-epileptic drugs
anti-Parkinson drugs
anti-neoplasmic and immuno-modulator drugs
growth and anti-diuretic hormones
specific drugs for haemodialysis
drugs for cystic fibrosis treatment
drugs for glaucoma treatment
drugs for haemophilia treatment
anti-tuberculosis and anti-leprous drugs [3].

Cap on Co-Payment

There appears to be no cap on co-payments under the Portuguese system.

Resources

Notes

    1. Bronner, M et al (2005) Pharmaceutical Pricing & Reimbursement 2005: a concise guide, PPR Communications Ltd.
    2. minbuza.nl/default.asp?CMS_ITEM=MBZ426386 [Accessed 13/01/2006]
    3. euro.who.int/pharmaceuticals/Topics/Overview/20020414_10 [Assessed 13/01/2006]

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