[Pharmaceutical assistance in the Brazilian public health care system]

Rev Panam Salud Publica. 2010 Feb;27(2):149-56. doi: 10.1590/s1020-49892010000200010.
[Article in Portuguese]


This article deals with the organization of pharmaceutical assistance within the Brazilian Public Unified Health System (Sistema Unico de Saúde, SUS) by analyzing the progress made so far and the challenges that still must be faced to ensure the right to universal therapeutic and pharmaceutical coverage in Brazil. Among the improvements, the article discusses the National List of Essential Drugs and its role to guide the supply, prescription, and dispensing of drugs within SUS. The structure of federal funding and the existing pharmaceutical programs are described, as well as the responsibilities of the Federal Government, states, and municipalities concerning allocation of financial resources. Despite the progress made, the model of access to SUS drugs has not been successful in securing universal therapeutic assistance. It is essential to consider a type of funding and organization of pharmaceutical assistance that is driven by a notion of regionalization, with financing based on health care flows rather than on the population circumscribed to a given territory. It is also essential to qualify pharmaceutical management by hiring pharmacists and support personnel, professionalizing workers, and setting up facilities with appropriate information systems and equipment.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Brazil
  • Pharmaceutical Services*
  • Public Health Practice*