Drug program reduces deaths

A federal program designed to provide greater access to drugs that combat chronic disease has significantly reduced deaths and hospitalizations associated with hypertension and diabetes, two of the leading causes of health problems and mortality in Brazil. Implemented in 2004, the People’s Pharmacy Program aimed to complement the existing public pharmaceutical network, supported by the Brazilian Public Health System (SUS), with its own network of establishments or through agreements with private organizations. In partnership with the Brazilian Institute for Applied Economic Research (IPEA), Aléssio Cavalcanti de Almeida, from the Federal University of Paraíba (UFPB), examined annual data from 2003 to 2016 on hospitalizations and deaths caused by hypertension and diabetes in 5,566 municipalities across the country. He noted that the People’s Pharmacy Program led to an average annual reduction of 27.6% in hospitalizations and 8% in deaths for both diseases combined. It even benefited those living in municipalities not covered by the program, who were able to use the network of neighboring towns (Revista de Saúde Pública, January 31).