Pharmacists want tobacco tax to finance health innovation

Pharmacists want tobacco tax to finance health innovation -   

The Portuguese Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry (Apifarma) wants 10% of the revenue obtained with the tobacco tax to be channeled to finance innovation in the National Health Service (SNS). An amount that would be around 150 million euros already next year.

After being presented last week to groups with parliamentary seats and the Health Committee of the Assembly of the Republic, the proposal will be made known Monday in the Strategic Health Council, the consultative body of the CIP (Portuguese Business Confederation ) Which brings together the main federations and associations of the sector. Apifarma officials want this proposal to be further included in the 2017 State Budget (OE) discussion.

What Apifarma suggests is the allocation of 10% of tobacco tax revenues to a fund for therapeutic innovation in the NHS, which would act as a "financial cushion for the introduction of innovative medicines", explained to the PUBLIC the Member of the Block Of the Left and vice-president of the Parliamentary Health Commission, Moisés Ferreira. "It's a proactive attitude at this point in the discussion of the State Budget in the specialty," he said.

The objective of the proposal is to reinforce the allocation of the NHS which, this year, "had a lower budget than the previous year," said the deputy chairman of the PSD bench and also a member of the Health Commission, Miguel Santos. A reduction which, he argues, is being reflected in the "debt increase" of the NHS and is also having an impact on the introduction of innovative pharmaceuticals in public hospitals.

This will also be, Miguel Santos added, "a good starting point" for the creation of a base law that allows the NHS (National Health System) to have a multiannual financial management, as it did with Social Security some years ago. Miguel Santos emphasizes that the pace of entry of innovative medicines in Portugal is "at the lowest level" in recent years and that there is "very great pressure, especially oncologists" for the introduction of new drugs.

Revenues of 1.500 Million Euros :

This proposal comes at a time when the Portuguese Association of Hospital Administrators (APAH) argues that the pharmaceutical industry will bear the costs of medicines that do not have the expected therapeutic success. But for this, it is necessary that the results of the treatments are properly monitored by the health units.

This was one of the topics discussed at the VII Medication Forum, which was held on Friday in Lisbon. "Nowadays, it does not make sense that the patient does not have information about the success of a given treatment in each hospital," APAH president Alexandre Lourenço told Jornal de Notícias. These results, he stressed, should reflect not only the survival but also the quality of life provided to the patient.

Tobacco tax revenue has fluctuated over the last few years but, if the forecast is confirmed, in 2016 it will exceed 1.5 billion euros. This year, and as the EO only came into effect in late April, the snuffers waited for the first quarter to introduce the new tobacco, rather than at the end of the previous year, as usual. Consequence: In the first quarter of this year, revenue more than doubled.

By 2016, the government budgeted a revenue of 1.514 million euros with taxes on tobacco. By August, 884,5 million euros had already been settled.

Created in 2014, the CIP's Strategic Health Council assumes itself as a "partner in the discussion and construction of the future of health in Portugal". The associations that make up this consultative body of CIP represent more than five thousand companies operating in Portugal.

Source: "Público" newspaper and author on November 14, 2016