According to the National Index of Access to Hospital Medicine, promoted by the Portuguese Association of Hospital Administrators (APAH), the average time between the request made by the doctor and the approval of new medicines by Infarmed has reduced to 15 days (21 days in 2018).

Between the decision of Infarmed and the purchase of the drug, the period increased to 13 days (12 in 2018).

The study, which had the scientific coordination of the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Lisbon and the support of the Order of Pharmacists, concludes that most hospital institutions use medicines before the funding decision, ensuring overall access to therapeutic innovation, albeit with different levels of access, which creates inequalities.

Those responsible continue to insist on the excessive administrative burden as the major barrier in the acquisition process of new drugs.

"There must be mechanisms, even in public procurement, that will create more agile mechanisms for the acquisition of this type of goods, such as medicines", defends Alexandre Lourenço, president of APAH.

Speaking to Lusa, the official also defends that "it makes some sense that there may be greater articulation between buyers, in this case hospitals, individually, or even through purchasing centers, such as the Shared Services of the Ministry of Health, to develop medium and long-term partnerships with the suppliers themselves so that this administrative burden is alleviated”.

The document also shows that 57% of the units consider that the drug acquisition process is not triggered in a timely manner and 10% felt that the price/financing model factor was a barrier to accessing some medicine.

Most hospitals believe that it would make sense to purchase medicines in certain areas within the scope of negotiations via the European route and that, in this way, access to innovation could be accelerated and lower prices achieved.