According to the analysis carried out by researchers Eduardo Costa and Pedro Pita Barros, within the scope of the Health Expenditure Observatory, direct payments by Portuguese families for health products and services available in pharmacies (which represent around 25% of direct payments from families in health) went from 903 million euros in 2000 to 1,419 million euros in 2020.

The researchers point out that this expense accompanied the increase in the share provided by the SNS, which went from 1,068 million euros (in 2000) to 1,543 million (in 2020).

“If at the beginning of the century health expenses in pharmacies were covered by 46% by the SNS and 39% by Portuguese families, twenty years later, the weight of both approaches and the 3% growth (for the SNS) is accompanied double the growth for Portuguese families (6%)”, they highlight in the analysis carried out within the scope of the Social Equity Initiative, a partnership between the “la Caixa” Foundation, BPI and Nova SBE.

According to the researchers, “the weight of 49% and 45% (SNS and families, respectively) reached in 2020 reflects not only the 'insignificant' weight of health insurance and subsystems in paying the expense of medicines dispensed in community pharmacies – which fell from 16% in 2000 to just 5% in 2020 (corresponding to absolute values of 372 million euros and 163 million euros, respectively) – but above all they show a potential growing financial lack of protection of the population in the face of this type of expenditure”.

Economists also note that this is an evolution that occurs even in the presence of a trend of lower prices for medicines dispensed in community pharmacies that is “noticeable in the years following 2011”.