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Revista de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1518-8787


OLIVEIRA, Maria Auxiliadora et al. Access to medicines for chronic diseases in Brazil: a multidimensional approach. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2016, vol.50, suppl.2, 6s. ISSN 1518-8787.


To analyze the access to medicines to treat non-communicable diseases in Brazil according to socioeconomic, demographic, and health-related factors, from a multidimensional perspective.


Analysis of data from the National Survey on Access, Use and Promotion of Rational Use of Medicines (PNAUM), household survey, sampling plan by conglomerates with representativeness of the Brazilian population and large areas of the country, according to sex and age domains. Data collected in 2013–2014 with sample of adults (≥ 20 years) who reported having non-communicable diseases and medical indication for use of medicines (n = 12,725). We assessed the prevalence of access to medicines for self-reported non-communicable diseases, considering four dimensions: availability, geographic accessibility, acceptability, and affordability. We applied Pearson’s Chi-square test to assess the statistical significance of the differences between strata, considering the level of significance of 5%. We found prevalence of 94.3%, 5.2%, and 0.5% for full, partial, and null access, respectively. Higher prevalence was observed among seniors in the South compared to the Northeast; for those who reported having one non-communicable disease compared to those who reported having two or more; for those who needed one medicine compared to those who needed three or more; and for those who self-assessed their health as good or very good. Geographic accessibility was similar in the Unified Health System and in the private pharmacies (72.0%). Total availability of medicines was 45.2% in the Unified Health System, 67.4% in the Popular Pharmacy Program, and 88.5% in private pharmacies. Acceptability was 92.5% in the Unified Health System, 97.8% in the Popular Pharmacy Program, and 98.7% in private pharmacies. As to affordability, 2.6% of the individuals failed to take the medicines they should in the 30-day period prior to the interview due to financial difficulty. Prevalence of full access to medicines for non-communicable diseases in Brazil is high and presents significant differences for age group, region of the country, number of non-communicable diseases, and for medicines prescribed and self-assessment of health. The major barriers to access to medicines were identified in the dimensions analyzed.

Keywords : Adult; Aged; Drug Utilization; Chronic Disease; Socioeconomic Factors; Health Surveys.

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