February 19, 2013 | By Márcio Barra
Today, Paulo Macedo, the Portuguese health minister, in the II TSF AbbVIE conference, announced his intent in further decreasing drug expenditure, as to decrease the rising costs of diabetes care. These comments were prompted by the release of the National diabetes observatory annual report, regarding the year 2011, where it shows that the costs with diabetes continue to increase in Portugal, currently representing an expense of 1816 million euros, or 1% of the GDP. In the last decade, insulin packages increased 60%, and the cost of these packages increased 297,5%.
To counter these increases, Paulo Macedo announced a centralized tender, under the shared services of the Ministry of Health, aiming to decrease the prices of glucometers. The minister also expressed his wish of decreasing the costs of diabetes medication, and the necessity of earlier diagnosis of diabetes patients. Of the more than 1 million diabetic patients in Portugal, 44% is not diagnosed. Late diagnosis can lead to complications and amputations, which increase hospital costs. This is especially noteworthy when you consider that hospital costs are more than double than medication costs.