With a potential standoff brewing between Brazil’s government and its pharmaceutical industry, millions of Brazilians could find their health at risk. Conditions including diabetes have risen sharply in recent years, but a federal initiative to make medicine more affordable has so far helped an estimated 31 million Brazilians. The program, ‘Farmácia Popular’ or ‘the people’s pharmacy’, offers large discounts for medications to treat the population’s most common health conditions – mainly diabetes, hypertension, and asthma.
However, when now-president Michel Temer assumed office in May 2016, he announced sweeping changes to the program. Temer’s government reportedly cut 400 pharmacies from the Farmácia Popular network upon his arrival, and is now attempting to renegotiate the prices they pay companies for medications included in the scheme.