Accessibility and acquisition of medicines in a long-stay institution for the elderly in Brazil [Abstract in English]

Letícia Farias Gerlack, Ângelo José Gonçalves Bós, Divaldo Lyra Júnior, Margô Gomes de Oliveira Karnikowski


AIMS: To describe the strategies of access to medicines and the cost of its acquisition in a long-stay institution for the elderly in Brazil.
METHODS: A semi-structured interview was performed to investigate what means were used by the institution to purchase prescription drugs for the elderly. The amount spent for purchase in drugstores was compared to what could have been spent if the drugs were obtained by accessing viable strategies provided by the public health sector in the same period of time.
RESULTS: During the study period, 107 different types of medicines were purchased by the institution, among which 22 (20.6%) could have been accessed through the public health sector, which equates to a savings of R$7,721.52. Bureaucratic barriers to enrollment of elderly in basic health units were identified, which prevented free access to essential medicines.
CONCLUSIONS: The difficulty of access medicines through strategies offered by the public health sector for its distribution meant higher costs for the elderly institution. These data can help managers to identify avoidable expenses and to better understand the possibilities of access to medicines, as well as lead to a reflection on the existence of a possible dissociation between public policies on access to medicines and long-stay institutions for elderly in Brazil.



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