The drug market have the price of their goods defined by the government since 2003. The executives have argued about the impracticability of producing high cost drugs keeping low prices.

The pharmaceutical industry executives complaint about the price of medicines readjustment in a public hearing, last Tuesday 7, at the Chamber’s Committee on Social Security and Family. The price of the medicines are defined by the government since 2003 through the Drug Regulamentory Market Chamber (CEMED), the industry had R$ 72 billions profit in 2016, according to ANVISA (Nationally Health Surveillance Agency).

However, the representative of the Industry Syndicate of Pharmaceutical Products in the State of São Paulo (Sindusfarma), Bruno César Almeida Abreu is concerned about losses if the price readjustment of medicines remain below inflation.

He pointed out that, from 2007 to 2016, the readjustment ranged from 45% to 61%, comparing to 86% inflation. If considered the salary increase of the pharmaceutical working class, by 102% at the same period, the industry losses can be considered higher, according to the unionist.
“The readjustment comparing to inflation is unfair, if the salary adjustment were considered, the losses would be greater”, he said.
The Brazilian Research-based Pharmaceutical Manufactures Association (Interfarma) executive officer, Pedro Bernardo, reinforced that the inequality might affect the investments allocation, as well as the population access to medicines.
He mentioned the example of penicillin, used on the treatment of syphilis, which price was defined below the market condition, economically precluding the medicine production. 
The congressman Mandetta (DEM/MS), who has requested the the hearing, was surprised by the businessmen’s argument. “What magic is that? Either the price was too high that even with the price readjustment of 61% against 82% inflation increase kept profits, or there is something in these numbers I cannot understand”, he said.
Anyway, according to the CMED’s executive secretary, Leandro Sefatle, the price regulation is effective, first and foremost over imported medicines to treat rare disease, once they are generally patented.
According to him, the Ministry of Health had a loss of R$ 500 million on the purchase of a medicine, imposed through court, by international price. In his opinion, the trial could be avoided if it were under CMED control.
“When it comes to drug monopoly and the manufacturer works with prices too high, the negotiation tend to put the country in most fragile situation”, he says.
Sefatle highlighted that there are medicines that are sold at prices below the fixed-price set by CMED, and “it is a positive signal” of competition at the market. 
Tax BurdenThe pharmaceutical market’s businessmen also complaint about the increasing of taxes for the sector which, according to them, is almost 20% of  the medicine’s price. Among the exemples discussed, it was talked about the drugs used on the treatment of Hepatitis C, those are imposed 12% PIS and COFINS and 18% ICMS (*).
Bruno César Almeida Abreu was ironic with the situation. “There are more important manufactured goods than those medicines, with lower tax burden, as animal remedy, with 13% of taxes”.
The ANVISA representative, Leandro Sefatle, on the order hand, told that 95% of medicines are already exempt from federal taxes. “The Brazilian Government had already exempt IPI for all medicines. When it comes to PIS/COFINS, there are still some medicines to be exempt”, he said.
(*) PIS/COFINS are social contribution (Social Integration Program/ Contribution for the Financing of Social Security). ICMS means Tax on Consumption of Goods and Services. (**) IPI – Tax on Manufactured Goods
Report - Emanuelle Brasil
Edition - Geórgia Moraes