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News > Latin America

Coups 'Bad for Your Health': Brazil's Dilma Chides Temer for Destroying Popular Pharmacy Program

  • Former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

    Former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. | Photo: EFE

Published 21 May 2018

Popular Pharmacy is Here is "one of the most important programs" in Brazil ensuring people have access to "free" or discounted medicines Rousseff explained.

Former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has condemned a move by the country's current government to terminate  'Popular Pharmacy is Here,' a program, which helps to guarantee poor Brazilians access to medicines.

Brazil's Temer to End Free, Low-Cost ‘Popular Pharmacy’ Program

In a post published on her official website said: “the coup government (led by Senate-imposed president Michel Temer) is terminating 'Popular Pharmacy is Here,' one of the most essential programs established in Brazil to guarantee the people access to medicines.”

She added that the government's decision to “de-accredited of 1,729 pharmacies that participated in the agreement" was a part of a systematic plan to destroy the program. 

As proof of the program's positive impact on the health of the population, Rousseff noted that “the number of people with diabetes and hypertension who benefited from the program expanded from 853 thousand in January 2011 to 26.8 million in March 2016, an increase of 837 percent."

While free and discounted medicines were made available to all, those who benefited most from the program included low-income workers and retirees. In August last year, Brazil's Ministry of Health announced that it would proceed with closing all 393 branches of the country’s Popular Pharmacy program.

Established in 2004 by former leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the Popular Pharmacy program guaranteed free distribution, or at least a 90 percent discount, on 112 different medications for chronic illnesses.

More than 38 million people have benefited from the program, many of whom are elderly persons, who otherwise could not afford to pay high prices to receive their medicine.

Rousseff concluded her statement by saying that “the coup did much more than destroy democracy. Neglect, inhumanity and the lack of concern for the people's lives, the coup, also, is bad for your health.”

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