New medicines can take almost two years to be authorised for sale in Portugal.
This puts the country at almost bottom of the European league table.
Only Lithuania and Serbia have longer ‘waiting lists’ for treatments that could, in the end, make all the difference.
This is just one of the findings of the Spring report by the Observatory of Health Systems which has come to other equally depressing conclusions.
Portugal, for example, is the OECD country where most citizens consume medication for anxiety, and where the public health service is seen as “marked by government inertia”.
But the most alarming finding is the time it takes for citizens to get access to cutting-edge medication.
Says the report, the 634 days registered in Portugal are five times longer than the time it takes to see new drugs authorised in Germany, and almost twice as long as it takes in neighbouring Spain.
Admittedly Lithuania and Serbia had worse results (730 and 920 days respectively) but that doesn’t make Portugal’s situation any better.
“Portuguese citizens have a right to greater transparency in these processes, with an increase in efficiency in decision-making”, says the text which comes hot-on-the-heels of a national ‘disgrace’ in which parents convinced that they were being denied life-saving medication for their daughter, took to fundraising on their own to get it (click here).
Frustratingly, the case of baby Matilde is still far from settled as bureaucratic issues have now kicked in, impeding the baby’s treatment in this country. In the meantime, she is being treated with the ‘next best’ therapy, freely available on the SNS public health service.