From January to August, more than 75,000 packages of psychoactive drugs, such as antidepressants, mood stabilisers, tranquilisers and sedative-hypnotic drugs, were sold on average per day in Portugal, representing a 1.9% increase compared to the same period in 2012.
The data from the IMS consulting company shows that approximately 18 million packages were sold during the first eight months of the year, the majority of which were tranquilisers (9,098,349).
Despite the increase in sales, the cost of these drugs for the State and patients dropped. Data revealed that the State spent €30.4 million on its share of payment for these medicines (-10% on 2012) while patients paid €56.4 million (-8%).
The president of the Portuguese Association for Psychiatry and Mental Health, Luísa Figueira, said that an increasing number of patients suffering from mental disorders are visiting health centres, and family doctors frequently direct patients with episodes of depression to the association.
According to Luísa Figueira, depression cases are more common among the unemployed and those suffering serious financial struggles. She also said that many patients receiving treatment in private clinics ask to be transferred to public services because they cannot afford the appointments.