Access to medicines: the Spanish Ombudsman makes a recommendation to increase the protection of the most vulnerable groups

Access to medicines: the Spanish Ombudsman makes a recommendation to increase the protection of the most vulnerable groups


The Spanish Ombudsman, Francisco Fernández de Marugán has made a recommendation to the Ministry of Health, Social Policy and Equality to promote a change in Law, to increase the protection of vulnerable groups and guarantee that they can access the medicaments that they need.

The Institution believes that the rigidity of the regulation, which approved the new model of pharmaceutical copayment -that entered into force in July 2012- using the emergency procedure, damages the situation of numerous patients in vulnerable situations and carries an additional risk to ensure adherence to medical treatments in certain circumstances.

Among the measures proposed by the  there is one that stands out, the exemption of copayment or the implementation of a minimum percentage to those patients affected by chronic and serious diseases (among others, rare, degenerative and cancer diseases), especially when it comes to patients under age.

The Institution also considers necessary to waive the copayment to people with a recognised degree of disability and to people with an income of any nature that does not reach the minimum threshold, to be determined according to the poverty risk indicators.

Moreover, the Spanish Ombudsman believes that the current income groups are insufficient (from 0 to 18,000, from 18,001 to 100,000 and more than 100,000 Euros) and therefore requests that new groups and co-payment percentages be established that correspond better with the constitutional principles of progressivity and equity.

Additionally, the Institution has recommended that the appropriate administration to solve the requests of citizens related to pharmaceutical copayment shall be determined and that the necessary instruments are put in place so that those requests can be processed.

Lastly, the Spanish Ombudsman has also asked the Government to elaborate a report assessing the impact that the introduction of the pharmaceutical copayment has had on the objectives of containing public expenditure and on the quality of the pharmaceutical provision offered by the National Health System.


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