Simple antipsychotic drugs are now given free of charge to patients followed on an outpatient basis at the National Health Service, and their administration is accompanied by the respective mental health services, according to an order published this Monday in Diário da República.
The order signed by the Secretary of State for Health, Diogo Serras Lopes, which enters into force on Tuesday, determines “the free provision of simple antipsychotic medications for oral and intramuscular administration” and belonging to “Group 2 – System central nervous system”.
Drugs must be prescribed by physicians specializing in psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry or neurology in public hospitals.
Its administration is monitored and is the responsibility of the respective local mental health services, says the diploma, stressing that the free supply of these drugs constitutes “an important step in the processes of adherence to therapy, with the consequence of reducing the respective complications”.
The diploma states that “Portugal currently has a high prevalence of mental illnesses, which are an important cause of morbidity with a high impact on society”.
In addition to the repercussions on the quality of life of patients, since they are chronic diseases, with variable evolution and strongly disabling, these pathologies also have a high impact on the socioeconomic level, he adds.
“Patients with psychotic disorders, in particular, often present problems with adherence to therapy, justifying the need for regular follow-up by health services, with a view to increasing adherence to the therapeutic program, given its importance in monitoring the disease “, reads the diploma.
According to the order, this process must “compulsorily encompass other care”, in addition to pharmacological therapy, provided by multidisciplinary teams, which guarantee the continuity of care.
In line with the guidelines of the National Plan for Mental Health, the order emphasizes that it is necessary “that measures be taken to ensure the necessary conditions for the effective monitoring of these patients, simultaneously combining two actions: on the one hand, reducing difficulties in accessing medication for financial reasons and, on the other hand, ensuring that there is supervision of the therapeutic process by the mental health services”.
The NHS establishments where the drugs covered by this regime are prescribed are financially responsible for the respective charges.