Panel SA: Pharmacists cite risk of drug shortages to pressure against ICMS

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The Pharmaceutical group FarmaBrasil, which brings together companies such as Aché, Althaia, Biolab, EMS, Eurofarma and Hypera, joined the sector’s movement to pressure state Treasury departments against the increase in ICMS on medicines.

The entity sent a statement to the undersecretary of the São Paulo State Revenue Service, Luiz Marcio de Souza, saying that several medications may become commercially unfeasible, even causing occasional shortages because of the measures taken in taxation.

The sector asks for the postponement of the application of the new reference prices, says that there are problems in the list with the change in the calculation basis and cases in which the published price is above the maximum value that pharmacies can charge the final consumer.

FarmaBrasil’s manifestation adds to the complaints of other entities such as Abrafarma (drugstores), PróGenéricos (generics manufacturers), Alanac (which brings together national laboratories) and Sindusfarma (union of large pharmaceutical companies), which sent a letter to 12 Treasury departments asking not to raise tax rates.

The change in taxation is added to the readjustment of medicines authorized annually by Cmed (Chamber for Regulation of the Medicines Market) of the federal government. The double increase happens because, at the end of 2022, 12 states raised the ICMS rates on various products, including medicines, to compensate for the cut in the fuel and energy tax. The new rates range from 19% to 22%.

In a note, the Finance Department of São Paulo said that the change in the values ​​of pharmaceutical products should take place in August last year, but the update was extended to February. The agency also stated that it will maintain contact with the pharmaceutical sector to “deal with specific cases in which reference prices may have exceeded the maximum consumer price”, set by Cmed.

Joana Cunha with Paulo Ricardo Martins and Diego Felix

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