First posted: 13 March 2012
Market shares of generic medicines in Portugal did not exceed 1% in the second half of the 1990s .
The introduction of a generic medicines policy in the early 2000s has driven the development of the Portuguese generic medicines market .
Public expenditure on generic medicines increased from Euros 6 million in 1994 (market share by value of 0.5%) to Euros 253 million in 2004 (market share of 8.6%)  and rose to 18% in 2009 . The market share of generic medicines by volume rose from 0.8% in 1994 to 16% in 2009 [1, 2].
Source: 1994–2003 , 2004–2009 .
Portugal has pricing regulation for generic medicines, which means that penetration of generic medicines is less successful than in countries that permit (relatively) free pricing of medicines, e.g. Germany, The Netherlands, UK .
With the introduction of a generics promotion policy in 2000, Portugal has succeeded in increasing the generics market share from 0.5% to 16% (in volume) and 18% (in value) [2, 4]. However, the prices of generics remain high despite recent price cuts .
Information campaigns have been run by INFARMED in 2004, 2007 and 2009 to try and increase public awareness and trust in generic medicines .
Although prescribing by international non-proprietary name (INN) is compulsory for physicians in Portugal , they are free to add a brand name or a marketing authorisation holder name  and there are no other incentives for them to prescribe generic drugs.
Highlights of the generics market in Portugal
- Generics substitution in Portugal produces annual savings of Euros 31 million for the healthcare system and Euros 14 million for patients .
- Portugal developed a successful generics policy by increasing reimbursement of generics (until October 2005) by encouraging physicians to prescribe by INN and by allowing generics substitution by pharmacists .
- Market share of generic medicines by prescription is 16%, accounting for 18% in value .
- Pensioners receive 100% reimbursement on all generics .
1. Simoens S, De Coster S. Sustaining Generic Medicines Markets in Europe. April 2006. [monograph on the Internet]. Brussels, Belgium: European Generic medicines Association (EGA) [cited 2012 Feb 24]. Available from: www.egagenerics.com/doc/simoens-report_2006-04.pdf
2. Associação Portuguesa de Medicamentos Genéricos (Apogen). [Market] Mercado [monograph on the Internet]. Oeiras, Portugal: Apogen [cited 2012 Feb 24]. Portuguese. Available from: www.apogen.pt/conteudos/SystemPages/page.asp?art_id=50
3. Simoens S. Generic medicine pricing in Europe: current issues and future perspective. J Med Econ. 2008;11(1):171-5.
4. Österreichisches Bundesinstitut für Gesundheitswesen (ÖBIG). Access to essential medicines in Portugal. 2009.
5. Perry G. The European generic pharmaceutical market in review: 2006 and beyond. J Generic Med. 2006;4(1):4-14.
6. Grooten E. How did the new generic provisions influence generic substitution in Europe? DIA 20th Annual EuroMeeting. Barcelona, Spain. 2008.