Medicine packaging no longer has to contain the retail price

Prices on medicine packaging
January 16, 2024

Decree-Law 128/2023 of December 26 (“Decree-Law 128/2023”), amending the Medicinal Products Act and the Legal Regime on Retail Pharmacies, has been published.

Starting January 1, 2024, the retail price will no longer be mandatory on the labels of prescription and non-prescription medicines. Instead, pharmacists will now be responsible for providing customers with this information.

Medicine prices on packaging often do not reflect the actual cost to customers due to factors such as co-payments and annual price-review rules. Therefore, this measure aims to ensure transparency and provide customers with accurate and clear information about medicine prices.

As explained, the responsibility of providing customers with medicine price information now falls on retail pharmacies, which will provide this information on payment receipts when dispensing the medicine.

Specifically, the receipt must state the:

-      retail price;

-      reference price;

-      state copayment percentage;

-      cost borne by the state; and

-      cost borne by the user.

Despite the relatively short implementation period of just five days, many pharmacies have already adapted to this change and modified their billing systems to include the required price information.

According to Decree-Law 128/2023, the National Authority of Medicines and Health Products (Infarmed) will now make medicine price information available on its website and through other digital tools.

In the long term, this legislative amendment could reduce certain costs for the pharmaceutical industry by eliminating the need to make frequent updates to medicine price labels. In the shorter term, Infarmed has already clarified—through Information Circular 03/CD/100.20.200—that companies can remove the retail price from packaging during their next labeling changes or those already underway, without needing to submit a new labeling change request. Therefore, medicines with or without the retail price on their labels can coexist on the market, and companies are not required to withdraw existing stock.

January 16, 2024