- Telemedicine services throughout Brazil will continue to expand in coming years and aid in the improvement of medical services in the country over the long term.
- The increasing implementation of telemedicine in Brazil will be of strategic importance to pharmaceutical firms.
- Data protection will be a key theme in the use of telemedicine
Telemedicine services throughout Brazil will continue to expand in coming years and aid in the improvement of medical services in the country over the long term.
Telemedicine will become an important facet of medical provision in Brazil as it is supported by the country’s strong technological base and driven by the need to address human resource as well as fiscal constraints.
In February 2020, the Brazilian Ministries of Health and Science, Technology, Innovation and Communication launched the Chamber of Health 4.0 programme, an environment for discussions between members of public and private institutions to develop the digital healthcare strategy for Brazil.
This programme is part of the actions provided for in Brazil’s Internet of Things (IoT) Scheme, launched by the government in 2019 aimed at connecting everyday devices to the internet.
The idea is to implement and develop the IoT in Brazil, based on free competition and data circulation, observing guidelines of information security, privacy and protection of personal data.
Telemedicine is beginning to improve access to specialist hospital services, such as the digital ophthalmology service TeleOftalmo, launched by Brazilian telehealth service TelessaúdeRS in with the Universidade Federal de Rio Grande do Sul and the state government of Rio Grande do Sul in the south.
Digital infrastructure is supported by the Telemedicine University Network, Rute, which connects universities and teaching hospitals, and Telessaúde Brasil Redes, the national telehealth network programme run by the Ministry of Health to provide digital services to primary care.
A handful of digital connections are also reaching remote parts of the Amazon.
The Ministry of Health has launched several apps to provide access to personal health records but there is a long way to go for a wider uptake of telehealth by the general public.
To further advance telemedicine, Brazil will need to utilise smartphone technology to provide access to care, particularly among low-income and remote communities, and to encourage people to take greater responsibility for their own health.
The increasing implementation of telemedicine in Brazil will be of strategic importance to pharmaceutical firms.
With telemedicine providing better access to medical professionals, diagnosis rates and patient adherence to treatment, regimes are expected to improve. The latter will become increasingly important as more patients are affected by multiple chronic conditions and require multiple pharmaceutical products. We believe Brazil’s pharmaceutical market has the capacity for considerable future growth in the long term due to increasing government efforts to improve healthcare quality and infrastructure in the country. In 2019, we calculate that Brazil’s combined sales of prescription drugs and OTC medicines was BRL89.4bn (USD22.7bn) and this will increase to BRL122.9bn (USD23.4bn) by 2024, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.6%.
Uptake Of Telemedicine To Increase Commercial Opportunities
Brazil — Pharmaceutical Sales (2019–2024)
f = Fitch Solutions forecast. Source: United Nations Comtrade Database UNSD/DESA, ITC, Fitch Solutions
Data protection will be a key theme in the use of telemedicine.
In 2018, the first specific legislation on data protection was enacted in Brazil, Lei Geral de Proteção de Dados (LGPD).
However, even though enacted in 2018, the date of entry into force of the LGPD remains undetermined. Currently, the official date for the LGPD to come into effect is May 3 2021, with the effective date for the application of penalties arising from non-compliance with the LGPD on August 1 2021.
Therefore, considering that data protection and privacy standards are fairly new, processing agents are not that familiar with their obligations under the LGPD and privacy policies are consequently poorly drafted and insufficient in terms of information to the data subjects.
It is likely that the lack of transparency in the type of data being processed and on the use of patient data for secondary purposes will be one of the top infringements committed by healthcare providers once LGPD is in force and functioning.
Originally published at https://www.fitchsolutions.com on November 25, 2020.