Ministerial Order 97/2023 was published on 31 March 2023 and introduces the fifth amendment to Ministerial Order 224/2015 of 27 July 2015. The new ministerial order establishes a legal framework for the prescription and dispensation of medicines and health products, and defines obligations regarding information to be provided to health service users. It also introduces the first amendment to Ministerial Order 126/2018 of 8 May 2018, which:

  • defines rules relating to prescriptions, registration and the availability of results of complementary diagnostic tests and therapy; and
  • regulates the billing of providers to the National Health Service.

Previously, the validity period of prescriptions for medicines was 30 days. This has now been extended to 12 months. Prescriptions for complementary diagnostic tests and therapy were previously valid for six months; this period has now been extended to 12 months. The possibility of renewing prescriptions for medicines has been maintained for up to three copies, but the validity has been extended from six months to 12 months.

This change was one of the measures proposed by the Executive Directorate of the National Health Service in response to an identified need to improve the provision of primary care. Other proposed measures include:

  • removing bureaucracy through facilitating access to the National Health Service; and
  • reducing the administrative burden on general practitioners and family doctors.

The ministerial order came into force on 1 April 2023. Systems must be adapted to these changes within 90 days of this date.

For further information on this topic please contact Eduardo Nogueira Pinto, Eliana Bernardo, Ricardo Rocha or Rita Antunes da Cunha at PLMJ by telephone (+351 213 197 300) or email ([email protected], [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected]). PLMJ website can be accessed at