Health insurers to reimburse only cheapest medication

24th June 2008, Comments 0 comments

The Dutch health ministry says the measure will save some EUR 100 million in health care expenses.

24 June 2008

THE NETHERLANDS - Dutch health insurers will only reimburse the cheapest type of cholesterol-lowering drugs as of January 2009, Dutch Health Minister Ab Klink informed the Dutch parliament on Monday in a formal letter.

The affected drug, called Simvastatine, is used to treat people with high cholesterol and those suffering from vascular or cardiac diseases.

The Dutch health ministry has calculated that by 2011, the measure will save some EUR 100 million in health care expenses.

The decision marks the first concrete step by the Dutch health ministry forcing doctors to prescribe the cheapest possible medication, usually so-called generic medication.

So far, Dutch doctors were free to prescribe the particular brand of medication they felt was best for their patient.

The Dutch health ministry and critics of the pharmaceutical industry in the Netherlands however claim that in practice doctors only prescribe the most expensive medication, unnecessarily increasing the expenses of health care insurers.

[dpa / Expatica]

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