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Doctors told to prescribe cheap drugs

Published on 11/01/2006

11 January 2006

BRUSSELS – Belgian doctors and dentists are being told to prescribe cheaper medicine in an effort to bring down state contributions to healthcare.

Belgium’s 45,000 doctors and 8,700 dentists have been sent a letter telling them to prescribe a certain percentage of cheap drugs, such as generic products, to cost the state less in reimbursements.

The letter has been signed by Dr De Ridder, the director general of Inami, Belgium’s medical insurance body.

Under the new rules, doctors and dentists will be given minimum targets for the prescription of cheaper drugs, with the new proportions being fixed by law.

Their response will be assessed between 1 April and 30 September 2006 and those who fail to meet the targets will have to justify their reasons in writing within two months.

The specific nature of a patient’s treatment can be cited as a reason for refusing to prescribe a cheap product.

But the failure to give a good reason can lead to “monitoring” of the doctor and the threat of financial penalties.

[Copyright Expatica 2006]

Subject: Belgian news