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Home Dutch News Court OKs bonuses for cheap drugs

Court OKs bonuses for cheap drugs

Published on 03/01/2006

3 January 2006

AMSTERDAM — A Dutch appeal court ruled on Tuesday health insurers can continue to pay bonuses to doctors who prescribe cheaper anti-cholesterol and antacid medicines instead of the more expensive branded alternatives.

The case was taken by four pharmaceutical companies, Altana Pharma, MSD and Pfizer, against health insurer Menzis. But the ruling covers all insurance companies in the Netherlands.

The four companies lost the original challenge to Menzis’s bonus scheme back in October.

Doctors who prescribe the unbranded Omeprazol or Simvastine remedies can earn bonuses of up to EUR 8,000 a year. 

Menzis has estimated it will save EUR 3.2 million in 2006 if doctors prescribe cheaper and unbranded anti-cholesterol and antacid medicines to the insurer’s clients. A total of EUR 263 million was spent on antacid remedies in the Netherlands in 2004.

The issue is a hot topic given that critics of the new healthcare system which came into force on 1 January claim it gives health insurers too much power to decide what treatment patients can receive.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news