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Minister adopts SiRM's recommendations on improvement of expensive medicines policy

On July 2nd, Minister Bruins sent the evaluation report of the governement's expensive medicines policy to the House of Representatives together with a response from the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. The evaluation was carried out by consultancy firms SiRM and Common Eye. SiRM concludes that during the first three years after publication of the Dutch medicines policy, the low-hanging fruit has been picked. Now, halfway through the predetermined policy period, the time has come for high-hanging fruit and the use of additional indicators to monitor policy effects in preparation of the ex post evaluation.

News 4 July 2019

The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport asked consultancy firms SiRM – Strategies in Regulated Markets – and Common Eye to conduct an ex durante (interim) evaluation of its medicines policy. We were asked to study the effects of the Dutch medicines policy, to describe how its effectiveness could be improved, and to identify indicators to monitor policy effectiveness and efficiency in preparation of the ex post evaluation in 2022.

We conclude that during the first three years after publication of the Dutch medicines policy, the low-hanging fruit has been picked. Its publication has resulted in a sense of urgency in the healthcare field and has increased the pressure towards the pharmaceutical industry. Prices of innovative medicines have been reduced to a certain extent and appropriate use of innovative medicines has become an important theme. Now, halfway through the predetermined policy period, the time has come for high-hanging fruit: sustainable solutions for socially unacceptable prices and realizing appropriate use of innovative medicines. Moreover, additional indicators are needed to monitor policy effects in preparation of the ex post evaluation in 2022.

In his response to the recommendations of the report, the minister indicated that he will revise his approach and deployment at the European level in the coming months. Secondly, he indicated that the recommendations on the purchase of innovative medicines and research into appropriate use require further elaboration. He will take them into account when re-determining the direction of the medicines policy in the coming months. Lastly, he will discuss with the Dutch Healthcare Authority whether the proposed indicators for measuring accessibility and affordability of innovative medicines could be included in their annual monitor "Medicines in the medical specialist care".

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