Health minister Ab Klink is considering forcing doctors to prescribe the cheapest generic medicines available, the Telegraaf reports on Tuesday.
The paper says Klink hopes the measure will reduce the €1bn shortfall in the health ministry budget. Generic drugs are cheaper versions of brand-name medicine on which the patent has expired.
A ministry spokeswoman told news agency ANP that it was already policy to encourage the use of cheaper drugs and no decision has yet been taken. But if patients object, they can be prescribed the named medicine.
Klink is also considering introducing a fine of up to €50 for people who go to hospital accident and emergency departments without a referral from their doctor and slashing spending on mental health services. Medicines to ease stomach acid problems may also be removed from the basic health insurance package.
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