‘Health ministry spent nearly €100,000 on pharma lobby group’

The health ministry has spent almost €100,000 on a lobby group set up by the pharmaceuticals industry, the Telegraaf reports on Friday.

The so-called Apollo Network was set up with the help of current junior health minister Martin van Rijn while he was a senior civil servant, the paper says.

The group includes representatives from GlaxoSmithKline and Janssen Cilag and tries to influence civil servants and hospital chiefs about drugs policy, the paper states. In addition, members of the medicine assessment board – an independent body – are participants, the Telegraaf says.

Generic drugs

It is noteworthy that no representatives from cheaper, generic drugs firms are included.

The ministry has contributed €24,000 a year towards the network since 2010, the paper said. It obtained the details using freedom of information legislation. However, the ministry declined to give further details about what the money is spent on.

In a reaction to the Telegraaf story, Van Rijn said he has only attended a few sessions. ‘The aim [of the network] is to ensure there are as few obstacles as possible to innovation,’ he said.

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