Dutch health authority accepts foreign trips from drugs firms: NRC

The Dutch healthcare authority NZa accepts foreign travel trips from companies which do business with the organisation or which the authority supervises, the NRC says on Saturday.

The paper has carried out research into Theo Langejan’s expenses claims and concludes the NZa has broken its own guidelines on foreign travel.

Other regulators, such as the financial services authority AFM and consumer and markets authority ACM do not accept paid trips on principle, the paper says.

Drugs firms

Since 2010, Langejan has been on at least 16 trips paid for by companies and healthcare institutions. In April 2012 he spent four days in a hotel on the French Rivièra, courtesy of drugs company Pfizer. The suite where he stayed cost €700 a night, the paper says.

The NZa decides which medicines are covered by Dutch health insurance, and that includes Pfizer drugs, the NRC points out.

Accountancy consultants PwC has funded all-in trips to Singapore, Washington, South Africa and Mexico. Langejan made these trips as an ‘advisor’ to a PwC think tank but in NZa time, the NRC says.

KPMG, which did €420,000 worth of advisory work for the NZa in 2012, also paid for Langejan to attend a KPMG European Health Summit in Brussels, even though he had no role in the programme.

The NZa’s policy is to have sponsors pay travel and hotel expenses if an NZa official is speaking at a congress. Langejan’s predecessor Frank de Grave distanced the organisation from this policy.

The NZa said in a reaction that none of the trips the NRC has written about break the NZa’s internal rules.

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