Anti-cancer drugs are up to 58% more expensive in the Netherlands than in other EU countries, according to new research published in medical journal Lancet Oncology.
The research, led by Wim van Harten of the specialist Antoni van Leeuwenhoek cancer hospital in Amsterdam, looked at nine different medicines. In seven out of nine cases, the Netherlands was one of the three countries which paid the most for the drug, RTL news quotes the survey as showing.
On average, prices in the Netherlands are 8% higher than in Europe as a whole.
‘The reason why prices are different cannot be explained by the survey,’ Van Harten is quoted as saying. ‘But they are not related to GDP per inhabitant or national purchasing agreements.’
It is important that drug companies are more transparent about their pricing structures, he said.
Meanwhile, Dutch health insurance company VGZ said on Friday it has joined forces with Maastricht’s teaching hospital to buy in drugs to combat lung disease.
The two organisations are drawing up a list of approved medicines for asthma and other lung problems and say they expect to have a final list of 30. Currently some 100 different drugs are used for treating lung diseases.
Drugs companies will then have to compete at auction to win the contracts to supply the drugs.
VGZ, which controls 50% of the Maastricht health insurance market, says it expects the new set-up will slash the total bill by €100m, the Volkskrant reports.
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