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Ellen Gielen: "Alternatives to expensive medicines: the legal leeway is limited"


It is very positive that in the Netherlands alternatives to expensive medicines are being considered. But from a legal perspective, the ability to apply the alternatives is limited and little attention has been paid to that limitation. That is what Ellen Gielen, partner and head of the Life Sciences & Health Sector Group at CMS, stresses in an article which has been published in the special 'Life Sciences & Health' at Het Financieele Dagblad.

Dutch Council for Public Health and Society
A lot has been published recently about finding alternatives to expensive medicines. This is partly due to the report the Dutch Council for Public Health and Society published at the end of 2017, which stated that the government must be able to intervene in cases where manufacturers do not charge socially acceptable prices for their products — by encouraging pharmacy preparation and issuing compulsory licenses.

Price negotiations
So what are the realistic alternatives to ensure the availability of expensive medicines on the Dutch market? Ellen Gielen emphasises that the price negotiations that Minister Bruins (Medical Care and Sport) enters into with manufacturers could offer a potential avenue. However, this negotiation tool still has to be developed, from the current ‘black box’, which may lack transparency, to a more structured approach — in which both manufacturers and the government know where they stand and which factors are relevant when agreeing the price.

Read the online article

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Portrait of Ellen Gielen
Ellen Gielen