Every year, the prices of new medicines in the Netherlands get higher and higher.
But as prices skyrocket and our insurance premiums rise, the pharmaceutical industry continues to ignore calls for greater public scrutiny of their price increases. Whether it’s secrecy in the prices being paid for medicines in different countries, secrecy in revealing the true research and development (R&D) costs, including how much of it was paid for by taxpayers, we think it’s about time for us to know the whole picture.
Consider this—in 2003, we spent €270 million on cancer medicines. In 2013, it was €733 million. Between 2011 and 2014, prices for some cancer drugs rose by 80%. Today, it's not uncommon for our hospitals to pay €54,000 for a breast cancer treatment or €52,000 for a twelve-week course of medication for Hepatitis C.
All in all, it costs €1.7 billion for Dutch hospitals to provide just these high-priced medicines to patients—and that was in 2014.
It’s no wonder the Dutch Society of Hospitals has warned that these costs are unsustainable, telling the government that if nothing changes, hospitals will no longer be able to guarantee access to expensive medicines. That means hospitals could soon have to refuse a patient access to a medicine because they simply can’t afford it.
We can’t let this happen.
In an open and democratic society, the price we pay for medicines to care for our sick should be public information. Companies should also be open about their true R&D costs, including how much of it was paid for by taxpayers. With doctors, patients, insurers and hospitals all warning that prices for new medicines are unsustainable, the time has come to restore power to taxpayers by demanding an open and transparent industry.
WILL YOU JOIN THE CAMPAIGN FOR FAIR MEDICINE PRICES?
A CAMPAIGN BY:
This campaign for fair medicine prices received funding under an operating grant from the European Union’s Health Programme (2014–2020).
|Aidsfonds||KWF Kankerbestrijding||Diabetes Fonds||Dutch Institute for Rational Use of Medicine|
Nierpatiënten Vereniging Nederland, NVN
|Borstkankervereniging Nederland||Fair Medicine||Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM)||License to Heal|
Medecins du Monde Netherlands