Reimbursement orphan drugs: The Netherlands and Belgium will step together to the pharmaceutical sector

Reimbursement orphan drugs: The Netherlands and Belgium will step together to the pharmaceutical sector

RIGA, Latvia. 20/04/2015.- Maggie De Block, Minister of Health and Social Affairs and her Dutch colleague Edith Schippers have decided to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies on the reimbursement of orphan drugs. Maggie De Block: "Together we drag more out of the fire for our patients suffering from rare diseases."

At the informal European Meeting in Riga, Latvia, today, April 20, 2015, Minister Schippers and Minister De Block signed an agreement on this subject.

The Dutch and Belgian Minister of Health have been discussing about this collaborative approach since last year December. Their services are developing the practical action points so that next year, in 2016, jointly they can step to pharmaceutical companies. The initiative will start with a pilot project that both Ministers will assess thereafter.

The approach of Maggie De Block and Edith Schippers also generates interest from other Member States. Schippers and De Block hope that other member states will join the initiative.


Lower price

Orphan diseases are rare diseases affecting less than five hundred thousand people.

There are about 8,000 orphan diseases for which there are only 150 drugs on the market. An estimated 30 million Europeans suffer from one of those 8,000 orphan diseases.

Because of this comparatively yet few patients, a firm can only sell few doses of an orphan drug and therefore the prices are often very high.

Maggie De Block: "Nowadays countries each separately make agreements with pharmaceutical companies. Together we represent more patients and we can negotiate a lower price. "

For the companies involved, there are also pluses: they only need to serve one file for both countries and they have immediate access to a larger number of patients. Several pharmaceutical companies have already announced that they want to join in the pilot project.



The Dutch-Belgian plans go far beyond collective negotiations. In time, both countries will also exchange information, share registers and coördinate evaluation methods. The aim is to investigate which innovative drugs in the coming years will come to the market and how Health Departments in both countries prepares this the best.

Source: Press Release