Penny and Pound Wise: Pharmacoeconomics from a Governmental Perspective
Mike F. van Oostenbruggen
Ronald B. Jansen
Because of growing pressure on the healthcare budget in The Netherlands, appropriate justification of current expenditures and future investments in public healthcare are becoming increasingly important. Therefore, the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport is expanding its use of pharmacoeconomic evaluation in informed reimbursement decision-making of new pharmaceuticals. Since June 2002, pharmaceutical companies have been invited to submit a pharma-coeconomic dossier with their reimbursement applications of innovative drugs. As of January 2005 submission of a pharmacoeconomic dossier is mandatory for all drugs claiming to have therapeutic value. Currently, several European governmental and non-governmental organisations are making efforts to harmonise pharmacoeconomic research guidelines at the EU level. Ultimately, this may facilitate a more efficient way of conducting pharmacoeconomic research and encourage the use of pharmacoeconomic data by national assessment agencies and governments. It is anticipated that international pharmaceutical companies will increasingly invest in pharmacoeconomics while government staff will become more experienced in appraising the dossiers, thus resulting in an upward momentum in the quality and usability of pharmacoeconomic data. From the Dutch government's perspective, the use of pharmacoeconomic evaluation in reimbursement decision-making should offer a true opportunity for pharmaceutical companies to present the added value for money of new drugs. Using pharmacoeconomic data, costs, benefits and effects of pharmaceuticals are increasingly being considered from a societal perspective, thus going beyond the sole consideration of the impact on the pharmaceutical budget.
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