50% of prescription drugs cheaper from next week

From Monday 1 April the price of half of all prescription drugs will fall. The Federal Government has imposed the price cut on the pharmaceutical industry. A number of drugs used to treat chronic complaints are among those that will become cheaper from next Monday. The patients’ organisation Flemish Patients’ Platform says that it is happy with the news.

A total of 2,500 medicines will become cheaper, some by as much as 70% from 1 April. Speaking in an interview in the dailies ‘De Standaard’ and ‘Het Nieuwsblad’, the Federal Health Minister Laurette Onkelinx (Francophone socialist) said that “This is the only way to keep the medicines accessible for everyone”.

A whole range of medicines are affected by the price cut, including those used for the treatment of chronic conditions such as diabetes and excess cholesterol. The price of a number of vaccines is also set to fall, as is the price of the contraceptive pill and several types of antibiotics.

The price cut should save patients a total of 10 million euro/year. The public purse that pays a large percentage of the cost of prescription drugs will also make savings as a result of the price cuts. Ms Onkelinx estimates that the Social Security Service will save around 89 million euro/year.

The Flemish Patients’ Platform is pleased with the measures.
The Platform’s spokeswoman Ilse Weeghmans told the papers that "We feel that it is very important that health care remains accessible and affordable.

People with chronic illnesses have a lot of expenses when it comes to medication. This is why we’re especially pleased that medication for chronic illnesses is to become cheaper.”