What is new on 1 May?

Starting 1 May patients will have to pay a greater contribution towards the cost of antibiotics prescribed by their doctor. The price hike is intended to deter patients from using antibiotics so readily and from pressuring their GPs to prescribe the drug. Belgian use of antibiotics is among the highest in the industrialised world. GPs are being asked to consider alternatives before prescribing antibiotics.

In future patients getting immunotherapy to deal with lung cancer will have their treatment reimbursed from the public purse. The therapy increases patients' chances of survival as well as their quality of life. Immunotherapy is currently available to treat lung and skin cancers. The treatment is less intrusive than chemotherapy. Patients do not lose their hair and feel less sick and tired. Immunotherapy is more efficient with up to 45% of patients responding compared to only 28% for chemotherapy. Immunotherapy also stops the growth of tumors for longer.

The government's tightening up the rules for people offering consumer loans. Starting 1 May people providing consumer credit will have to apply for a licence from the financial watchdog, the FSMA. Applicants will also have to pass an exam successfully before they can make their application and follow financial and legal training. The watchdog reports that after a slow start it's receiving some 200 new applications each and every day. To date some 10,000 applications had been received.