Dutch Health Min. investigates shady EU drug pricing

Edith Schippers (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl/Wikimedia Commonst). (Edith Schippers (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl/Wikimedia Commonst))

Health Minister Edith Schippers is investigating possibilities on limiting the power of the pharmaceutical industry's power on drug pricing in the European Union, she said in an interview with newspaper Trouw.

The Minister wants to put an end to the secrecy about drug prices, which results in EU Member States not knowing what the others are paying for a particular medicine. Last week a study revealed that cancer fighting drugs cost much more in the Netherlands than in other EU countries, for example.

Schippers told the newspaper that it is crazy that pharmaceutical companies "know exactly what they are getting as price in all countries, while we, the individual countries, not know what the others are paying. We all sign a confidentiality agreement".

She also aims to address some of the constructions that pharmaceutical companies in the EU use to protect their expensive medicine and to simplify the procedures for getting a new drug authorized.

Schippers is presenting her plans to the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament, on Wednesday. She will present them to her European colleagues during the Dutch Presidency of the European Union in the first six months of next years.