More cancer meds added to Dutch basic health insurance package

From September 1st the medicines durvalumab and abemaciclib will be covered by the basic health insurance package, Minister Bruno Bruins of Medical Care announced. Durvalumab is used to treat a specific form of lung cancer, abemaciclib is an approved treatment for certain forms of breast cancer.

Over the past months the Minister successfully negotiated a price with manufacturers AstraZeneca for durvalumab an Lilly for abemaciclib. The price agreements were not disclosed, at the manufacturers' request. Usually new medicines used in the hospital are admitted to the basic insurance package without any price agreements. But due to the expected high total costs for the two cancer medicines, the Minister first had to negotiate a lower price with their suppliers before they could be added to the basic package. 

"The fact that patients now have access to these medicines is good news. At the same time, it remains disappointing that this requires price negotiations, and that I can not make the result of those negotiations public", Bruins said. "The interests of the patient always come first for me. Therefore I in the end prefer a confidential agreement at a much lower price than no deal at all."