Pharmacists struggling to explain increasing medicine changes to patients
Pharmacists are having a hard time explaining to patients why their medicine type or brand was changed, an increasingly common occurrence, according to research by De Monitor. Medicines are changed, for example, if a health insurer decides to reimburse cheaper medicines, resulting in patients switching to a generic brand.
"Every day I come across people that do not understand why they are getting a different medicine," Aris Prins, chairman of pharmacists' association KNMP, said to NOS Radio 1 Journaal. "They do not understand why they need to switch to another drug."
According to Prins, such a switch can create confusion and maybe even lead to health risks. "Especially when people have to take multiple drugs, it can be difficult to remember which drug to take when. When that changes too, it becomes very confusing."
While the active substance of the drug usually remains the same, the other substances can be different, Prins said. "As a result, patients may experience side effects that they did not have with the previous medicine."
Healthcare costs are increasing, and Prins understands that health insurers are saving wherever they can. "But we do not think it is responsible for everyone. Now we just spend too much time as pharmacist explaining to people that they have to change because of a health insurer. That is why something has to change: the balance is lost."