Medicines Excitement In The Netherlands – New Health Minister Announces Firm Action On “Absurd” Medicines Pricing And Gets The European Medicines Agency 27/11/2017 by Intellectual Property Watch 1 Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) The views expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and are not associated with Intellectual Property Watch. IP-Watch expressly disclaims and refuses any responsibility or liability for the content, style or form of any posts made to this forum, which remain solely the responsibility of their authors. Reprinted with permission. For the full original post, see the Medicines Law & Policy blog. By Ellen ‘t Hoen The new Minister of Health of the Netherlands, Bruno Bruins, came in guns blazing when he put the pharmaceutical industry on notice and announced on 22 November to “change the rules of the game” to tackle, what he called “absurd” medicines pricing. Pharmacy scale He specifically told the Dutch parliament that he plans to “extensively explore” the use of compulsory licensing of patents of medicines that are too expensive. (See here for media coverage in Dutch). Compulsory licensing lifts the monopoly effect of a patent by allowing others to produce generic versions. The Dutch patent law provides for compulsory licensing, including for reasons of public interest, which presumably covers addressing “absurd pricing” of needed medicines. EU medicines regulations may stand in the way of the Minister’s plans when data exclusivity rules prevent the registration of the generic. For a detailed discussion of the need to ensure coherence in EU law on this matter see our paper here. He will also explore if he can authorise pharmacists to prepare medicines al lower cost for individual patients. The Minister follows the recommendations of the Netherlands Council for Public Health and Society, an official government advisory body, which published its report on eight November. The Council’s report – Development of new medicines: Better, faster, cheaper – outlines a number of actions the Dutch government can take to immediately address high drug pricing, including the use of compulsory licensing to strengthen the government’s position in price negotiations. The new Dutch government and the opposition seem to be aligned with each other on the need to take firm action to ensure access to new and expensive medicines. On 21 November three opposition parties presented their report on the pharmaceutical industry in which they recommend a series of measures aimed at lowering the price of medicines: A ban on the endless extension (evergreening) of patents. A National Medicines Research Fund, for independent medical research. Research priorities are determined by the government and not by the pharmaceutical companies. Preventing conflicts of interest between doctor and big pharma by restricting aggressive marketing and actively enforcing the advertising ban. Use of compulsory licenses as pharmaceutical companies refuse to lower absurdly high prices. Adaptation of the competition law and stricter supervision to better combat abuse of power Put an end to none transparent price negotiations. … Some commentators last week also warned that the firm stance from the Netherlands on high medicines pricing may jeopardize its chances of becoming the new home of the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The EMA has to leave London because of Brexit. Apparently, the Dutch plans to tackle high medicines pricing has had no such effect. In the same week, the EU Member States decided that the EMA would move to Amsterdam where it will continue its operations in March 2019 at the latest. Read the full post on the Medicines Law & Policy blog. Image Credits: Medicines Law & Policy Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related "Medicines Excitement In The Netherlands – New Health Minister Announces Firm Action On “Absurd” Medicines Pricing And Gets The European Medicines Agency" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.