Thyroid drugs are expensive

Patients must add on every other thyroid medication

Berlin - The regulations for those with statutory health insurance provide for additional drug payments of a maximum of ten euros per drug noted on the prescription. But time and again, patients in the pharmacy experience that they also have to pay so-called additional payments. They come about when the pharmaceutical manufacturers do not lower their drug prices to or below the fixed amount stipulated by the health insurances. The insured then have to pay the difference between the fixed amount - i.e. the maximum reimbursement limit by the health fund - and the drug price out of their own pocket.

As reported by the pharmacy industry service adhoc, citing figures from the market research company IMS Health, last year patients had to pay these surcharges for 33 million packs - the additional costs for the insured totaled 115 million euros.

According to IMS Health, some product groups were disproportionately affected: For example, patients with preparations for thyroid diseases with the active ingredient L-thyroxine had to pay the difference out of their own pocket for every second pack. The reason: In April 2014, the health insurance companies reduced their reimbursement level. However, the market leader Sanofi and other manufacturers did not lower their prices to the specified limit.

According to the pharmacy, the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds pointed out to adhoc that the amount of the fixed amount complied with the legal criteria, so insured persons would have access to additional care free of charge if they switched to another product.

© hil / aerzteblatt.de