Drug Price Information and Cost-Consciousness of Physicians: Results of a Survey of Belgian General Practitioners
The Belgian Ministry of Public Health distributes an Independent Drug Formulary (IDF) on a 2-yearly basis. This formulary (called the Gecommentarieerd Geneesmiddelenrepertorium) is edited by a group of prominent experts in pharmacology, brought together by the Belgian Centre for Pharmacotherapeutic Information. It contains scientific information about all drugs marketed in Belgium; it also mentions the brand name, composition, package form, prices per package and reimbursement category. [The NHI reimburses drugs according to their reimbursement category. Drugs of category (a) are totally reimbursed. For pensioners, widows, orphans and invalids, the NHI reimburses 85%, 50% and 40% for drugs of categories (b), (c) and (cs) respectively; for other insured persons, the reimbursement percentages are respectively 75%, 50% and 40%. Drugs of category (d) are not reimbursed.] Daily drug costs and comparisons between those costs for similar therapies are not provided, however. There is also a brief comparison between the relative medical effectiveness of the drugs in similar therapeutic categories; price comparisons are absent, however. This formulary is sent, free of charge, to all Belgian physicians and pharmacists. Students in the last 2 years of their graduate studies also receive a copy.
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