Dutch health insurance body questions use of expensive drugs

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The Dutch supervisory board for medical insurance (CVZ) wants insurers to stop paying for expensive medicines used to treat two rare illnesses. The advice is contained in confidential recommendations from the CVZ to the Health Minister obtained by Dutch broadcaster NOS.

The move would affect sufferers of Pompe disease and Fabry Disease, both chronic illnesses requiring lifelong medication. The annual cost of treatment for a patient with Pompe is between 400 and 700 thousand euros, and 200 thousand for a Fabre patient.

There are around 400 Fabry and 115 Pompe sufferers in the Netherlands. The costs of their treatment are currently fully covered by health insurance.

The CVZ is a government body responsible for overseeing the delivery of health care by insurers. This is believed to be the first time it has suggested withdrawing coverage for expensive medicines used for rare illnesses.

The Health Minister will make a final decision on the advice later this year.