The next Health Minister will have to find €1.4 billion extra to reimburse medication in 2024, according to the latest Monitoring Committee Report that was reviewed on Monday by De Morgen et Het Laatste Nieuws.
This disturbing information holds on one line in Table 95, Predictions for 2021 to 2024.
Drug costs are expected to increase by nearly 30% in the coming years to reach €6.6 billion in 2024. And in 2024, the bill for “pharmaceutical supplies” will have increased twice as fast as that of hospitals, three times faster than doctors’ salaries and six times faster than that of nurses. And this is not only due to an ageing population: drugs are increasingly expensive, De Morgen and Het Laatste Nieuws noted.
The pharmaceutical industry is on the verge of launching worldwide many new, particularly costly, therapies. However, it will probably take several years of observation before knowing if it was worthwhile to finance them. The Minister who will succeed Maggie De Block (Open VLD, Flemish Liberal Democrats) will have painful choices to make.
The current Minister of Health advises renegotiating a pact with the pharmaceutical industry. According to her, a pact enabled Belgium to save 1.1 billion euros in healthcare. But the budget got out of control and the pact was not up to expectations, according to the Court of Auditors.