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Discount contracts: changes in medication

Discount contracts: changes in medication

Statutory health insurers have to prepare new medicines

According to the German Pharmacists' Association (DAV), numerous statutory health insurers currently have to prepare for new medicines if they redeem their prescriptions in the pharmacy as usual. The reason is the newly negotiated discount contracts between the health insurance companies and the pharmaceutical manufacturers.

The discount contracts secure the individual health insurance company discounts on the nationwide pharmacy retail price for certain medicines from the respective manufacturers. According to the DAV, pharmacies are then obliged to dispense the discount medicinal product provided by the health insurance funds on prescriptions from the doctors, as long as this fulfills the desired purpose in terms of active substance, potency, pack size and approval for the area of ‚Äč‚Äčapplication. However, since the discount contracts are renegotiated around the cash register every two years, patients must regularly adjust to a new medication. According to the DAV, new discount contracts came into force at many health insurance companies in 2013 as well.

Changeover to medicinal products for millions of patients Due to the new discount contracts between health insurance companies and pharmaceutical manufacturers, numerous patients with statutory health insurance have to adjust to new pharmaceuticals, reports the German Pharmacists' Association. "Millions of patients have to be switched over and over again over the years when it comes to discount medicines," said DAV Chairman Fritz Becker. This leads in particular to "uncertainty in chronically ill people who know their medication very well." They appear to be suddenly given a new medication for no reason, even though the prescription says the same thing as before. Here, "only with pharmaceutical competence and great personal commitment (the pharmacist) can the patient's trust in their medication be restored", reports the Federal Association of German Pharmacist Associations (ABDA).

Changes to the discount contracts at the statutory health insurance companies have changed, among other things, the discount contracts of the IKK Classic, the company and guild health insurance companies, the Techniker Krankenkasse and the AOKen. At IKK Classic with its around 2.6 million members, new discount contracts were negotiated for 150 active substances as of January 1, 2013, and at the AOK association (around 24 million members) for more than 20 active substances, according to the Federal Association of German Pharmacists' Associations . At the Techniker Krankenkasse (8.2 million members), the new discount contracts for more than 20 active substances will apply from February 1st, and the new discount contracts for more than 150 active substances will also apply to company and guild health insurers (around eight million insured persons) from February in force. Since April 2007, the statutory health insurance companies have been able to negotiate a discount for medicines in direct negotiations with the pharmaceutical manufacturers. This saves the health insurance companies millions, but means regular changes for the patients. (fp)

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