Opinion: A tip for Minister De Weever

POSTED: 02/13/12 7:37 PM

Our good Minister Cornelius de Weever is working on a national health insurance while – according to the Advisory Council – the 2012 draft budget does not contain a provision to make this happen, we’d like to draw his attention to some useful research that was done by the Dutch institute for responsible medicine use IVM. It’s handy to know that the Dutch have institutes for anything and everything, so there is no need for St. Maarten to re-invent the wheel.

IVM-director Rood Coolen van Brakel said in a TV-broadcast this weekend that it is possible for the Netherlands to make annual savings of €100 million ($131 million) on medication for the elderly.

The figure is an indication of what is possible and if proportionate savings are realized here our national health insurance system will benefit, and its users may possibly enjoy lower premiums.

The IVM proposes an obligatory annual medication checkup for elderly people. Based on the outcome of its research, the institute expects that such a checkup will result in significant saving, but also in health benefits for the elderly. It would also lead to less acute and expensive hospitalizations.

Pharmaceutical industry figures suggest that 800,000 people above the age of 70 in the Netherlands use daily five or more medicines. General practitioners routinely do not review repeat prescriptions and elderly people usually contract more ailments over time. This causes them to use even more medication, while it is unclear whether they really need to keep taking pills from earlier prescriptions.

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