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Prescription drug prices


Competition in the pharmaceutical industry helps foster innovation and helps towards keeping prescription drugs affordable. ACM makes sure that drug manufacturers comply with competition rules. We tackle cartels, abuses of market power, or strategies aimed at restricting competition or at impeding market entry. After all, that type of behavior is harmful to consumers. Furthermore, we explain to hospitals, health insurers, and other market participants how they can combine forces when procuring expensive drugs. This is one of the keys to keeping the entire health care system (and not just prescription drugs) affordable and accessible. At the same time, we want to foster and stimulate innovation in the pharmaceutical sector, including the development of new drugs. Therefore, we consciously think of keeping innovation incentives in our oversight.


Keeping the costs of prescription drugs under control is the subject of a broader debate in society. ACM's oversight is nothing but a link in this chain. That is why we work together with other regulators in the health care sector, such as the Dutch Healthcare Authority (NZa), and with our fellow regulators abroad. We also engage in a dialog with stakeholders in the market to find solutions for any anticompetitive problem together.

Results of the consultation

For two weeks, visitors were able to share their thoughts on the topic of prescription drug prices on the dedicated website for the online discussion ( We received a total of 22 comments on our provocative statements regarding this topic. We also asked visitors to leave comments via Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. The comments show concern about the high drug prices. One of these concerns is whether the price of a drug is in proportion to its costs. In that context, some argue for more transparency from pharmaceutical companies regarding their pricing structures and the costs associated with research and development of these drugs. Others go further and believe it is necessary to impose price caps. These comments serve as relevant input in our approach to this topic.

Follow-up actions

In 2018 and 2019, ACM will focus on the following activities, among other activities:

  • Entering in a dialog with relevant market participants and other regulators in the health care industry;
  • Explaining our role in tackling market problems in the pharmaceutical sector;
  • Investigating possible anticompetitive problems, and finding effective solutions to these;
  • Providing education about the latitude market participants have when procuring prescription drugs collectively.