ACM has launched a sector inquiry into anti-rheumatic drugs


The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has launched a sector inquiry into TNF inhibitors, a type of drug mainly used to treat rheumatism. TNF inhibitors are, in the Netherlands and globally, a type of prescription drug with the highest costs for both hospitals and patients. This is due to the relatively high prices of these drugs combined with the large number of patients using them. Besides TNF inhibitors, ACM will also look into potential alternative drugs. Bart Broers, director of ACM’s Healthcare Department, adds: "We've noticed that the prices for these medications seem to remain relatively high, even though numerous alternatives for patients are available on the market. Which raises the question: how does competition on this market function? That is a reason for us to look into this."

What does the sector inquiry entail?

In its sector inquiry, ACM will look into what choices between different alternatives (their active ingredients) prescribers have, and into the competitive landscape once a drug's patent has expired.  ACM will request information from hospitals, health insurers, purchasing groups, patient groups, and pharmaceutical companies, among other market participants. This will concern information regarding prices and volumes, compensations, discounts, substitutability, and prescription behavior in order to find out how this market functions.

The results may lead to specific recommendations to market participants and/or policymakers. They may also lead to follow-up research, for example into possible competition-related abuses.

What other activities does ACM do with regard to prescription drugs?

The topic of "Prescription drug prices" is high on ACM’s agenda. Competition in the pharmaceutical industry contributes to innovation and the affordability of prescription drugs. ACM ensures that producers of prescription drugs comply with competition regulations.

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