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Incentive driven pharmaceutical prescription is lawful, EU Court rules

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The European Court of Justice has ruled that public authorities may offer financial incentives to induce doctors to prescribe cheaper medicinal products. However, those authorities are required, first, to ensure that the incentive scheme is based on non-discriminatory objective criteria and, second, to make public, inter alia, the therapeutic evaluations relating to the scheme

The ruling comes after the High Court of Justice of England and Wales asked the Court of Justice whether the prohibition on financial incentives in the directive precludes the system applied in England and Wales.

To reduce public expenditure on medicinal products, the national public health authorities in England and Wales introduced schemes providing doctors with financial incentives to prescribe to their patients medicinal products cheaper than other medicinal products in the same therapeutic class. However, choosing cheaper medicinal products with a different active substance might, in certain cases, have adverse consequences for the patient. The prescription of statins, which are cholesterol reducing substances, is primarily at issue in this case.


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