Reimbursement list changes summarised by Health Ministry

The Health Ministry has published a summary of the changes made to the list of reimbursed medicines on 1 May. 70 products (EAN codes) were added to the list, including 50 to the pharmacy list, 16 to drug programmes and four to the chemotherapy list. 53 products were removed.

With respect to the general pharmacy list, the most important change is the addition of Candezek Combi, a combination drug of candesartan and amlodipine for hypertensive patients. It is the first candesartan and amlodipine combination to be included on the list. Eight presentations of the drug are now reimbursed as a replacement therapy for adult primary hypertension patients in whom blood pressure was well-controlled with candesartan and amlodipine co-administered at the same doses.

A lot of additions were also made to the S-list, i.e. free drugs for persons aged 75 years and over. They represent a total of 22 limit groups. The Ministry highlighted additions in two areas in particular: low molecular weight heparins and asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Changes were also made to drug programmes, especially in oncology. Despite protracted work aimed at unifying the provisions of the Non-small lung cancer drug programme (ICD-10 C 34), a comprehensive approach to treating this condition has been worked out. Two innovative treatment options were added to the ICD-10 C 34 programme, namely pembrolizumab (trade name Keytruda) as a first-line treatment and nivolumab (marketed as Opdivo) as a second-line treatment for squamous NSCLC.

Opdivo is also one of two innovative treatment options added to the kidney cancer programme ICD-10 C 64, the other being cabozantinib (Cabometyx). It was also added to the recurrent and resistant non-Hodgkin lymphoma programme (ICD-10 C 81).

Furthermore, new treatment options were added to the ulcerative colitis programme ICD-10 K 51 (vedolizumab, trade name Entyvio), the Parkinson’s disease programme ICD-10 G 20 (apomorphine hydrochloride, trade name Dacepton), and a new programme was created, “B.99 Treatment of acromegaly with pasireotide ICD-10 E 22.0”, that will reimburse treatment using a next-generation somatostatin analog called pasireotide in patients for whom all the currently reimbursed treatment options failed.