General Question

orlando's avatar

How are medicines prescribed in the Netherlands?

Asked by orlando (627points) July 12th, 2014

If you live or have lived in the Netherlands, can you help me establish how medicines are prescribed over there?

I presume the doctors prescribe them to the patients, but as a patient, are you able to ask the doctor to prescribe another similar medicine (meaning change it)? Or ask a pharmacist to do it?

Also, do insurance companies have any say in it? For example in some countries generic drugs, must be prescribed if available, in other originals, etc. How is that sorted out in the Netherlands?

And are there any website’s where this is explained? Thank you!

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2 Answers

longgone's avatar

I sent this question to @whitenoise, who is Dutch.

whitenoise's avatar

At the moment I am not living in The Netherlands anymore, but this is how I remember it:

In The Netherlands, registered medical doctors may prescribe medicines.

There are two kinds of medicines: those needing a prescription and those that are available over-the-counter, to anyone.

The pharmacist will only provide the first category of medicines in exchange for a prescription by a registered MD.

The doctor may prescribe any kind of drugs, but in general will choose generic drugs, if available as a suitable choice.

Certain branded medicines will only be paid for by the insurance companies, for specific medical conditions/patients. In general, if a cheaper alternative is available, then that will be the product paid for by the insurance company.

Choice of medicine is made by doctor and pharmacist. The latter is also responsible for double checking that the patient knows how to use the medicines and check for counter indications with, for instance, other medicines taken.

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