GD press release concerning the consequences of the Health Care Reform
additional expenditures for patients suffering from chronical skin diseases
Associated with the Health Care Reform effective since 1 January 2004, the
supply situation of patients affected by neurodermatitis, psoriasis, non-healing
wounds and other chronical skin diseases has considerably deteriorated.
The patients have to pay a large part of the medicaments out of their own
pockets. Pursuant to first analyses, the part of the self-payments amounts
to annually up to 2,500 Euro per patient according to type and severity
of the disease. This explanation has been given by the GD Gesellschaft für
Dermopharmazie on the occasion of its opening of the 9th Annual Meeting
in Vienna on 14 March 2005.
"Main reason for the financial additional burden is that well proven
basic therapeutics for treatment, such as for example urea preparations
are no longer paid for by the compulsory health insurance funds. But also
extra-payments for rehabilitation benefits and ambulant treatments have
remarkably increased", stated the head of the GD department Dermatotherapy
professor Dr. Matthias Augustin from the University Clinic Hamburg-Eppendorf.
Current one-year figures were presented for the first time at the GD's Annual
Meeting in Vienna proving a significant shift in the dermatological drug
sector. While the entire turnover for medicaments in Germany rose once again
by 0.6 percent to 20.2 billions compared to the previous year, it decreased
by 8.6 percent to 558.1 million Euro for dermatics in the same period. Not
even half of this amount, exactly 263 million Euros has been financed by
the compulsory health insurance funds after all 24.3 percent less
than in the year 2003. The considerable balance had to be borne by the patients
Every sixth person pays
more than 100 Euro per month himself
The situation aggravated drastically due to the legal reorganization
in such a way that over-the-counter drugs are no longer paid by the health
insurances. This regulation affects in fact all dermatological diagnoses
thus affecting approximately 15 to 20 million persons. This situation is
particularly difficult for many persons concerned with chronical skin diseases
who are in permanent need of so-called basis therapeutics: every sixth patient
suffering from psoriasis pays 100 Euro and above from his own pocket, persons
suffering from neurodermatitis on average 94 Euro per month for their own
Patients suffering from skin diseases are heavily financially
burdened by the Health Care Reform which took effect in January 2004.
One of the main reasons is the discontinuation of the reimbursement
of non-prescription drugs by the compulsory health insurance funds.
These additional financial expenses have to be borne by the persons affected
without upper limit as non-prescription drugs may not be imputed on the
extra-payment limits of two respectively one percent at chronical diseases.
"This is no longer affordable by most people", explains professor
Augustin, "every fourth person is financially no longer in the position
to bear the increased co-payment for the treatment costs".
Patients protract or even
Whether the original objective of the Health Care Reform to reduce
costs for the compulsory health insurance funds can be realized by means
of these measures is more than questionable in the opinion of the GD Gesellschaft
für Dermopharmazie: owing to the high financial burden, many patients
discontinue their therapy or delay the purchase of new required drugs. Professor
Augustin: "this attitude entails an aggravation of the disease pattern
and thus higher costs in the further frequently stationary provisioning
of many skin patients which then creates a major drawback for the health
The GD advocates the refunding of urgently required basic therapeutics by
the compulsory health insurance funds in view of the high financial burden
of many skin patients and consequently the social grievance associated.
Moreover, the development of new, innovative medicaments as for example
the "Biologicals" for psoriasis is of particular importance: "on
the one hand first of all they give rise to additionally increased costs",
according to professor Augustin. "On the basis of their special effectiveness
and the increase of the quality of life associated they could however, in
the long-term process contribute to a reduction of the consequential costs
respectively disease burden."