Prescribing incentive schemes ruled legal by European court

Prescribing incentive schemes do not breach European law, a judgement by the Court of Justice of the European Union has found.

The court judged that public authorities may offer financial incentives to induce doctors to prescribe cheaper medicinal products. But those authorities must ensure that the incentive scheme is based on non-discriminatory objective criteria. Authorities must also publish therapeutic evaluations relating to the scheme, the court said.

In February, the European Court suggested that prescribing incentive schemes could be illegal. The court argued that such schemes may breach EU directive 2001/83, which prohibits promotion of medicinal products by gift. A ruling had been sought following a case brought by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry against the MHRA.

The MHRA told Healthcare Republic it welcomed the judgement and was considering the implications of the ruling for prescribing incentive schemes.

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