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Market access for medical technologies in the Netherlands

A brief overview of key market access pathways and challenges for medical devices, in-vitro diagnostic tests in the Netherlands

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Key topics

There are two key themes describing market access for medical technologies in the Netherlands: 

  • Reimbursement: payment mechanism via the DRG system, supplementary payments via the so-called “other care products” (OZPs)
  • Funding: recommendations for coverage in the Basic Health Insurance by the Dutch Healthcare Institute 

The Netherlands does not have a stand-alone health technology assessment (HTA) framework; HTA is incorporated in the funding decision-making. 

The Netherlands has two innovative payment schemes for medical technologies (subsidy scheme for promising care and Small-scale experiments). 

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Reimbursement

All specialist (inpatient, day case, ambulatory) care within the same Major Disease Category (MDC) provided within a certain period (for most services – 120 days; for surgical procedures – 42 days) is covered via a single DRG payment.

The payment system consists of the following components:

Diagnosis-related groups

  • DRGs are determined by the combination of a procedure code (zorgactiviteit) and a diagnosis code. The procedure coding nomenclature and the DRG system are maintained by the Dutch Healthcare Institute (NZa) and released annually
  • Around 30% of DRGs have their maximum tariffs determined at the national level by the NZa. The reimbursement tariffs for other DRGs are negotiated between individual hospitals and insurance companies

Supplementary payments – “other care products” (OZPs)

  • Specialist services not reimbursed via DRG (as a stand-alone payment or in addition to the DRG payment), are referred to as the so-called “other care products”, OZPs
  • The OZPs are determined by the NZa as a part of the DRG package. There are five categories of OZPs, the key ones being Supplementary Products (reimbursement for expensive medication, stay in the ICU, on top of the DRG tariff), First-Line Diagnostics (diagnostic imaging and IVD tests, reimbursed on a fee-for-service when requested by a General Practitioner), and Optional Services (allows healthcare providers and insurers to create novel payment categories for well-established care)

The DRG system is approved annually.

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Funding

Major innovations typically need a positive coverage decision by the Minister in order to be covered within basic health insurance. This usually happens when a new procedure code is requested from the NZa. The foundation for the coverage decision is the position of the Dutch Healthcare Institute (ZIN), which uses HTA methodology to evaluate existing evidence to determine conformity of care with the “state of science and practice”.

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Specifics for IVD tests

In-vitro diagnostic tests provided in specialist settings are covered by the DRG tariff for the continuum of care. In-vitro diagnostic tests are reimbursed on a fee-for-service basis only if requested by a primary care physician (via the OZP mechanism).

MTRC has experience with more than 198 projects in the Netherlands

News and insights

05 Feb 2024

Dutch Healthcare Institute released the “Guideline for conducting health economic evaluations”

In January 2024, the Dutch Healthcare Institute (ZIN) published an update of the “Guideline for conducting health economic evaluations”.
29 Jan 2024

Dutch Healthcare Institute implemented the MedTech Horizon Scan

Dutch Healthcare Institute (ZIN) implemented the MedTech Horizon Scan to gain a better insight into the arrival of medical technological innovations).
23 Jan 2024

Dutch Healthcare Authority published draft release of the DRG package for 2025

On December 21, 2023, the Dutch Healthcare Authority (NZa) issued a draft release of the DRG package for 2025, including new procedure codes, new diagnosis codes, and several new DRGs. These changes concern gynecology, cardiology, gene therapy and other technology groups.

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