Sawicki: Are there billions in costs for the insured?
If the head of IQWiG, Peter Sawicki, has to go in August, observers fear that the health insurance companies will have to reimburse expensive medicines with dubious benefits in the future. This could result in billions of euros in costs that fall back on the insured.
The background is that the head of the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG), Peter Sawicki, is now unlikely to get an extension of his employment contract, according to preliminary media reports. In the past, under the direction of Sawicki, the institute indirectly excluded some medicines and medical services from the health insurers' service catalog due to negative assessments regarding effectiveness and price. For the pharmaceutical or medical companies concerned, this sometimes meant a loss of several million euros.
In an interview with the newspaper “die tageszeitung” (taz) on January 19, 2010, Sawicki stated that, for example, at a court hearing last week, a judge had said that a price reduction brought about by IQWiG would be the case for a single drug , the company concerned cost 25 million euros. This meant savings for health insurers and their insured.
Until a few days ago, the media reported that the coalition agreement between the Union and the FDP had already stipulated that the institute should be reoriented. The work of the institute should focus more on Germany as a business location. In the future, this would mean that science would suffer. Under Sawitzki's leadership, the institute has earned an internationally recognized reputation for years because of its neutral expertise, which is underpinned by high scientific standards. This independent institution was introduced by the red-green federal government in order to carry out independent tests for quality and efficiency.
Interfering with politics in the work at IQWiG would, according to the media reports, destroy independence and thus damage international reputation. The term “industrial friendliness”, which is supposed to be behind the interference of politics, according to the big German gazettes, means that more money would be spent for more ineffective, more expensive medical services and medicines in favor of a company. What the health insurance companies (billions of euros for health insurance companies) and their insured would pay.
Link to health policy So far, the new Federal Minister of Health, Hanoverian Phillip Rösler from the FDP, has only drawn attention to himself by increasing costs at the expense of the insured and for the benefit of individual interest groups and industry.
The health policy of an elected government must be measured by an improvement in the care and quality of medical services (Hartz-IV health system) and a reduction in costs for the general public.
This also means that medical research institutions such as IQWiG can work independently and seriously according to scientific and not client-oriented criteria. It is not only in the medical field that this is what is really frightening about the new developments under the black and yellow federal government: We are moving away from well-founded content-related work towards an orientation that is characterized by purely individual interests.
Peter Sawicki will not have to leave in August because of “his lax and high-handed handling of company cars and expenses”, as the Handelsblatt logically writes. From August onwards, he will probably have to look for a new job because of a "normal" working attitude in the scientific field based on evidence-based principles. (Thorsten Fischer, naturopath osteopathy, January 21, 2010)
For further reading
Interview in the taz from January 19th, 2010 with Peter Sawicki