Further cost-cutting measures in the public health insurance announced – new decree on class actions relating to health matters published
Please find below information on the French government’s recently published plans to further cut down the costs of the public health insurance as well as on a new decree that defines the conditions in order to bring class actions relating to health issues before the courts.
Last Friday (Sep 21st) the French government unveiled further cost-cutting measures for the public health insurance. The government’s proposed social security budget for next year will further lower spending on medicines and hospital care, with cuts amounting to €4.05 billion. Health Minister Marisol Touraine said the government is now expected to almost erase the social security’s now 15-year-old deficit by 2017. France’s health insurance fund, Assurance Maladie, is set to have a deficit of €4.1 billion this year and €2.6 billion next year, according to the government’s forecasts.
Savings shall come largely from pharmaceuticals: at least €1.4 billion of cuts are expected from lower prices, broader use of generic drugs, and various payback systems in place. Different prescription habits, restrictions in hospitals and greater use of outpatient care are further envisaged to achieve additional savings. The proposed social security budget will go through both houses of parliament in the coming weeks and will be voted by December.
On Tuesday (Sep 25th) a new French decree was published; it defines the conditions in order to bring a class action before the court in health matters.
Some lawyers have immediately indicated that they will be using the new provisions in order to act on behalf of patients suffering injuries allegedly due to Depakine. This product is prescribed to patients suffering from epilepsy or bipolar disorders. The French social affairs inspection agency IGAS estimates that between 2006 and 2014 some 425 to 450 babies suffered congenital birth defects or were stillborn following exposure to the drug.
This decree comes in line with last year’s French new health law – LOI n° 2016-41 du 26 janvier 2016 de modernisation de notre système de santé (1) – claiming to modernise the health system, taking into account longer life expectations, the progression of chronic diseases (diabetes etc) and social inequalities when it comes to access to care.