Reported by Chen Jun-Kai from Taipei
Drugs for diabetes have cost the NHIA NT$7.8 billion a year. As most of those drugs are hypoglycemic agents, the NHIA announced that a new reimbursement regulation has taken effect from May 1st to restrict the prescriptions of hypoglycemic agents. For patients with non-hereditary type II diabetes, the reimbursement for oral hypoglycemic agents will be limited to up to 4 types per prescription. This regulation affects about 2,300 patients. However, there are exceptions. This regulation does not apply to those whose conditions have been stabilized under the administration of more than 4 types of hypoglycemic agents.
According to the NHIA’s data, among the 1.3 million prescriptions of hypoglycemic agents issued in 2015, 42.5% of them contained just 1 variety, 33% contained 2 varieties, 15.3% contained 3 varieties, 2.1% contained 4 varieties, and 0.1% contained 5 or more varieties.
Huang Zhau-Jei, a section chief of the NHIA, expressed that NHIA reimburses NT$7.88 billion annually on drugs for diabetes, including oral drugs and injections. This new regulation is formulated by taking reference from guidance in other countries. This regulation can not only prevent diabetic patients’ renal function from deteriorating due to the concomitant use of multiple medicines, but also secure greater medication compliance.
The NHIA assures those whose conditions have been stably under control by the administration of more than 4 varieties of hypoglycemic agents that they are still able to get their usual medicines until further assessment by physicians suggesting a change of the prescriptions.