"I always find it touching when I enter the main hall of the Netherlands Cancer Institute and a patient is playing the piano. We are conducting important research into a serious condition. The drugs that we discover - here and in other institutes - are increasingly effective and expensive at the same time, swallowing up an ever larger part of the health budget. Our research group conducts extensive research into the cost-effectiveness and pricing of expensive medicines. During my PhD research, I investigated which strategies work best to bring down the purchasing price of cancer medicines using the literature and surveys, interviews, experiments, and computer modeling. In our experiments, we primarily focused on the effect of transparency on price negotiations and on Research & Development costs. The way the price of these drugs is determined during negotiations between European governments and pharmaceutical companies is kept secret. The costs of R&D are often not transparent either. Transparency about the costs of R&D would discourage investors, is the belief. However, our behavioral experiments showed that prices can drop without losing investments in R&D, as long as both the prices and the development costs are transparent. Interviews with experts also showed that joint purchasing of medicines with other European countries is important to them. The Netherlands is already actively involved in this area, but no empirical research has been conducted yet. I hope that my dissertation can help activate the political discussion so that we can keep healthcare accessible and affordable for all patients in the near future."
Nora will defend her thesis on July 15.
prof. dr. Wim van Harten
dr. Valesca Retel