Danish hospitals’ medicine expenses lower than expected

Dramatic projections sparked many uncomfortable discussions about the core values of Danish healthcare

Danish hospitals spent much less on medicine in 2015 than expected, reports Politiken.

Shortly before the General Election in June, the interest organisation Danske Regioner (Danish Regions) projected costs for hospital medicine would increase by 10 percent – some 700-800 million kroner.

Danske Regioner then wrote that “new and very expensive drugs are like a time-bomb for the healthcare economy”.

Completely off the mark
In reality, however, medical expenses only rose by 5.2 percent (375 million kroner) compared to the year before – a long way down on the historic average of 8.3 percent.

In total, Danish hospitals spent 7.53 billion kroner on medicinal drugs.

The Danish cancer society (Kræftens Bekæmpelse) wonders how Danske Regioner could have made such a mistake with its estimates.

Uncomfortable discussions
According to Leif Vestergaard Pedersen, the head of Kræftens Bekæmpelse, the wrong projections led to many uncomfortable discussions with patients not sure whether the state could afford to pay for their expensive medicine.

Danske Regioner has rejected claims it speculated over the medical costs to exaggerate the problem.

Kjeld Møller Pedersen, an expert in healthcare economy and politics at the University of Southern Denmark, believes “the new figures may ease the pressure” on hospitals budgets.

Last August, Danish regions received a billion kroner boost to cover the costs of medicine and to increase capacity at hospitals.