May 8, 2017

Belgians overrun small Dutch town for medication

Filed under: General,Health by Orangemaster @ 9:21 pm

Hulst, a village in the east of Zeelandic Flanders, commonly referred to as “the most Flemish city in the country”, is being invaded today by protesting Belgians from Antwerp who are upset at being overcharged for medication.

A Flemish doctor who mainly has poorer clients bussed some 400 Belgians to buy drugs such as tamsulosin and omeprazole. And the pharmacies in Hulst is used to these ‘tourists’, having hired extra personnel to deal with the Belgian visit, but also criticising the Belgian government for serving its people poorly.

To give you an idea, a packet of paracetamol is 6 euro (!) in Belgium and about a euro in the Netherlands. Then there’s antipsychotic drugs that cost 152 euro (!) in Belgium, while they cost 11 euro in the Netherlands. That’s insane.

Why are the prices so different? While the Dutch pay about 100 euro a month for basic health insurance (part of which is paid for by the government for poorer people), the Belgians pay 90 a year and get nailed when they have to buy medicine. Ineffective lobbying on the part of the Belgian government when it comes to bargaining with pharmaceutical companies is very much to blame as well.

Why did the Belgians visit this week? Because the Belgian government increase the statutory personal contribution on May 1.

(Link:, Photo by Tom Varco, published under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license)

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April 20, 2007

Headaches about headaches

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 5:25 pm

Forget those recent articles about Belgians pissed off at Dutch drug cafés being moved closer the Belgian border in the Southern province of Limburg. Now there’s a whole new reason for the Belgians to cross border shop: paracetamol. To protest against the high cost of painkillers in Belgium (4 to 5 times the Dutch price), the Flemish KWB (‘Christian Workers Movement’) has organised a bus trip on 21 April to the border province of Zeeland just to buy paracetamol. Even the mayor of Hulst, who will be welcoming the buses in more ways than one, will have maps and drinks ready for his Flemish visitors.


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