The Norwegian Medical Association has responded that doctors can be fined personally if they prescribe medicine on a blue prescription on the wrong basis.
Now they believe they have gained a foothold in talks with Minister of Health and Care Services Ingvild Kjerkol.
– We therefore encourage doctors to resume general prescribing of blue prescriptions, says Anne-Karin Rime, president of the Norwegian Medical Association, in the press release.
– The Minister of Health has answered us. Based on her letter and direct dialogue with the Minister, extensive contact with all parties in the Storting and not least the broad support we have received from patient organizations, we are now confident that the controversial fee scheme will be reconsidered. We have broad political support for our view, says Rime.
From 1 January, the Norwegian Directorate of Health introduced an infringement fee for health personnel if they prescribe medicines, food or medical consumables on a blue prescription in violation of the rules. The fee could be up to NOK 212,789.
Blue prescription means that the state pays for the medicines for patients with chronic diseases.
Would get worse in the long run
– For us, it is a matter of principle. If the Norwegian Medical Association had not taken this fight now, it would eventually be worse for both doctors and patients, Rime believes and adds:
– No doctors should risk being fined, Rime points out, and refers to the process the ministry is now initiating to revise the regulations.
It was a unanimous Storting that in 2019 approved the amendment to the law that authorizes the violation fee, after the Office of the Auditor General in 2015 pointed out that there was a need for more sanction options against doctors who violate the blue prescription scheme.
The previous government approved the current regulations, but Minister of Health and Care Services Ingvild Kjerkol (Labor Party) was able to state in a letter to the Norwegian Medical Association on Wednesday that she wanted to change the regulations.
– I want to start a process to change the regulations and guidelines, so that we can create a sense that no doctors will be charged under normal circumstances, she stated.
Requires legislative change
Parliamentary representative André Skjelstad in the Liberal Party, on the other hand, believes that a change in the regulations and guidelines is not enough, and that a change in the law is needed.
– I think a unanimous Storting slept in the hour when this was adopted, and was not aware of what what they adopted would really mean. The consequence of the regulations that were introduced is that it is now up to vulnerable patients to apply for reimbursement for their medicines. I do not think we politicians need to put that burden on those who are in pain, he says to NTB.