“Far more users of the diet drug Saxenda than Zorginstituut expected”

ANP extension


The number of users of the diet drug Saxenda is much larger than the Zorginstituut, a government advisory body, had calculated, the CEO reports. The drug will be reimbursed from April 1 from the basic package for the treatment of people with severe obesity.

The Zorginstituut had calculated that around 250 Dutch people would use the medicine in the first year, but health insurer Zilveren Kruis alone reimburses around 3,500 patients for the medicine, the newspaper reported. Other insurers are also reporting that the number of users is higher than expected.

Lowered blood sugar

Saxenda is the first anti-obesity drug to be reimbursed from the basic package. It lowers blood sugar and is injected by patients in the thigh, abdomen or upper arm. It is only reimbursed if people participate in a so-called combined lifestyle intervention (GLI), in which they are helped with more exercise and healthier eating.

According to the journal, patients were initially not required to participate or only for a short time before being reimbursed for the medicine, but this was adequate. Someone with obesity must now participate in the program for at least a year before the drug is reimbursed.

The CEO obtained documents with an appeal to the Open Government Act. This showed that health insurers had already warned before Saxenda’s admission that the number of reimbursements would be higher than assumed by the Zorginstituut.

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