International Health News Briefing Archive

International Health News Briefing is a newsletter from the International Health Policy and Innovation program. Each issue contains summaries of health policy news in select countries, as well as updates on related Commonwealth Fund publications and events.

German Health Insurers Urged to Reward Members with Rebates

Germany's state health insurance system is continuing to realize record profits, posting a surplus of €2.7 billion in the first half of 2012. Federal health minister Daniel Bahr is urging all public insurers with big reserves to pay rebates to members.

New Secretary of State for Health Named

Jeremy Hunt, the former of secretary of state for culture, olympics, media, and sport, has replaced Andrew Lansley as health secretary in England.

Linking of NHS Patient Records Offers Greater Source of Information for Researchers

General practitioner offices have begun signing up to participate in the Clinical Practice Research Datalink, which will link National Health Service (NHS) patient records across general practitioners' offices, hospitals, and registries to give researchers access to data sets that follow patients throughout their lives.

NHS Foundation Trusts Required to Provide Drugs and Treatments Approved by NICE

National Health Service foundation trusts and the new clinical commission groups are now required to post online a list of all of the National Institute for Clinical Effectiveness–recommended drugs included in their formularies.

£1.5 million Set Aside to Expand Personal Health Care Budgets

The U.K. Department of Health has made £1.5 million available for a potential rollout of the personal health budget program now being piloted across the country.

U.K. Looks at Digital Technologies to Supplement Care and Streamline Care Processes

Mobile phone applications and other digital technologies are being increasingly adopted across the U.K. NHS joined in last spring by sponsoring NHS's "hack day," a contest in which doctors and developers competed together to create technology to improve health care.

Dutch Health Insurers to No Longer Pay for Expensive Medicines That Don't Cure Patients

The Dutch health minister has announced that health insurers will only pay for medicines that have a measurable effect on the patient.

Reduced Drug Spending in the Netherlands

Pharmacies in the Netherlands are expected to dispense €4.5 billion worth of drugs this year, down from €5 billion last year.

New Zealand to Improve Support for Vulnerable Children

The New Zealand health minister, along with the ministers for education and social development, has launched a new action plan to support vulnerable children that includes improving immunization rates.

Pharmac to Manage Hospital Medical Device Budgets

The New Zealand agency that manages the pharmaceutical budgets for local health boards will also begin managing hospital medical devices over the next few years.

Health Ministers' Report Urges Collaboration

A working group comprising all the Canadian provincial and territorial health ministers recently released a report detailing how the provinces and territories can work together to deliver better health outcomes more affordably.

Health Minister Defends Federal Government's Reduced Role in Health Care

Federal health minister Leona Aglukkaq recently defended the federal government's hands-off role in health care delivery, asserting that decision-making around health care is not a federal responsibility.

Preparing the Long-Term Care Workforce

As part of the Australian government's $3.7 billion Living Longer Living Better long-term care reform package, Minister for Ageing Mark Butler announced $10.2 million in funding for 26 projects to better prepare the workforce that provides basic care to older Australians.

Unprecedented $4 Billion Dental Care Reform Plan

Under a landmark $4 billion dental health reform package, children and disadvantaged adults will have better access to government-funded dental care.

New Initiatives in Mental Health Reform

Several consumer-centered mental health initiatives were recently announced as part of the government's $2.2 billion mental health reform package.

Australian Medicare Local Alliance Launched

The recent launch of the Australian Medicare Local Alliance, a new national body designed to lead the network of Medicare Locals, aims to provide Australians with more effective and cohesive primary care.