What does the survey comprise?
To provide figures on persons to whom medicines are dispensed that are reimbursed under the statutory basic medical insurance, according to characteristics of persons to whom the medicines have been provided.
Persons to whom medicines are dispensed in the year under review that are reimbursed under the statutory basic medical insurance. This includes all persons registered in the Personal Records Database (BRP) in the year under review. Until 2010 the figures also included medicines dispensed to persons registered in the BRP, but not resident in the Netherlands. Persons receiving medicines in hospitals and in nursing homes are not included; those receiving medicines in residential homes for the elderly are included.
Year survey started
Data are available from 2006 onwards.
Information on the (absolute and relative) proportion of persons with dispensed medicines is available from 2006. Information on the quantity dispensed (expressed in WHO-defined daily doses, DDDs) is available from 2020.
The figures are published yearly in several StatLine tables. Figures for the most recent year under review are provisional. Figures for the other years are definite, unless stated otherwise in the table explanation.
How is the survey conducted?
Combination of data from registrations: Health care insurance companies supply data to the National Health Care Institute (Zorginstituut Nederland) about all dispensed medicines per person that are reimbursed under the statutory basic medical insurance. This registration is used for risk settlement (RVE-files) and is available from 2006. It is a dataset with complete coverage and almost completely linkable with the BRP through the pseudomised personal social security numbers (BSN). The classification into medicine groups according to the ATC system of the WHO and information about the daily dose (DDD), also defined by the WHO, is based on the G-Standard, the medicines database of the Royal Dutch Pharmacists Association (KNMP), which is provided by Z-Index.
Datasets from registrations are delivered electronically to Statistics Netherlands via a trusted third party (ZorgTTP).
The National Health Care Institute receives from health care insurers data about all dispensed medicines per person that are reimbursed under the statutory basic medical insurance.
The classification by medicine groups on the basis of article codes is provided by Z-Index of the Royal Dutch Pharmacists Association (KNMP).
Municipalities in the Netherlands supply data from the BRP to Statistics Netherlands.
Checking and correction methods
Data from the National Health Care Institute are checked in terms of completeness, plausibility and consistency. Other data sources and figures for previous years are also used for this.
Quality of the results
Data are based on a complete registration. The accuracy of the statistic depends on the accuracy of the registration. Almost all data originate from electronic systems of public pharmacies.
The production process for the statistics has been comparable from 2006 onwards. Until 2010 the figures also included medicines dispensed to persons registered in the BRP, but not resident in the Netherlands. The impact of the demarcation from 2010 onward is however small. Over time, there may also be changes in the resources reimbursed by the basic insurance. These changes are nationwide. This may affect the comparability of dispensed medicines over time. In addition, it occasionally happens that the WHO decides to allocate medicines to a different ATC group or to add a new ATC code, which may also affect comparison over time.
In 2022, Statistics Netherlands switched to a different classification for the background characteristic 'origin'. However, figures for individual countries differ minimally in the old and new classification.
Specification of quality strategy
The results of statistical research are only published after they have been assessed for plausibility and, if necessary, after adjustments, have been approved. The following checks were performed to determine the plausibility of the results:
- Time series analysis (consistency over time);
- Key figure analysis (relationship between variables);
- Confrontation with results from other sources, such as SFK (Dutch Foundation for Pharmaceutical Statistics) and the Drug Information System of the Health Care Insurance Board (GIP database).