Client Alert Client Alert

Life Sciences Bulletin: New public foundation to oversee exceptional drug funding in Hungary as of 2025

Commencing in 2025, the Batthyány-Strattmann László Foundation will assume the responsibility of managing applications for exceptional drug funding in Hungary. The foundation itself will receive its annual funding from the government, in accordance with the latest amendment to Act LXXXIII of 1997 on compulsory health insurance benefits.

This represents a significant change to the management of exceptional drug funding. Through this transition, the government aims to streamline the application process by making it more efficient and responsive to patients’ needs. The expectation is that the new system will ensure timely and adequate support for patients requiring specialised treatments, reducing delays and improving outcomes.

Currently, patients in Hungary can apply as individuals for funding of medicinal products or medical aids that are not subsidised by the social security system when no alternative treatments exist. These applications are meticulously reviewed by an expert committee from the National Health Insurance Fund (NEAK) based on stringent criteria. Upon approval, NEAK provides financial support for the medicinal product or medical aid, ensuring that patients receive the necessary treatment without bearing the financial burden.

By outsourcing the funding of medicinal products supported under special consideration, there is a chance that the government will expand the range of active substances and therapies within the indications that are eligible for reimbursement. If this were to happen, it could prove to be a great opportunity for pharmaceutical companies and also beneficial for patients.

However, the pharmaceutical industry fears that initial inefficiencies and delays during the transition would impact the timely processing of applications and access to medicines. Furthermore, relying on annual government funding would affect the foundation’s ability to provide consistent financial support. The industry is afraid that losing specialised medical expertise as part of the application evaluation process will affect the quality of assessment and decision-making efforts and that  accountability and transparency would decrease compared to NEAK’s standards.