Medicine pricing explained
Last updated: 30 June 2021
In this article, you can find a breakdown of the total cost of a medicine we are supporting you to access in addition to resources on how you can possibly get it reimbursed.
Here is a breakdown of the costs that are included in the total price you receive from our support team:
1- The price of the medicine
The base cost of each medicine is set by the manufacturer. We take a small mark up the medicine so we can continue to operate and help as many patients as possible. Any profits we make go immediately back into the business to allow us to fulfil our mission. We source genuine medicines from their official manufacturers and suppliers, no matter where they are located in the world. This ensures that patients always get the prescribed medicine, in the right dosage, and for the best possible price, as quickly as possible. It is important to note that the price that is displayed on the website may sometimes vary due to factors like a patient’s location and medicine dosage and strength availability with our suppliers at the time of the order. Generally, our Named Patient handling fee, shipping costs and any tax (if applicable) are not included in the product price that is displayed on our website unless stated otherwise.
2- Our named patient fee
TheSocialMedwork provides access to medicines on the Named Patient import basis, which means that we work on behalf of the patient in cooperation with their treating doctor. We oversee the entire process of sourcing and delivering the medicine so the patient doesn't have to. Our Named Patient Service fee covers sourcing, logistics and following up to make sure that the order was received in good order (quick, from beginning till delivery).
With assistance from our team of experts and a global network of logistics partners, we support the patient and their doctor every step of the way.
The named patient fee is tiered relative to the cost of the medicine:
€1 - €1,479 = €147.50
€1,475 - €7,499 = €295
€7,500 - €12,499 = €395
€12,500 + = €495
3- The costs of shipping
Once an order is placed and is sourced from our network of suppliers, our patient support team then proceeds to ship it out to you. The shipping fees may include the shipping from our supplier to our partner pharmacy as well as the shipping costs to deliver the medicine to the patient’s country of residence. During the shipping process, your parcel is exported from its original country and imported into your country. We include all the necessary documents in the package. Some medicines need to be stored between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius. These are called “temperature controlled medicines”. This means that their shipment needs to be via an unbroken cold chain which incurs an extra fee.
4- Duties and taxes
Import taxes might apply to shipping medicines to the destination country. Import taxes normally consist of import VAT and a fee that customs may charge. Since these are different per country (in some countries, the import taxes might even be exempt for pharmaceuticals) and per customs office we often cannot calculate them in advance. Import taxes must be paid by the receiver. They are not included in our invoice. You can contact your local customs office to find out if they apply import taxes and how they can be paid.
Additionally, Dutch VAT is payable in two situations:
- If you are residing within the European Union and you are not a company
- If you are coming to Amsterdam to pick up your order
In case of pick up, you may be eligible for a VAT tax refund if you are not an EU citizen.
We can help you to get a VAT refund if you collect your order from our partner pharmacy in the Netherlands and you meet the following conditions:
- Your permanent residence is outside the European Union
- You take the medicines with you, unused within 90 days after purchase
- You have a full original invoice stamped by the tax free office at the airport (which we provide you)
Unfortunately, we are unable to help with VAT refunds following delivery or collection from our partner pharmacies outside of the Netherlands.
5- Paying for medicines
In some cases, patients are unable to pay for the medicine. They often wonder how they can get the medicine costs reimbursed. Here are some resources that may be applicable to your situation:
In some countries and even in individual cases, health insurance companies may partially or fully cover the cost of the medicine. We recommend checking this directly with your health insurance company.
Each health insurance company has their own procedures for submitting a request or claim. However, as a starting point, we recommend writing a letter to them outlining the following:
- That you want to import an approved medicine from abroad
- The lack of reasonable treatment options available in your country (if you can, include a letter from a doctor confirming this) - no alternative to the treatment.
- That the medicine has already been approved in another country (state the name of the country)
- That your treating doctor states that this medicine is the best option for you (include a copy of the prescription in the letter to the healthcare insurance company)
Some countries have a government fund providing financial assistance for citizens to access lifesaving medical treatment abroad. The best thing would be to check with your country's own health ministry.
We also highly recommend checking out local patient blogs, communities and patient organisations to find out more about your options.
Crowdfunding is a means of raising funds by using an online platform to group together many donations from friends, family and others, in order to help you afford a medical treatment. Here are some crowdfunding platforms where you can seek support: GoFundMe, FundRazr and Watsi.
We always strive for steady and stable growth. This is why we created a foundation that will provide financial assistance to the most vulnerable patients globally as soon as TheSocialMedwork is profitable.