The Reimbursement Committee and the Danish Medicines Agency have reassessed the reimbursement status of glucosamine-containing medicines. We have decided to remove the reimbursement for these over-the-counter medicines on 28 November 2011. Glucosamine is used for the alleviation of painful osteoarthritis. In the right-hand box, you can find a list of medicines containing glucosamine.
Background to the change
The decision has been made based on quite varying findings of clinical trials of glucosamine. I.e. it has not been proven that glucosamine has an effect that differs from that of placebo (pills without any effect). Therefore, the public sector will no longer provide reimbursement for this treatment.
Who is affected and how?
Around 140,000 patients in Denmark are prescribed glucosamine, and the reimbursement given amounted to DKK 60 million in 2010. These patients should consult their doctor to find out what to do. There is no risk involved in stopping treatment immediately. The Institute for Rational Pharmacotherapy has gathered some information about different treatment options (see the link in the right-hand box, in Danish only).
We have informed all physicians in Denmark of the reimbursement change, and we are going to ask pharmacies to inform their customers and to encourage the customers to consult their doctor to find out what to do. In the right-hand box, you can find the letter to doctors and the information sheet we have asked pharmacies to give to all customers who buy glucosamine on prescription (both are in Danish). The relevant scientific societies and patient organisations will also be informed of the decision.
In the box to the right, you can find the decision which the Danish Medicines Agency has sent to companies that hold a marketing authorisation for medicines containing glucosamine (in Danish only).