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Aletta Jacobs School of Public Health

Together for more healthy years
Aletta Jacobs School of Public Health
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The Junior Research Meet-up experiences of PhD researcher Bart Noort

Datum:21 maart 2019
Aletta's Talent Network
Aletta's Talent Network

A summary of the day by Bart Noort. Bart Noort presented during the first parallel session: 'Health care systems and decision making in health care. The title of Noort his presentation was: Collaborating within a bad marriage: the case of joint purchasing of expensive medicine. 

When I arrived at the Aletta Junior Research Meet-up in Het Kasteel, I immediately encountered other smiling young researchers, some new faces, but also several familiar ones. We were with a group of around 40 researchers with various backgrounds: from medicine, psychology and spacial sciences to linguistics and economics. The meet-up programme was diverse as well. Eva Corpeleijn started with a talk about lifestyle interventions and their impact on health. Although many people may know about ways to become healthy, actually quantifying this is not always straightforward and reveals interesting insights. Later during the day, Dimitris Ballas presented about levels of happiness around the world and what may explain differences between countries. During a real-life experiment he actually created some happiness by letting us share chocolates. The talk of Eva had clear impact as well: the plates with cake during the coffee brake remained pretty full. To prevent food waste I humbly decided to have two slices.

After the morning coffee break it was my turn to present about joint purchasing of expensive medicine. In this project, me and six master students studied how health insurers and hospitals try to join forces to achieve lower medicine prices. We were particularly interested in the influence of big pharmaceutical companies on this collaboration. We found several ways in which pharma appears to worsen the already tensed relationship between insurers and hospitals. Tricks like non-disclosure agreements or offering research opportunities to hospitals not only creates distrust between insurers and hospitals, it also lowers their sense of urgency and legitimacy to achieve fair medicine prices. With my fellow young researchers we had a good and open discussion. We for example wondered whether joint purchasing within a market-based system should be expected at all and what should be the role of the European Union?

What I especially appreciated during my own and the several other talks was the friendly atmosphere. That doesn’t mean you cannot be critical, we had good discussions, be it about methodology, definitions or interpretation. I think when being with researchers in the same phase of their career, it is easy to place yourself in each other’s position which gives a little extra to the scientific conversation.