Evaluation of the NIPT subsidy scheme
We evaluated the subsidy scheme for the non-invasive prenatal test (NIPT) for pregnant women for the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. The subsidy scheme expires on 1 April 2023. Based on our evaluation, our recommendations include starting preparations for a new scheme on time, taking into account future procurement deadlines and ensuring that NIPT becomes and remains available to everyone in the Netherlands.
In the Netherlands, pregnant women have the option of having their unborn child screened for Down, Edwards or Patau syndrome in the first trimester of pregnancy. In addition to the combination test, the NIPT has been available for this purpose since April 2017.
Three university medical centres (umc’s) offer this test to pregnant women as part of the TRIDENT-2 study (research setting). Pregnant women pay part of the costs themselves and there is also a subsidy scheme. Both the TRIDENT-2 study and the subsidy scheme expire on 1 April 2023. Political decision-making is needed on continuing to offer NIPT from April 2023, including how. The results of our evaluation are input for decision-making.
Among other things, our evaluation showed that the subsidy scheme enables umc’s to perform NIPT and that the scheme thereby offers equal choice to pregnant women with Dutch health insurance for the combination test, or NIPT. Both the applicants (umc’s) and the Department for Implementation of Subsidies to Institutions (DUS-I; the executor of the scheme) are postive about the scheme. The relatively simple concept makes application, monitoring and justification easy to carry out. A number of issues offer opportunities for efficiency optimisation.
View the full research report (in Dutch). For more information, contact Annejet Kerckhaert.