IQWiG: Is Peter Sawicki too critical?

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Will Peter Sawicki from IQWiG be replaced on Wednesday because of his critical stance? On this Wednesday the board of the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) will meet to decide on a further five-year term of office for the institute director Peter Sawicki, who has been in office since 2004.

The independent and influential institute was set up by the red-green federal government to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of medical services. If IQWiG makes negative decisions, the costs for the service in question will no longer be covered by the statutory health insurance companies. These are of course serious economic decisions for the companies concerned that can lead to severe losses.

According to media reports, Peter Sawicki is a vehement but fair advocate of an assessment based on scientific criteria and evidence-based medicine.

According to a report by Spiegel Online, there is a paper called “Core demands on a black and yellow health policy” in which leading health politicians from the CDU parliamentary group advocate the reorientation of the institute and the replacement of Sawicki with a “more industry-friendly candidate”.

Shortly before the meeting of the board of directors and the decision, which is so important for the institute, new alleged misconduct of Sawicki keep surfacing. In the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" (FAZ) it is stated from a test report about which, according to Spiegel Online, confidentiality had been agreed between Peter Sawicki and the board members, that there should have been errors in accounting in the institute.

The board of the IQWiG consists of 2 representatives of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds, the general manager of the German Hospital Society (DKG), the chairman of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV) and the State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG), the Lower Saxony FDP politician Stefan Kapferer. According to Spiegel Online, DKG general manager and FDP member Georg Baum had already announced in advance that he “wanted to prevent Sawicki's contract extension”.

But there were also votes for Sawicki: Approx. 600 doctors wrote a petition to Federal Minister of Health Philipp Rösler and the IQWiG Board of Trustees, in which they agreed that Sawicki should remain. It is to be hoped that the board of directors will make a decision to ensure that IQWiG will continue to work properly and independently. (Thorsten Fischer, non-medical practitioner osteopathy, January 19, 2010)

For further reading

Billions in costs for health insurance companies? (

Internet presence of the IGWiG

The Spiegel Online articles here and here

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