Health Care Life Sciences


The healthcare sector is under pressure. Due to an ageing population and smarter but more expensive treatment methods, costs are increasing, while further rises in healthcare spending are frowned upon. That is why the government has introduced regulated market forces, which means that on the one hand healthcare institutions are deemed to be competing on portfolio choices, quality, price and financing and are dealing with directors’ liability and competition rules. On the other hand, they are heavily regulated in areas such as profit distribution, procurement, remuneration and governance. This interplay requires both medical and organisational creativity.

Focus, economies of scale, innovative healthcare and new forms of financing offer viable solutions for healthcare directors. Houthoff’s Healthcare Team understands these developments. Time and again, we demonstrate our significant added value when it comes to dealing with the healthcare sector. Our Healthcare Team comprises more than 20 legal specialists who know both their own area of specialisation (such as competition law, regulations, governance, M&A, financing, privacy or labour law) and the healthcare sector inside out. If necessary, they can also rely on the expertise of Houthoff’s 280 other specialists. The Healthcare Team advise institutions on matters such as cure and care, healthcare insurers and investors.

  • "They do not just advise on problems but also offer solutions."
    Chambers Europe, Healthcare (2019 Edition)
  • “Houthoff is noted for its ‘excellent knowledge of the insurance market and healthcare sector’ and has an impressive roster of hospital clients.”
    Legal 500, Healthcare & life sciences (2019 Edition)
  • First Tier firm
    Legal 500, Healthcare & life sciences (2019 Edition)
  • "One client emphasises the team's service level, highlighting the lawyers' 'diligence, speed, creativity, availability and willingness to go above and beyond for the client'."
    Chambers Europe, Healthcare (2018 Edition)
  • "They are very thorough and keep their timing promises."
    Chambers Europe, Healthcare (2018 Edition)
  • First Tier firm
    Legal 500, Healthcare & life sciences (2018 Edition)
  • "The ‘outstanding’ team at Houthoff, which specialises in healthcare, provides ‘fast, sharp, clear’ advice."
    Legal 500, Healthcare & life sciences (2018 Edition)
  • First Tier firm
    Legal 500, Healthcare & life sciences (2017 Edition)
  • "Broad range of expertise, handling contentious and non-contentious trade mark, patent and copyright issues, with a particularly strong focus on the pharmaceutical, automotive and media industries."
    Chambers Global, Intellectual Property: General (2017 Edition)

Our expertise on healthcare

An important part of our work comprises assisting healthcare institutions with complex strategic reorganisations. This may involve mergers, joint ventures, acquisitions, or divestments. The involvement of lawyers and civil-law notaries from different disciplines ensures that the process is carefully managed, in close consultation with the client. Whether it concerns notifying the Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets or the Dutch Healthcare Authority, complex collaboration agreements, applicable healthcare legislation or the structuring of management and supervisory bodies, our Healthcare Team provides pragmatic and solid solutions. The team assisted with the complex horizontal merger between the AMC and VUmc university hospitals, and with many other hospital mergers (including in Rotterdam, Tilburg and Haarlem/Hoofddorp).

The Healthcare Team also assists new market entrants. An example of this is the advice they provided to an insurer that is set to enter the Dutch health insurance market in 2018. By involving specialists on the Dutch Financial Supervision Act, the Act on the Capping of Executive Salaries (WNT), and Dutch healthcare legislation together with experts on corporate governance structures, the Healthcare Team’s multi-disciplinary approach proved its worth.

Our multi-disciplinary Healthcare Team is actively involved in the public debate on the healthcare of the future. Our specialists provide valuable input on the major challenges facing the healthcare sector, whether this be at macro-level or at the level of one or more individual providers. Our Healthcare Team offers practical solutions that help improve healthcare.
  • Houthoff assisted the AMC and VUmc hospitals in obtaining the required approval from the Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) for an administrative merger. The approval enables the two Amsterdam-based university medical centres to cooperate on patient care, research, education and training without limitation. This will create the biggest university medical centre in the Netherlands.
  • Advised Symphony Technology Group on the sale of quCare Solutions to NEXUS.
  • Advising Boer & Croon on the enforcement of the Executives' Pay (Standards) Act in relation to the placement of interim managers in healthcare institutions through the intermediary services of Boer & Croon.
  • Advising Leger des Heils on the settlement in relation to the material control performed by Achmea in which Achmea claimed that parts of the medical treatments were wrongfully charged.
  • Advising ONVZ Zorgverzekeraar on the transfer of certain care services to the Healthcare Insurance Act per 1 January 2015 and the negative financial impact of this transition (approximately € 8 million). ONVZ will demand compensation for loss resulting from administrative acts from the Ministry of Health, Welfare & Sport.
  • Successfully representing Rotterdam's Erasmus University Medical Centre, one of the largest and most authoritative scientific University Medical Centres in Europe, in summary proceedings before the Rotterdam interim injunction judge against a spin-off company about the licensing and development of software for laboratory information management and the early detection of hospital-acquired infections (HAI's).
  • Assisted the two Amsterdam university hospitals, AMC and VUmc, in obtaining regulatory approval for their anticipated merger from the Dutch health care authority, NZa. The NZa granted its approval on July 14. Following this approval from the NZa, the university hospitals will notify their intended transaction to the Dutch competition authority ACM.
  • Houthoff acted on behalf of De Viersprong, a highly specialised mental healthcare institute (GGZ) employing over 300 people, in its successful standstill and turnaround negotiations with its financiers, institutional creditors, the WFZ (healthcare guarantee sector fund) and the relevant health care insurers.
  • Advising on the governance of Martini Ziekenhuis and its Medical Specialists, including advice on the legal structure and setting up cooperation agreements between the Medical Specialists and the Board of the Hospital.
  • Dutch hospitals are introducing new IT systems for Electronic Health Records on a large scale. The IT team currently assists two other hospitals in drafting and negotiating their EHR contracts.
  • Representing the French medical device company Biobank in patent litigation proceedings, relating to both validity and infringement of its patents relating to a process for preserving and regenerating human bone.

  • Medical Centers of Amsterdam, Academisch Medisch Centrum and VUmc, in an unprecedented merger case, to obtain merger clearances from the Dutch competition authority and the Dutch health care authority. The merger would combine a total of ~15.000 health care practitioners, researchers and teachers into the largest academic medical centre of the Netherlands, and one of the largest in Europe. The merger inter alia requires the split off of Vumc from the Free University of Amsterdam.
    A particular feature of the merger is that it is based on an integration of the boards of the public legal entity AMC and the private legal entity VUmc. As the Minister of Education, Culture & Science appoints the supervisory board of AMC, an unprecedented governance structure was designed to guarantee both an integrated supervisory and executive between AMC and VUmc and sufficient independence from the Minister for the medical centers.
  • Representing a leading company in the field of self care pharmaceuticals in various cases before the Dutch Health Care Inspectorate and before the Dutch courts against the Medicines Evaluations Board.
  • Representing the Italian (veterinary) pharmaceutical company Innovet (part of Epitech Group) in patent litigation proceedings, relating to both validity and infringement of its patent relating to pharmaceutical compositions containing micronized compounds.
  • Representing a subsidiary of the Royal Dutch Pharmacists Association before a Dutch court against YO Medical B.V. regarding the reimbursement of the costs for specific medical devices by health care insurers.
  • Advising on the establishment of internet pharmacies including various regulatory and competition aspects of internet sales of pharmaceutical products.
  • Advising pharmaceutical wholesale companies on various regulatory aspects of the distribution of pharmaceuticals and medical devices including the notification, packaging/labelling requirements and CE-marking.
  • Advising counsel to Bioton S.A. in commercial contract negotiations regarding global pharmaceutical company.
  • Advised iptiQ Life, a Swiss Re subsidiary, on its access to the Dutch healthcare insurance market. Our advice included advice on compliance with regulatory requirements and specific health care regulatory compliance.
Weyer VerLoren van Themaat

Key Contact

Advocaat | Partner
+31 20 605 61 83
+31 6 5365 5833
Marry de Gaay Fortman

Key Contact

Advocaat | Partner
+31 20 605 61 65
+31 6 5375 8942