The minute advances of health policy in the developing countries and the cost explosion which has hit the health services in the industrialized countries have created an urgent problem. The main culprit is often thought to be the “common-burden principle” which most states apply to the financing of their health services. Possible alternatives are the “user principle” which is more in line with market methods and the “originator principle” which is known from its use in the environmental sphere and is now also being discussed in the health sector. It could be applied to products which are injurious to health (cigarettes, sweets) and harmful production processes (piece-work, water pollution). The author examines the possibilities of curbing health-care spending and drawing nearer to health-policy aims by turning away from the “common burden principle”.