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The great Greek “party” with pharmaceutical expenditures

26 February 2012 / 19:02:43  GRReporter
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The billions of euro spent in over 10 years for pharmaceutical expenses contributed significantly to the financial catastrophe of Greece.

Greece is the champion of Europe in excess consumption and prescribing medications, and government spending in this area from 2.4 billion euro in 2004, reached in 2009 the amount of 5.28 billion euro.

At the same time Belgium, which has almost the same population as Greece, has spent only 2.5 billion euro, an amount equal to the one which Greece should reach in 2012, according to the requirements of the Troika.

It is a very indicative fact that pharmaceutical expenditures in the Social Insurance Institute (IKA) have increased since the year 2000 by over 400%, bearing in mind that in 2009 they reached 2.4 billion euro. Accordingly, in the Insurance Institute of farmers (OGA) expenses in 2009 increased to 1.2 billion euro from 279 million in the year 2000.

In 2009 total pharmaceutical expenditures in Greece, which has a population of 11 million, reached 8.4 billion euro. That is 4 billion euro more than in other countries with the same or slightly less population, such as Sweden, Portugal, and it is only 4 billion euro less than the expenditures of Spain, whose population is 47 million people.

STATE PHARMACEUTICAL EXPENDITURES IN GREECE

Insurance funds:

• 2004 - 2.4 billion euro

• 2009 - 5.28 billion euro (Belgium: 2.5 billion euro)

• 2012 - 2.88 billion euro

TOTAL PHARMACEUTICAL EXPENDITURE FOR 2009

• Greece - 8.4 billion euro

• Sweden - 4.1 billion euro

• Portugal - 4.2 billion euro

• Spain - 12 billion euro

In order for Greece to succeed in cutting its pharmaceutical costs by more than 1 billion euro, the Memorandum provides for an increased use of the so-called "generic" drugs, i.e. of the replacements of original medicines containing the same active ingredient, but which are much cheaper.

In 2011, generic drugs accounted for only 18% of the total pharmaceutical expenditures in Greece. The aim of the bill, which will be voted on Wednesday, is that the percentage of generic drugs covered by the insurance funds and which are prescribed by state hospitals, reaches 50% by 2013.
Among the storm of reactions of the doctors about the value of generic medicines, the National Medicines Agency assures that in this way public health is not endangered.

Pharmacists: We will stop providing drugs on credit from the 1st of March

Meanwhile, pharmaceutical companies in Athens, Piraeus and Achaia announced their decision to stop granting medicines on credit to all insurance funds from the 1st of March.

In the message of the pharmaceutical companies it is noted that the debt of the insurance funds is growing exponentially, and the difficult economic situation in which pharmacists have fallen "can be seen from the daily reports of confiscation and closure of pharmacies that our members receive."

"We are unable to give any drugs on credit as our suppliers want to be paid immediately in cash, and it seems that the people responsible for this are living on another planet". This is mentioned in the notice, concluding that the "pharmaceutical companies in Athens, Piraeus and Achaia cannot cope financially in the current circumstances, so with great regret, and hoping that insured persons are aware of the reality, will terminate from the 1st of March, 2012 the provision of medicines on credit for all insurance funds."

Tags: pharmaceutical expenditures over consumption Social Insurance Institute IKA
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