Greek scientists sound alarm over pharmaceutical expenditure

Pharmaceutical expenditure in Greece has been steadily reducing over the last years and needs to be increased by at least 200 million euros compared to the institutions’ demands and the Health ministry’s estimates, Greek scientists said in an international conference held in Vienna.

They explained that in order for patients to have access to innovative medicine, pharmaceutical companies that produce this kind of medicine should continue to dispose them in the Greek market. However, this is at risk since the pharmaceutical policy followed over the last 5 years and the plethora of new expensive medicine have increased the clawback making it difficult for these companies to dispose expensive medicine in the Greek market.

“If the policy of cuts in pharmaceutical expenditure continues without structural measures, we will soon be led to a new impasse. The use of medicine increases, but at the same time the returns of pharmaceutical companies to the state also increase. This is extremely negative for them,” they said.

The scientists stressed the need for rationalisation of the pharmaceutical expenditure in Greece. In 2009 Greece was a world champion with pharmaceutical expenditure amounting to 2.8 percent of GDP compared to an average of 1.5 percent of GDP in other countries.

“But now we are on the other side. Institutions had been asking us to cut down on expenses and upgrade the whole system. Indeed we reduced the expenditure, but we are lagging behind in reforms at the same time when our Balkan neighbours are developing towards that direction,” a professor of Health University said.

He explained that according to the memorandum, pharmaceutical expenditure is GDP-linked, but GDP has significantly dropped. In addition it was not taken into account that the Greeks live by an average two more years than the average European and a large part of the Greek society is the elderly who are facing several health problems.
“All the above combined with the fact that the penetration of generics remains low in our country (about 20 pct), when in England and Germany reaches 80 pct, increase the need for higher pharmaceutical expenditure,” he added.