Reduced drugs spending to hit 2012 target, says minister

The target of reducing Greece’s medicines bill by more than 1 billion euros this year is within reach, Alternate Health Minister Marios Salmas said on Thursday.

Salmas said the outlay on drugs as part of public healthcare would meet the end-of-year goal of 2.88 billion euros, compared to 3.92 billion in 2011. He said this was the biggest such reduction Greece had ever achieved. Salmas added that the most drastic reduction came in the last four months of the year, when spending on medicines reached an average of 210 million euros per month.

It is worth noting, though, that for large parts of this period, pharmacists refused to supply drugs on credit to customers insured with the National Organization for Healthcare Provision (EOPYY), leading to many people having to pay for medicines themselves.

EOPYY chief Lefteris Papageorgopoulos told Skai Radio that the organization would begin paying some 1.5 billion euros in debts at the beginning of 2013.