Tuesday March 3, 2015 Search
Weather | Athens
11o C
6o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Greek parliament approves health cuts

The Greek parliament approved an extension of pharmacy opening hours and cuts to drugs spending on Thursday as part of a package of healthcare reforms agreed in return for last week's 130 billion euro international bailout deal.

The early morning vote, the final significant element in the package of so-called prior actions which Athens had promised before this week's European Union summit, follows Tuesday's approval of 3.2 billion euros in budget cuts and a steep reduction in the minimum wage.

Deputies voted 213 to 58 to approve the package, with 17 abstaining in a result which was generally expected after Greece's two biggest parties backed the package.

Greece has been under heavy pressure to match its repeated reform and savings pledges with concrete action after increasing skepticism about the ability of Prime Minister Lucas Papademos' government to push through unpopular changes.

"The Greek authorities have to deliver, European Commissioner for regional policy Johannes Hahn told Reuters in an interview

There has been growing concern that the repeated doses of austerity will deepen a recession now in its fifth year and make it impossible to cut a public debt burden amounting to 160 percent of gross domestic product.

As well as extending pharmacy hours, an issue which sparked a revolt among lawmakers who rejected the proposal in January, Wednesday's vote will also limit spending on drugs by state pension funds and mandate generic drugs prescriptions to cut costs.

Greece spends some 25 billion euros a year, roughly 10 percent of its GDP, on health and controlling a bloated public health system, has been a priority.

Resistance to the measures among powerful medical lobbies has been fierce however with posters attacking Health Minister Andreas Loverdos as a gravedigger plastered over many pharmacies in recent days.

Cheaper generic drugs account for just 18 percent of the market in Greece, one of the lowest levels in the European Union, compared with 80 percent in Germany.

The latest measures aim to lift the Greek total to 50 percent, in line with the rest of Europe.

Wednesday's vote does not impose the kind of pain on ordinary Greeks that the previous cuts have done but it is intended to attack waste in the frequently corrupt and inefficient public health system.

Popular protests against the austerity measures, which exploded into violence earlier this month, have been muted in recent days with many Greeks still shocked by the images of burning buildings seen during the riots.

A small demonstration in front of the parliament on Wednesday broke up after heavy rain began but a transport strike is set to disrupt trains and buses on Thursday and unions have pledged further action in the coming weeks.

[Reuters]

ekathimerini.com , Thursday March 1, 2012 (08:58)  
Greek government searches for funds amid fresh speculation about third bailout
Ankara backpedals on Aegean military drill
Ties between terror groups probed
Judges indict 21 over Skouries gold mine attack
PMI records drop in orders but rise in jobs
New activity in Greek manufacturing last month posted the sharpest decline since July 2013, according to the Markit research firms Purchasing Managers Index (PMI). The main reason for that ...
Fur exports to be hurt by ruble decline
The sliding ruble is expected to hurt Greek fur exports, which account for 10 percent of the global market. "This year is very difficult for enterprises in the fur sector due to the devaluat...
Inside Business
BASKETBALL
Waters turns from zero to hero for Kolossos Rhodes
For 40 minutes he was a real disappointment for his coach, Aris Lykoyiannis. His shooting rate was a miserable 1 in 10 two-point shots and he had made no three-pointers. On top of that he co...
SOCCER
Super League clubs promise to combat violence, again
The Super League clubs agreed on Monday to a blueprint of proposals for combatting violence in soccer grounds and will present it to Deputy Minister Stavros Kontonis to ask for the top fligh...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
Three options for the PM
There is one thing of which I am completely certain. If we want Greece to remain a member of the eurozone and to advance, the government faces a Herculean task. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras...
EDITORIAL
Destination unknown
Alexis Tsiprass government is floundering in its own contradictions and risks taking the country down with it. The prime minister took on the responsibility of an agreement with our partner...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. Waters turns from zero to hero for Kolossos Rhodes
2. Greek government searches for funds amid fresh speculation about third bailout
3. Ankara backpedals on Aegean military drill
4. Ties between terror groups probed
5. Judges indict 21 over Skouries gold mine attack
6. PMI records drop in orders but rise in jobs
more news
Today
This Week
1. Greece to make international protest over Turkey reserving Aegean air space
2. Greek reforms could prompt bailout payment in March, says Dijsselbloem
3. EU Commission: seeking unity in EU after Spain, Portugal clash with Greece
4. Schaeuble urges Greece to implement reforms during extension
5. Next Greek aid deal will emerge in coming months, Moscovici says
6. ECB uncomfortable with leading role in Greek funding drama
Today
This Week
1. Greece to make international protest over Turkey reserving Aegean air space
2. A fierce battle looms
3. SYRIZA feeling the pain
4. Spain said to lead push to hold Greece to terms as Podemos grows
5. The unlikely winners of Greece's surrender on euro
6. Tsipras reversal draws Greek sympathy as party rumblings rise
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2015, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.