ECONOMY

More OTC drugs save us money

Social security funds would benefit by up to 141 million euros from a possible switch of 5 percent of prescription drugs to over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, a survey by the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) has found. The president of the Association of Producers and Importers of Broad-Use Drugs (EFEX), Vassilis Seretis, revealed the findings yesterday, adding that similar surveys in seven EU countries came up with similar results. Speaking at a press conference within the context of the 42nd Pan-European Conference of the Association of European Self-Medication Industry (AESGP) in Athens, Seretis said OTC drugs meet all standards, both regulatory and controlled. «We are talking about primary healthcare products, whereby citizens recognize mild symptoms of illness and can resort to their local pharmacy. There they can confirm the low danger of their problem and handle it safely. This saves social security’s time and resources,» Seretis noted. «Responsible self-medication plays a crucial part in improving every European citizen’s health,» said Hans van Zoonen, the AESGP president. He also noted that this aim requires a strong, innovative and competitive self-care sector. «That goal is associated with the need to recognize the social and financial value of self-care,» he added. In reference to easing the prices of OTC drugs, van Zoonen said citizens’ interests are best served through a liberal market, where manufacturing companies determine prices without state control. «Wherever such a market exists, price increases are made according to inflation or at lower levels. Any measures for the control or announcement of prices are pointless and should be abolished,» he said.