ECONOMY

H1N1 cost at 1.8 bln euros

The Greek government’s plan of action to halt a possible swine flu pandemic will cost an estimated 300 million euros. In addition, however, the indirect cost to Greece as laid out in a study prepared by the National School of Public Health (NSPH), could reach 1.8 billion euros, taking into account lost working hours, lower productivity due to sick leave taken by employees, upgrade of intensive care units and the spending in infrastructure required to provide inoculation and treatment to swine flu patients. The cost of the vaccine is expected to exceed 56 million euros, as Greece has ordered 8 million jabs at a price of 7 euros each. After adding to this amount the cost of anti-virus medication and hospital care, the figure jumps to more than 300 million euros, according to data put together by the General Accounting Office. Greece has already been supplied with 2.45 million vaccinations at a cost of 17.8 million euros from pharmaceutical companies Novartis and Glaxo with more expected in January from Sanofi Pasteur. The NSPH study also shows that if 20 percent of the country’s population, or 2 million people, contract the virus, then this will cost the government 1.8 billion euros. Of this 2 million people, between 40,000 to 200,000 individuals will need hospital care, of which between 3,200 and 16,000 will need to be treated at an intensive care unit. The cost of treating patients with less severe symptoms will burden pension funds and may reach about 300 euros per person.