State owes drug stores 147 mln

Fed up with waiting for months for the State to pay its debts, Greek pharmacists threatened yesterday to start charging state-insured patients the full price for medicine subsidized by the government. At a press conference yesterday, the chairman of the Panhellenic Pharmacists’ Association (PFS), Dimitris Vayionas, said state insurance funds often pay their subsidies after a delay of five or six months. Currently, the State owes some 147 million euros to pharmacists for medicine sold to state-insured patients, who only pay part of the price. PFS officials said pharmacists are considering forcing patients to start paying the full price for state-fund prescribed medicine as of January. In that case, the onus for extracting cash from the State would fall upon the patients themselves. The pharmacists’ associations of Edessa in northern Greece and Lesvos have already approved such a move – from January and March, respectively – while those of Athens and Thessaloniki are due to decide today.

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