Ministry sets new cash-raising, cost-cutting goals

Checks on live music venues and casinos, which last year were offered the choice of buying licenses to permit smoking on their premises, are to intensify after the initiative failed to raise the revenues the government had hoped for.

Health Minister Andreas Loverdos revealed on Monday that only 2.3 million euros was raised in comparison to the 40 million the government had budgeted for. Last September, casinos and live music venues were allowed to pay 200 euros per square meter for a smoking permit.

Moving from revenue-raising measures to cost-cutting, Loverdos agreed with Greece?s creditors that doctors at the newly formed National Organization for Healthcare Provision (EOPPY) should only prescribe generic drugs to patients. Currently, only 18 percent of drugs prescribed in Greece are generic. The government hopes the move will help reduce the drugs bill by 900 million euros to 3.2 billion.

Doctors who are deemed to be too liberal with medicine prescriptions would be suspended for a year.

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