Minister targets wasteful spending on medicines

Health Minister Andreas Loverdos has told Skai that pharmaceutical spending by social security funds in Greece exceeds spending on defense, with 3.8 billion euros spent in 2011 while more than 1 billion euros worth of medicines that have passed their expiry date are disposed of by Greek households every year.

The minister indicated that the Greek system continues to be wasteful, despite efforts at reform, noting that 3.5 million X-rays are carried out every year, double the number carried out in any other European Union member state.

Loverdos said the ministry had devised a program, due to come into effect next month, which will collect medicines that have passed their expiry date from pharmaceuticals. He added that the government aimed to reduce spending on pharmaceuticals by 800 million euros this year.

Last year, state spending on medicines was cut by 1.75 billion euros to 3.8 billion euros but it still remains excessive.