Generic drug prescriptions delayed until next week

A system requiring doctors to write the active ingredient in drugs they prescribe to patients so they can be issued with cheaper generic medicines as part of a drive to reduce public healthcare costs is to start on Monday.

The scheme was due to be launched this week by the National Organization for Healthcare Provision (EOPYY) but due to a series of technical problems and the fact that doctors had not familiarized themselves with the system, it was put off for a few days. Doctors will have to write the brand name of the drug as well as the active ingredient, which is also available in generic drugs.

EOPYY is poised to announce the prices of the generic medicines, which are expected to be at least half the cost of the originals. Greece is hoping to reduce its spending on drugs by about 1 billion euros this year. Pharmacists in Attica and Piraeus, however, said they would not provide drugs on credit to EOPYY patients due to unpaid bills. Pharmacies will be closed on Thursday due to a strike.