Patients will not pay more for drugs, says minister

Increasing the financial contribution that patients have to make to buy subsidized medicines is not part of the government?s plans at the moment to reduce healthcare spending, Alternate Health Minister Marios Salmas told Skai radio on Tuesday.

Salmas said that the increase in use of generic drugs and wider application of the electronic prescription system are among the policies being used to bring down spending.

During a meeting between officials from the National Organization for Healthcare Provision (EOPYY), social security funds and Salmas last month, it was agreed that all of the fund?s doctors would have to be in a position to use the e-prescription system by next month.

At the moment, it is estimated that between 20 and 40 percent of EOPPY doctors do not enter the prescriptions they issue into the electronic system due to lack of equipment or Internet connection problems.

The government is hoping that better recording and monitoring of the drugs that are prescribed by doctors will cut out the liberal use of their prescription pads and prevent pharmacists profiting from too many medicines being supplied to patients.

Salmas told Skai that the government intends to settle soon the outstanding bills for drugs pharmacists have sold on credit to customers insured with EOPYY. Pharmacists have not yet been paid for May?s prescriptions, They are expecting to receive by early next week 90 of the 207 million euros they are owed in total. The remaining money is due by August 15.