Generic drug drive ups the cost of medicines for patients

A measure requiring insured patients to pay the difference in price between brand-name drugs and their cheaper generic alternatives if buying the former went into effect on Monday, catching thousands unaware.

Part of the Health Ministry?s cost-cutting drive, the measure was scheduled for implementation earlier. Still, pharmacists said they had not been adequately briefed about its going into full effect on Monday, when thousands of patients, mainly those insured with the National Organization for Healthcare Provision (EOPYY), learned that they had to pay as much as 100 euros more for their medication.

?Coverage by EOPYY for generic drugs only is a measure that will save the organization up to 150 million euros a year without affecting the quality of patient care,? Alternate Health Minister Marios Salmas said.

Pharmacists also pointed out that the new system ignores special categories such as patients with cancer, depression or kidney disease, whose drugs were free.

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