Generic drugs to save 150 million euros a year

A new government measure obliging doctors to prescribe medicine to patients using the name of the active ingredient, not the brand name, is expected to increase consumption of generic drugs and, at the same time, cut health spending by an annual 150 million euros, the Health Ministry has said.

The change, which took effect last Monday, is set to increase the patient?s rate of contribution to the cost of drugs when they don?t sign up for the cheapest alternative — in most cases a generic drug. Critics, however, say most doctors insist on prescribing the more expensive patent drugs, instead of the active ingredient.

Medical spending in Greece, which imports the vast majority of its medicines, currently stands at about 300 million euros per month. Deputy Health Minister Marios Salmas last week reassured the country?s 9.5 million insured that the cost-cutting measures ?will not affect the quality of medical treatment.?

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