Health Ministry unveils new system for tracking medicines

Deputy Health Minister Marios Salmas on Tuesday unveiled a new system for tracking medicines from supplier to consumer which is expected to save the debt-wracked state some 100 million euros a year and is due to go into operation on Monday.

According to the new system, pharmaceutical suppliers will be obliged to affix a stamp with a serial number issued by the National Organization for Medicines (EOF) on all pharmaceutical products before they are sent to pharmacies and hospitals. The serial numbers will also be tracked through dispensers and logged onto the electronic prescription system.

According to Salmas, the new system will prevent unauthorized drugs from entering the system and will also tighten the state’s control over suppliers. It is also designed to prevent the reuse of prescription stickers on multiple boxes of medicine.

Salmas added that the new system can further help prevent shortages as the frequency of use of certain specific drugs, especially those such as flu medication and vaccinations, can be monitored at all times.

“From a laggard on issues regarding the digitization and control of the medical supply chain, Greece will become a paradigm for other countries for the way that it tracks the journey of every box of medicine,” Salmas said.

According to sources, pharmaceutical suppliers who do not conform to the new regulations will not be given the green light for circulating new drugs, while infringements will be heavily fined. A draft bill foreseeing heavier penalties for people and companies violating the laws governing the sale and distribution of medicines is scheduled to be presented to Parliament on Friday and voted into law by the end of the month.