Health minister steps up clash with SYRIZA over medicine prices

Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis has reignited his verbal battle with SYRIZA by accusing the leftist party of trying to protect Greek pharmaceutical companies’ profits at a time when the government wants to lower drug prices.

“I have never heard until today SYRIZA wanting to protect the profits of other sectors of the economy,” said Georgiadis on Monday. “Suddenly SYRIZA decided that it wants to protect the profits of Greek pharmaceutical companies. This is a huge political issue and the opposition party has to provide answers.”

SYRIZA’s opposition to a bill which the government says will cut the prices of thousands of drugs is at the center of the row.

The leftists have accused Georgiadis of raising the prices of some medicines, failing to get committee approval for the latest legislation and only basing his decision making on the need to meet spending targets agreed with the troika, rather than patients’ requirements.

On Monday, SYRIZA accused Georgiadis of stoking the argument with SYRIZA to act as a smokescreen for problems in the health system. The leftists also accused Georgiadis of acting in the interests of multinational drug firms.

“When 28 percent of patients have to stop taking their medicines because of financial difficulties, when the government transfers the cost of pharmaceutical spending to patients… it is outrageous that SYRIZA is being criticized for not voting for an amendment that essentially favours only multinationals and not citizens.”

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