Charge for prescriptions delayed as new hospital fee is enforced

Due to a technical glitch, a new 1-euro charge for anyone in Greece who picks up prescription medicine from a pharmacist will start to apply a few days after its original launch date at the start of the year, Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis said on Thursday.

The charge essentially means that EOPYY, the country’s main healthcare provider, will reduce its contribution to the prescribed medicine by 1 euro, with the extra money being charged to the customer. Georgiadis said that those with chronic illnesses will be excused from the extra charge.

“There was a technical issue with IDIKA [the Computer Center for Social Security Services] and we are waiting to see when it will be ready,” said Georgiadis.

A circular confirming the 1-euro fee is due to be released in the next few days. Georgiadis, however, confirmed that a circular has already been issued forcing state hospitals to charge anyone admitted for treatment 25 euros. The minister did not make it clear what would happen to those who are not able to pay.

“We will not take them to jail. Don’t worry,” he told Mega TV on Thursday morning.

Coalition partner PASOK on Thursday reiterated its opposition to the 25-euro charge and said that Georgiadis’s argument that it was a bailout commitment which the Socialists had agreed with Greece’s lenders when they were in government on their own does not stand up to scrutiny.

PASOK gave examples of other situations in which the government had made changes to its bailout pledges.

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