Greece issues several times more prescriptions, referrals than EU peers

Some 65 million medical prescriptions for a total of 200 million packets of medication are issued every year in Greece, along with 100 million referrals for medical tests, several times more than in fellow European Union states, according to data made public on Wednesday by the country’s main healthcare provider, EOPYY, and the European Healthcare Fraud and Corruption Network, EHFCN.

The number of prescriptions issued in Greece are virtually at the same level as those in Spain, which has a population five times the size of Greece’s.

As for CAT and MRI scans, more than 1.5 million referrals were issued in Greece over the last year – 100 percent above the average rate in Western European countries.

However, the scope for cutbacks in Greece is clear. The enforcement of new guidelines for health professionals resulted in a 25 percent reduction in the number of referrals for CAT and MRI scans last month while the amount by which spending on prescription medicines was overshot dropped by 71.5 percent in October.

The figures were released on Wednesday by EOPYY Chairman Dimitris Kontos and EHFCN executive Paul Vincke, ahead of the EHFCN’s 10th conference, which starts in Athens on Thursday.

In a related development, Health Minister Makis Voridis said the budget for state hospitals would be trimmed next year by 160 million euros, to 1.61 billion euros from 1.45 billion euros.

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