Drug prices are falling but volume sold remains high

Although there have been efforts to reduce the cost of medicines in Greece since the start of the economic crisis, the volume of drugs purchased by Greeks has only fallen by 5.5 percent since 2009.

A total of 390 million units of medicines were sold last year, mostly analgesics and drugs to combat diabetes, cholesterol, blood pressure and thyroid problems. According to the Pharmacists’ Cooperatives Federation (OSFE), some 6,500 different types of drugs are sold in Greece but 100 medicines account for 47 percent of all sales.

Since 2009, the Greek government has been trying to bring down public spending on medicines to around 1 percent of GDP. OSFE vice president Andreas Galanopoulos suggested to Kathimerini that not enough has been done to tackle the volume of drugs being prescribed.

“The average price of items sold at pharmacies fell from 11.47 euros in 2009 to 8 euros last year but the volume only dropped 5.5 percent in that time,” he said.