Medicine outlay is a concern

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis has asked his ministers to come up with a plan for more stringent checks on the money spent by social security funds on medicine after expenditures rose dramatically over the last three years. Sources told Kathimerini that Employment and Social Security Minister Vassilis Magginas informed Karamanlis this week that spending by the funds that are under his jurisdiction, mainly IKA and OGA, on medical expenses has so far this year reached 6.9 billion euros. This figure is 60 percent higher than that of 2004. Some 3 billion euros (or 44 percent) of this money has been spent on medicine that is administered by doctors at state hospitals or is bought with prescriptions. Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos and Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis also took part in the meeting and advised Karamanlis that this kind of outlay, and the lack of controlled spending at state hospitals, could have serious consequences for the health system and the budget.