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More Medicines Taken Off Greek Shelves

FARMAKAWith falling profits because of reduced prices, pharmaceutical companies withdrew 203 medical products from the Greek market last year. In the first two months of this year, some 13 firms notified the National Organization for Medicines (EOF) that they plan to halve the supply of 25 drugs, the newspaper Kathimerini said.
Speaking at a conference on generic drugs, EOF President Yiannis Tountas said that 104 more medicines were taken off the market in 2012 than the year before, which saw 99 withdrawn from Greek pharmacies.
He said there were no generic substitutes for 25 of the drugs although the government, under pressure from international lenders, has been pushing for the use of alternatives to reduce the cost of subsidizing the health care system.
The drop in the prices of drugs in debt-hit Greece has prompted pharmaceutical multi-nationals to halt shipments to the country. Drug prices have come down by an average 15.4 percent between December 2011 and December 2012. “We have indeed put most of our efforts in reducing prices but there are many side effects because this reduction has been achieved thanks to a problematic pricing system,” Tountas said, adding that prices are currently adjusted every three months, “causing errors.”

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