As Greece’s international lenders are pressing for the writing of more generic drugs to save money, Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis said efforts to do so haven’t worked.
Greeks are notoriously suspicious of taking generic drugs, which chemically are exactly the same as those dispensed under brand names, and many doctors reportedly have relationships with pharmaceutical companies to write prescriptions for their drugs only.
That combines to cost the government uncalculated extra monies in subsidies. The Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) said doctors should write more generic drug prescriptions which are far cheaper than brand names.
Georgiadis said only about 20 percent of the drugs written in Greece now are generic. Speaking at a pharmaceutical conference in Athens, Georgiadis said that Greece has to raise the prescription rate of non-brand name drugs to around 60 percent as part of its effort to limit public spending on medicines to less than 2 billion euros a year.
“The measures we have adopted to increase the penetration of generic drugs have failed,” said Georgiadis. According to the European Generic Medicines Association, generic drugs account for 50 percent all medicines dispensed in the European Union but only 18 percent of total pharmaceutical expenditure.
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