“40-Year SFEE” Better Health equals Healthier Economy!

Press Release

Athens, 17.05.2022 – On Monday May 16, 2022, the official celebration dinner for the “40-Year anniversary of SFEE” was held in the Atrium of Zappeion Megaron, with the participation of Government and political parties’ officials, representatives of institutional agencies, patient organisations, Mass Media, scientific community and high-ranking executives from the member companies of SFEE (Hellenic Association of Pharmaceutical Companies).

The event was honoured by the presence of and addresses made by the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Mr. Kostis Hatzidakis, the Minister of Health, Mr. Thanos Plevris, the Minister of Tourism (and ex-Minister of Health) Mr. Vassilis Kikilias, and the Alternate Minister of Finance, Mr. Theodoros Skylakakis. The speakers, with the journalist Evy Fragaki acting as hostess and moderator, dwelled on the value of adopting ambitious and investor-friendly reform policies, as a prerequisite for attaining the sustainability of the Greek health system and offering high-quality health services to the Greek patients.

The President of SFEE, Mr. Olympios Papadimitriou, delivered a lecture demonstrating the contribution of the health sector to the national economy, growth, employment and society. “Over the last 40 years SFEE has promoted itself to a reliable and accountable social partner to the State, through its initiatives, proposals and interventions in the public debate. SFEE has a decisive contribution to the architecture and promotion of public health, through the elaboration and promotion of strong and well-documented positions. Actually it has further enhanced its role lately, with a dynamic presence in the European Parliament as well”, Mr. Papadimitriou stated in his introduction, while he continued by highlighting the important financial footprint of the sector. “The pharmaceutical sector invests in Research and Development, boosts National Competitiveness, National Economy and employs high level scientific personnel. The pharma industry is a sector of strategic importance for our country, with strong financial footprint as well as huge growth potential”. Regarding the contribution of SFEE and its member companies to Health, he stressed that “Thanks to the medications we now live longer, better and in higher numbers. There still are, however, important unmet needs in the case of various diseases; hence we are not complacent… we continue tirelessly persevere in research and development of new formulations. With more than 8,000 drugs in the pipeline globally, addressing a broad spectrum of diseases, we are to be swarmed by an exciting new wave of medicinal innovation which is expected to play a decisive role in dealing with the problems met by patients and health systems alike over the next decades”. In concluding, Mr. Papadimitriou made a pledge for an on-going SFEE offering and contribution over the following 40 years as well!

The Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Mr. Kostis Hatzidakis, pointed out during his speech that “The pharmaceutical sector is one of the most dynamic, innovative and extrovert ones of Greek economy, offering added value to development. It also innovates through the creation of quality and well-paid jobs, by adopting good practices already implemented in other countries. We, as a government, intend to support this trend. Hence, I encourage you continue innovating on the equal opportunities field. The flexible working arrangements. Tele-working. Besides, it is not only your work force that benefits from all that. The companies also gain! It is a win-win situation, because satisfied employees equal more productive companies!”

In his address, the Health Minister, Mr. Thanos Plevris, referred to the 40 years of SFEE contribution to development and innovation, pointing out that: “SFEE constitutes an important Health and Development component in the country, with a significant offering through both the launching and distribution of very important drugs. Its contribution is Decisive in the development effort, since the pharmaceutical member companies of SFEE contribute to the development of entrepreneurship in Greece, through investments and jobs creation”. “Equally important is the contribution of SFFE in rendering the Health system more resilient, through broad spectrum of its activities”, the Minister went on to say. In concluding his speech, he remarked: “SFEE constitutes the institutional interlocutor of the State on issues of pharmaceutical policy. We look forward to maintaining our sincere and productive cooperation. The ultimate goal of the Ministry of Health through this cooperation is assuring citizens’ access to all necessary medications”.

The Minister of Tourism (ex-minister of Health), Mr. Vassilis Kikilias, noted: “From the first moment I was assigned the portfolio of the ministry of Health I had declared that there would be one principle governing all my actions: “First comes the patient”. This principle guided my course during my two-year ministry and despite the fact that we were challenged with the biggest global crisis in Public Health occurred in the last 100 years, we did not ignore our planning for a universal, unimpeded and equal access of all patients to the suitable medication. All this huge effort, of course, could only succeed on the precondition of having attained impeccable cooperation with the agencies, bodies, companies and patients’ associations. The pharmaceutical companies active in our country, SFEE, they all “had our back” throughout the pandemic and I extend my warmest thanks and gratitude here. We have also had, at the same time, an excellent understanding and cooperation in all other fields where we intervened, implementing part of our pharmaceutical policy”.

The person responsible for the implementation of the National Recovery & Resilience Plan “Greece 2.0”, Alternate Minister of Finance, Mr. Thodoros Skylakakis, stated: “The Plan “Greece 2.0” includes a multitude of investments and reforms aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of the health system. Recently, dozens of pharmaceutical companies have submitted their proposals for investments amounting to 605 million Euros, in the framework of the Program. Parallel to that, in the Recovery Fund we have proceeded in the integration of projects that regard the refurbishment and upgrading of hospitals throughout Greece, the development of clinics of chronic disease management, the creation of new Mental Health Units etc. Moreover, important secondary prevention actions are effected, such as preventive diagnostic cancer tests and mamographies”.

At the end, the contribution of SFEE and its member companies to the lives of Greek patients and the substantial role of medication were demonstrated by a video presenting personal stories of patients representing respective patients’ associations. These patients also talked in person about their personal journey from the day they were diagnosed to date, and they way they handle things with the assistance of the available treatment options. They were: Ms. Anna Pappa, representing the Association of Persons with Multiple Sclerosis, Ms. Elisabeth Psilopoulou, from the Association of Cancer Patients Volunteers Friends Doctors, Ms. Maria Triandafyllou, from the Panhellenic Federation of Associations of Persons with Diabetes Mellitus, Mr. Elias Myrsinias, from the Hellenic Association of HIV Positives “Positive Voice”, Ms. Ioanna Alyssandratou, from the Panhellenic Association of Persons with Pulmonary Hypertension and Ms. Athanassia Pappa, from the Hellenic Society Against Rheumatisms. Deeply touched, they all shared with us their personal struggle and asked from the various involved stakeholders the immediate and ceaseless access to new, innovative medication.

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