Increasing investment on medicines, because better health equals a stronger economy!


Athens, March 30, 2023. – The COVID-19 pandemic brought into the spotlight, at European level and particularly in Greece, the gaps in the national health systems, which are mainly due to underfunding and long-standing distortions. Energy crisis was added on top of the pandemic impact.  The effects are felt by all companies with unprecedented intensity, all over the European Union (EU). As it also happens in the rest of the EU countries, the companies regardless of size and location in the whole national sovereignty are now in critical situation, faced with real challenges for their smooth operation or even survival. Parallel to that, demographics, such as population’s ageing, chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and the increased prevalence of tumors, entail an increase in the demand for healthcare services and medicines, further burdening public finances.

Our sector is regularly called to deal with these important challenges that are perpetuated, such as the underfunding of pharmaceutical expenditure, both the outpatient and hospital one, and most importantly secure the effective coverage the ever-increasing needs of Greek patients. For more than a decade the pharmaceutical budget has been insufficient, while the limited measures implemented for curtailing the demand have not borne fruit.

In our country, the State allocates on medicines 26% less resources than the other Southern European countries and 47% less in comparison to the Western European countries, which do not suffice to cover the real needs of the country’s population. It should be understood that pharmaceutical expenditure is actually stagnant since 2014 to date – identical for the past 9 years – aside from the fund of vaccines. This situation in combination with the lack of measures for demand curtailing causes cost overrun, which is mainly covered by the pharmaceutical companies, through exorbitant and unbridled compulsory refunds (clawback & rebates), along with out-of-pocket payments.

The State should at last look seriously into these issues. First of all, measures for monitoring prescriptions should be immediately adopted, i.e. introducing those digital tools that will assist in the control of the size and mix of demand, through the correct implementation of therapeutical protocols, the development of prescription filters, the introduction of the patient’s digital file, the interconnection of lab tests with e-prescription, the introduction of e-prescriptions in the hospitals and the generalized use of public tenders. In tandem to all that, the gradual increase of public funding for medicines will offer a decisive contribution to dealing with the new challenges provoked by the pandemic, in combination with the introduction of the “Horizon Scanning” as well, the latter offering a forecast of the new medicines expenditure.

One should not forget, of course, the enhancement of investment incentives as well. The investment clawback, under the resources granted by the Recovery and Resilience Fund (RRF), did not yield fruit in the Clinical Trials. Suffices to point out that only 4.6% of the 250m. € was approved for offset. There is a pressing need, therefore, to elaborate a different incentives framework for clinical trials in relation to clawback, provided there is such interest from the State and another source of funding can be found, so as to attract significant investment capital in our country.

Our message to the State is crystal clear:

We welcome the conditional increase of funding of pharmaceutical expenditure through the RRF resources, but public pharmaceutical expenditure should be gradually raised to the level of covering the needs of Greek patients and the State should cease relying excessively on the third informal funding pillar, i.e. the pharma industry.

We ask for the:

  • Immediate implementation of expenditure control measures.
  • Sufficient and gradual funding of the budget, to cover the current as well as future needs of the patients.
  • Smooth flow in the evaluation procedures and negotiations of pharmaceutical products, on sustainable terms and a more flexible framework.
  • Securing transparency and predictability in the introduction of measures imposed.
  • Introduction of incentives, bigger both in numbers and substance, for research and development and productive expenses.


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