Redefining health and pharmaceutical policy for a more competitive and healthier Greece!

Athens, April 19, 2024.- Our industry is called upon to face significant challenges that are perpetuated, such as the underfunding of pharmaceutical expenditure, but also to ensure the effective coverage of the growing needs of Greek citizens.

For more than a decade the pharmaceutical budget has been inadequate. In 2012 the total pharmaceutical expenditure was €4.3 billion and the participation of the State €3.6 billion. In 2023, total pharmaceutical expenditure is estimated to reach €7.1 billion, while the State’s participation is only €2.8 billion. This means that the market in the last eleven (11) years grew by 65%, while public funding decreased by 22% mainly due to the crisis.

As a result, innovation is punished in a sector that contributes so much to the economy, research, the labor market and society, with an excessive, overtaxation that hinders development, and most importantly, Greek patients wait longer than the EU average for access to new medicines.

The overall contribution of the pharmaceutical sector to the Greek economy is significant, but the mechanism of compulsory returns is a significant financial burden for companies in the sector. The total impact of the pharmaceutical sector on the Greek economy, in terms of GDP, is estimated at €6.2 billion euro (3.3% of GDP). The total contribution to employment is estimated at 108,000 jobs, while the impact on tax revenues from the activity of the pharmaceutical sector is estimated at around €1.7 billion. euro. At the same time, over the past 11 years, SFEE member companies have contributed more than €18.1 billion through compulsory returns, making up for the lack of public funds, while ensuring continued access to treatments for patients.

Looking forward to the future, the pharmaceutical sector provides a huge opportunity for Greece and the wider Europe. Health is our most precious asset. But with the increasing burden of demographics and chronic diseases, people’s health needs are growing.

As the Government guides Greece through a broad economic transition, it is now time for pharmaceutical policies to shift from the short-term cost controls that have defined the past decade to providing the best long-term health for people’s future, on sustainable terms for providers.

At EU level, the imminent revision of the pharmaceutical legislation, if implemented as it was originally proposed, could actually further delay Europeans’ access to medicines developed today and reduce incentives to discover tomorrow’s medicines. Any negative changes will affect Greece more than other countries. We must not risk a step backwards.

SFEE focuses on three main challenges and, in cooperation with the State, strives to develop the appropriate actions and policies:

  1. Boost funding and tackle excessive returns – Allocate resources more efficiently through digital tools and controls.
  2. Patient access to innovative treatments.
  3. Strengthening the pharmaceutical industry’s footprint in the national economy, through investments in production, research and development, collaborations between Greek and International companies and provision of services.

The road to a sustainable health and pharmaceutical policy in Greece is complex, but by addressing the above challenges, we will be moving in the right direction. Cooperation between government and industry is essential to achieve sustainable solutions that will serve the needs of society and the economy. This cooperation could be sealed with a bilateral agreement, for a specific period of time, between the State and the pharmaceutical industry, as is the case in other countries, as a sign of mutual trust and commitment and at the same time as a guarantee of transparency and predictability.

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