SFEE’s New Year Cake Cutting Ceremony: Investment in Ηealth is key, because Better Health means a Stronger Economy!

Press Release

SFEE’s New Year Cake Cutting Ceremony:

Investment in Ηealth is key, because Better Health means a Stronger Economy!


Athens, 11 March 2022.– On Thursday, 10 March 2022, at the Divani Caravel Hotel, Athens, the Hellenic Association of Pharmaceutical Companies (SFEE) held its New Year Cake cutting ceremony, attended by government officials, representatives of political parties, institutional bodies and executives from the healthcare sector.

On this occasion, SFEE President Mr. Olympios Papadimitriou noted: “The triumph of innovation and science in 2021 raised hopes for an end to the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, pushed healthcare systems to their limits, revealing and exacerbating serious underlying problems and shortcomings that are due to decades of underfunding and distortions. In our country, it has been a full decade since the introduction of unsubstantiated hard budget caps on public pharmaceutical expenditure and a claw-back system; all this years, the pharmaceutical industry has paid more than EUR 10 billion in claw-back and rebates; in the past few years, on an annual basis, it has contributed almost as much as the government towards funding a social provision of a purely public character. We need to use the messages coming from other countries in Europe and the lessons learned from the pandemic in order to shield the healthcare system and make it more resilient to current and future challenges, but also support innovation. The pharmaceutical industry is optimistic about a healthier future, which is conditional on the political and public prioritisation of health, opening the path to powering up the healthcare system. Securing the future of health systems starts with financing them according to their true needs of countries. Powering up the health system also means embracing the transformational tools we need – namely digitalisation and innovation that generates value for patients, healthcare systems and society as a whole. This will contribute to a sustainable public healthcare system with better care provision to citizens, but also to higher investment”. Mr. Papadimitriou concluded by saying that “the pharmaceutical sector is of strategic importance for our country, having a strong economic footprint and a huge growth potential, especially in the field of clinical trials, which should be supported by a more efficient system for offsetting clinical trial investment against claw-back, outside the RRF framework”.

In his address, the Minister of Health, Mr. Athanasios Plevris, stated among other things: “We want Greek patients and insured persons to have access to the best medicines, just like all Europeans have and to the same extent. We want a more rational expenditure for 2022, and this will lay the foundations for a real structural change. We believe in digital patient records, e-prescribing and prescription volume controls. We will look into everything with full transparency, with clear rules guided by the ministerial decision specifying the negotiation process, and with very fast negotiations to be concluded soon. I expect that the committee procedure regarding the additional measures we could take will be completed by the end of March”.

The Minister of State and Digital Government, Mr. Kyriakos Pierrakakis, in a video address, said: “Your industry worldwide has managed to turn around the difficult situation in which we found ourselves. Your Association, the Hellenic Association of Pharmaceutical Companies, represents an extremely innovative, extroverted industry which highlights the country’s great potential to develop innovation ecosystems and which is totally worth of our investment.

Prof. Dimitris Boubas, President of the Central Health Council (KESY), referring to the COVID-19 pandemic, stated: “The unprecedented synergies of the pharmaceutical industry with academia and the state during the pandemic have enabled humanity to deal with an unprecedented health crisis and prevent it from evolving into a public health and social disaster“. In another point of his address, Prof. Boubas stressed the importance of innovative medicines and clinical trials, noting that: “Clinical trials provide Greek patients free access to innovative medicines, train healthcare professionals in good clinical practice and create well-paid jobs, while also bringing significant revenues to the government budget“.

Mr. Nikos Dedes, Chairman of the Board of the Greek Patients Association, stated that “There are strong distortions in the public healthcare system, which, among other things, are reflected in higher patient co-payment in Greece compared with other European countries”, and called for “closer cooperation between patient associations and the scientific community as a catalyst for accelerating the design and social acceptance of the necessary structural reforms“. Finally, in relation to the issue of pharmaceutical expenditure overruns, Mr. Dedes argued that “understanding and finding of solutions can be done exclusively through the Committee for Monitoring of the Pharmaceutical Expenditure, which brings together all healthcare organisations and stakeholders”.

The entire Board of Directors of SFEE, Health Minister Mr. Athanasios Plevris; Alternate Health Minister Ms. Mina Gaga, Deputy Health Minister Ms. Zoe Rapti, KESY President Prof. Dimitris Boubas and Greek Patients Association Chairman Mr. Nikos Dedes, all took turns in cutting the cake.

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