“The pharmaceutical market in Greece: Facts & Figures 2022”

IOBE – SFEE Announcement


“The pharmaceutical market in Greece: Facts & Figures 2022”

The role of medicines is of strategic importance with a strong impact on health and economy


Athens, 5 October 2023 – The Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) in cooperation with the Hellenic Association of Pharmaceutical Companies (SfEE), presented today at a special Press Conference the publication “The Pharmaceutical Market in Greece: Facts and Figures 2022”, as well as the basic conclusions of the special study “The contribution of the Pharmaceutical sector in Greek economy”.

As usual, the annual report “The Pharmaceutical Market in Greece: Facts and Figures 2022” presents the basic structural elements, facts and figures of the sector, the developments and trends in Greece and Europe, in the field of medication and the broader Health ecosystem.

The 2022 report captures the uncertainties both the domestic and global financial environments have incurred over the last years, due both to the pandemic that brought about serious recession in the economic activity and the energy crisis caused by the Ukrainian crisis.

The demographic and ensuing respective challenges continue to affect the developments and constitute the primary regulator for the funding policies of the health and medication expenditure. The high life expectancy in particular, although reduced by 1.5 years compared to 2020 due to the pandemic  (80.2 years the average for Greece in 2021, 80.1 for the EU27), the increase of deaths vis-à-vis births by 64.3 thousand people (2022) – the biggest difference ever – and the increase of the older population  – (above the age of 65 years) from 22.9% of the general population in 2020 to 33.5% in 2060, are expected to boost health and pharmaceutical expenditure. Furthermore, the percentage of population above the age of 16 with a chronic health problem has been steadily rising since 2018 up until 2022, reaching to 24.9%. The percentage of the population above the age of 65 years with multiple chronic diseases in Greece is 40%, much higher than the EU average (36%).

Public pharmaceutical expenditure rose at €2,6 in 2021, maintaining the same levels as last year, while a marginal increase in public expenditure at €2,7 billions is expected in 2022. On the contrary, the volume of compulsory refunds (clawback & rebates) the pharmaceutical industry had to pay in 2021 rose at €2.4 bil, versus €2.0 bil in 2020. Patients’ co-payment in listed drugs registers in tandem significant increase, estimated at €689mil in 2022. According to estimates, 2022 will be the first year ever in which the overall pharmaceutical industry mandatory refunds will exceed public funding for medicines.

Nevertheless, it should not be ignored that the Pharmaceutical industry is an extremely important sector of the Greek economy, with great impact on the public health system, the patients and the Greek economy. The sector spends on Research & Development (R&D) the 8% of the overall R&D expenditure in Greece, while 3,830 clinical trials, regardless of phase or stage – (2,250 fully completed) – were affected in Greece during the period 2002-2022. In addition, domestic medicinal products’ manufacturing rose at a value (ex-factory) of €1.9bil. in 2022 and with an added value of €1.5bil. it has a 6.4% share in the manufacturing sector. The workforce employed in the pharmaceutical products’ sector (manufacturing and trade) amounted to 28.9 thousand people in 2021. Equally important is the role of the pharmaceutical sector in the overall external trade, since pharmaceutical product exports amounted to €2.6bil. in 2021, representing 4.7% of the total Greek commodities’ exports for 2022 to the main export destinations, i.e. Germany, France and the UK.

According to recent IOBE estimates regarding the financial footprint of the pharmaceutical sector on Greek economy, its total contribution in GDP terms is estimated at €6.2 bil. (3.4% of GDP) in 2021. Thus, for every €1 of added value created by the companies active in the pharmaceutical sector, another €2.3 is generated in the Greek economy as a whole. In employment terms, the overall contribution is estimated at 108 thousand jobs (2.8% of total employment). In other words, each job in the pharmaceutical sector supports another 3.4 equivalent full-time jobs in the Greek economy as a whole. Finally, the estimated impact of the pharmaceutical sector on the tax revenues is approximately €1.7 billions.

In his speech, the President of SfEE, Mr. Olympios Papadimitriou, pointed out: “The pharmaceutical sector is of strategic importance for our country and has a strong financial footprint. The rationalization of the pharmaceutical public expenditure, the improvement of the return on investments, the reduction of delays in the entry of new medicines in the Greek market and the digitalization of the health system should be  the immediate priority of the Government. Our sector has traditionally been supporting the Health System and patients. In dire circumstances, we stood by the State, securing the unhindered access of patients to their medication and this is how we will continue. There is a need, however, to shape a sustainable national pharmaceutical policy, focused on the patient, Public Health and employment.”

Mr. Aggelos TsakanikasAssociate Professor of NTUA and IOBE’s Scientific Advisor, noted that: “The pharmaceutical sector is one of the most dynamic sectors in Greece over the recent years, with particular importance in economic and social terms. Its prospects are promising in an international environment that is now looking for new production units on European soil. The redefining of global value chains is an opportunity for domestic production and, therefore, the release of more investment resources and capital is a key condition for its exploitation.”

In his intervention, the President of the Greek Patients’ Association, Mr. Nikos Dedes, commented: “The excessive out of the pocket participation of patients in the pharmaceutical expenditure and the need to ensure access to innovation make the design of a new national pharmaceutical policy imperative. As regards, the Greek Patients’ Association has specific proposals, the most important of which is the development, refinement, and implementation of therapeutic protocols.”


The report and the relevant presentation files are available on the websites of IOBE ( and SFEE (

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