Web Press Conference  of SFEE – IOBE

Web Press Conference of SFEE – IOBE

“Pharmaceutical market in Greece: Facts & Figures 2019”

The chance for Greece to review and substantially revamp the national healthcare system is Now


Athens, 2020.06.22 _ The Foundation for Economic & Industrial Research (IOBE), in cooperation with the Hellenic Association of Pharmaceutical Companies (SFEE) , presented today, during a special Press Conference, the publication “The pharmaceutical market in Greece: Facts & Figures 2019” as well as the main conclusions drawn from the study “The contribution of the pharma industry in the Greek economy”.

The main data, evolutions and trends in the field of medicines and health in general, both in Greece and Europe, are presented in this annual report “The pharmaceutical market in Greece: Facts & Figures 2019”. The emphasis is placed on the current challenges the sector is faced with, and the perspectives shaped in the broader sector of health.

The current report coincides with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic which has raised serious challenges in many countries in the world. Beyond the high toll in human lives, patients and excruciating pressure on the national health systems, the cease / restriction of economic activities in many sectors has brought about economic recession and soaring unemployment. The partial or total lockdown is expected to plummet most economies in 2020, the Greek one included, the various estimates on the depth of this recession varying. In a previous survey, based on the data available, IOBE had estimated an expected shrinkage of this year’s GDP by -5% up to -9% with a partial recovery in 2021… In any case, under the current circumstances the crisis is expected to have a serious negative impact on Greek economy, as will be the case for most countries in the world. At the same time, the European health systems are challenged to review the public funding policy for health expenditure, as the needs multiply and the pressure exerted on the overall health system will remain intense in the medium term.

These developments are also reflected on the usual challenges the domestic health sector is facing. The ever-worsening demographic data – with the constant births drop (by 34 thousand persons in 2018) and rise in the older population (above 65 years of age), from 21.9% of the general population in 2019 to 33.0% in 2060, lead to an increasing need for pharmaceutical and health care, this entailing an increased need for public financing in health and medical coverage. The private sector contribution has been significantly boosted, but it is not certain that this can be maintained at such high levels in an environment of long-term unemployment and revenues shrinkage.

In the field of medicines expenditure, the overall out-patient pharmaceutical expenditure in Greece is estimated at €3.9bil. in 2019 (of which only a mere €1.945 is funded by the public sector). The load of this expenditure was shifted to the patients and the private sector, the greatest part being undertaken by the pharma industry, through the compulsory clawbacks and rebates it incurs. The estimates on the overall sum of the pharma companies additional over-taxation reach €2bil. for 2020 alone!

Despite this important impact incurred due to the fiscal adjustment to public funding, pharmaceutical industries still spend significant sums on Research and Development (R&D), their share accounting for 5% of the overall private expenditure on R&D in Greece (2017), while 2,811 clinical trials were conducted until 2019, regardless of phase and type (1,604 completed). The production of pharmaceutical products reached the value of €1bil. in 2018, with the added value at €559mil. (3.0% share in the manufacturing sector). The jobs in the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry reached the number of 17.1th. persons in 2018, 60.6% of them being University graduates. Equally important is the role of the pharmaceutical sector in the overall external trade, since the pharmaceutical products exports rose to €1.9bil. in 2019, representing 4.4% of the overall Greek commodities exports in 2019.

IOBE also proceeded in a new estimation of the financial footprint of pharmaceutical sector on Greek economy. According to its most recent estimates, the overall contribution of the pharma industry in GDP terms is estimated at €6.9% (3.7% of the GDP) in 2018. Thus, for each €1 added value of the companies involved in the pharmaceutical sector another €3.1% are generated for the whole Greek economy. In terms of employment, each job in the pharmaceutical sector sustains another 3 equivalent full-time jobs in the economy. Finally, the impact on tax revenues from the pharma industry is estimated at circa €1.9bil.

In his speech the SFEE President, Mr. Olympios Papadimitriou, pointed out: “The pharmaceutical sector is one of strategic importance for our country, bearing a strong financial footprint. Both during the long economic crisis and recently, though the COVID-19 pandemic, it has proven that it is here to stay, securing sufficiency in medicines and covering all the pharmaceutical needs of the Greek patients and insured persons, supporting health professionals, maintaining many thousands of jobs, as well as the health system itself.  The sustainability of our sector, however, is threatened by the lack of predictability, over-taxation, lack of innovation, the partial and non-exhaustive implementation of the long-awaited, necessary and already legislated reforms. It can no longer endure such stress, because the sustainability of the national health system itself is thus under menace. We are currently at a critical conjuncture point for the country, public health, the economy and the pharma industry.  Greece is now given the opportunity to review and substantially modernise the structure of the national health care system. Historically, we have been presenting the governments with realistic and well documented proposals, as we have also recently done. We have recently presented a full-scale series of stances and proposals, encapsulated in 7 action pillars, which can contribute in shaping and implementing a national planning for Public Health. We hope that this time the governing authorities will pay heed to these proposals and will respond accordingly and immediately, because now the State has the opportunity to introduce a patient-centred sustainable pharma policy, acknowledge the important developmental potential of our sector and allow us to contribute in the recovery of national economy”.


_ The End _


The report and relevant presentations are available on the IOBE ( and SFEE (  websites.


For more information:

Maria Leontari, SFEE, Dir. Of Communication, 2106821040, [email protected]

Nancy Roussia, IOBE, Head of Press Bureau, 2109211200-10, [email protected]


See the salute of the President of SFEE, Mr. Olympios Papadimitriou, the presentation and the video of the Press Conference

The report is available on SFEE’s website:

Facts and Figures 2019 is accompanied by a special edition Infographics, which can also be found here.

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