General Assembly of SFEE – Resolution
SFEE’s EXTRAORDINARY GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Athens, June 26th, 2020
Subject: «The pharmaceutical sector as catalyst for a sustainable and human-centred National
Health System and pillar for growth and employment»
Athens, June 30, 2020. – At a most critical conjecture, not only for the health system but also for the country itself, the whole pharmaceutical in solid voices its concern about the exacerbation of the conditions governing the field of medicines and its conviction that 2020 should at last be the year when a strong, sustainable and patient-centred National Health System should be secured, with a Pharmaceutical Policy operating to the benefit of the patient and Greek economy.
This year’s Assembly General is held while the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing and severely challenging practically every single state in the world. Governments reallocate funds for Health and Greece should follow suit. COVID-19 pandemic and its negative effects came along to further aggravate the problems faced by the medicinal industry in Greece, which now become more intense. The cap in the pharmaceutical expenditure, insufficient for the coverage of the needs of the domestic population, the excessive direct and indirect charges, the unbridled clawback, the lack of predictability and stability, the delay in launching new medicines in the country, constitute immediate threats to the sustainability of pharma companies and the access of patients to new as well as established treatments. In addition to all that, the deteriorating demographic data, with the historic increase of the population of seniors and chronic patients as well as the aspiration for the advent of a vaccine and/or treatment for COVID-19, entail an increased need for public funding of health and pharmaceutical expenditure.
The overall out-patient pharmaceutical expenditure will rise to €3.9bil. for 2019, of which a mere €1.945 mil. consists of public funds, while the rest burdens mainly the pharma companies and the patients. The situation in hospitals is even worse; pharma companies share the burden with the State on equal footing, since patients have no participation in hospital expenses. However, the sub-funding of the health system has not affected the patients’ access to their treatments to date, because the pharmaceutical companies, through clawbacks and rebates, have absorbed the greatest part of the overruns. The estimates on the aggregate over-taxation of pharmaceutical companies in Greece reach €2 bil. for 2020, compared to €1.8 bil. for 2019! The pharma policy implemented to date threatens not only pharmaceutical companies but also Public Health itself, and it constitutes the main impediment to the further contribution of the sector to the economic development of the country. It is characteristic that 3 successive Reviews of the Enhanced Supervision Committee point out the existence of the clawback mechanism and the ensuing moral hazard.
It is now time to modernise the Health System and secure the sustainability of the public pharmaceutical care:
1) Through the resetting of public pharmaceutical expenditure on the basis of the epidemiological data of our country and the real needs of the population.
2) Through the vaccines exemption from the public pharmaceutical expenditure and the introduction of a separate line for disease prevention (€ 200 mil.). The imminent advent of the earmarking of COVID-19 vaccine next year imposes the creation of special, additional budgetary line for vaccination.
3) Through the removal of barriers to access of innovative treatments, new medicines and vaccines (including the one for COVID-19), such as the 25% entry levy for newly launched medicines, and of rigidities/delays in the introduction of new medicines (rational and speedy operation of the Health Technology Assessment Committees and Negotiation Committee).
Fully aware of our role as a responsible social partner, we have recently submitted the SFEE proposal for a strong National Health System and a Pharmaceutical Policy respecting the patient and positively affecting Greek economy. Our proposal is the fruit of an in-depth thorough study and our long experience while it also takes into consideration international and national data. It constitutes a comprehensive complex of pragmatic and integrated proposals, structured in 7 action pillars:
- The resetting of the Pharmaceutical Budget which – according to the current situation and – is insufficient and doesn’t cover the real needs of the country.
- The boosting of the efforts for the improvement of efficiency, as a prerequisite in order to acquire a rational and efficient Public Health System.
- The reassessment of the clawback mechanism, which continuously soars unstopped and unbridled, thus constituting a main threat to the sustainability of the system.
- The boosting of patients’ access to innovative treatments.
- The developmental dimension of the sector and promotion of investments.
- The further exploitation of digital technologies in the operation and governance of all organisations involved in the value chain of the Greek health care.
- The promotion of a strong cooperation framework between the Pharma industry and the State, with a view to promoting social responsibility and solidarity.
Our message to the State is simple and crystal clear: The contribution of our sector in particularly significant. In GDP terms, it is estimated at €6.9 bil. (3.7% of GDP) in 2018. For each €1 of added value of the companies active in the pharma industry another €3.1 are generated for the Greek economy as a whole. We invite the government to implement a sustainable, patient-centred pharmaceutical policy, acknowledge the important development prospects of our industry, establish co-responsibility in the excess of the pharma expenditure and allow us to assist the recovery of national economy, investments increase and employment boosting.
- THE END –