Press Release

Meeting of SFEE and PEF with the Minister of Health:
The government and the pharmaceutical industry work together on solutions
to the benefit of Greek patients

Athens, 15 July 2016 – The challenges facing the pharmaceutical healthcare system and industry, as well as the urgent need to design and implement a sustainable pharmaceutical policy framework were the subject of a joint meeting held yesterday afternoon at the Ministry of Health between the industry, represented by the Hellenic Association of Pharmaceutical Companies (SFEE) and the Panhellenic Association of Pharmaceutical Industries (PEF), and the Minister of Health, Mr. Andreas Xanthos, Mr. Sotiris Bersimis, President of EOPYY, and Mr. Elias Giannoglou, Vice President of EOF.

At the meeting, which was conducted in a very friendly climate, the Health Minister Mr Xanthos outlined the accumulated problems and the changes that need to be made to pharmaceutical policy in the period ahead with a view to reducing expenditure and ensuring the sustainability of pharmaceutical care, primarily by controlling the volume of demand and establishing a rational pricing and reimbursement system.

The industry, on its part, pointed out the dysfunctions and problems caused by the lack of liquidity coupled with unrealistic rebate and clawback requirements. In response, Mr Xanthos confirmed the Ministry’s intention to streamline the payment of arrears to pharmaceutical companies.

Among the topics discussed were the problem of very tight pharmaceutical budgets, both for EOPYY and for hospitals, and various issues relating to pricing, in particular the distortions arising from reductions in the prices of old inexpensive medicines, prescribing, reimbursement and patient co-payment.

Other points of focus were: higher generic penetration to save resources for reimbursing new innovative treatments; the MoU commitment to reduce the clawback ceiling by at least 30% for 2017; and the need to secure additional funds, expected to be granted by the European Commission, for covering the healthcare needs of refugees.

The Minister indicated the need to design and implement a new pharmaceutical policy framework and underscored the criticality of the situation, calling on all stakeholders in the pharmaceutical supply chain and, notably, the medical community, to live up to their respective responsibilities. This was followed by the recognition that significant efforts are being made to mitigate distortions and that the relevant government agencies should be reinforced with properly qualified staff to ensure a faster rationalisation of the system.

Concluding, Mr. Xanthos assured the industry of the Ministry’s intention to move ahead with the issue of disclosure of transfers of value from pharmaceutical companies to healthcare professionals.