SFEE’S New Year Cake-Cutting ceremony: making 2019 a year of cooperation guided by the benefit of patients and a vision for grow
SFEE’S New Year Cake-Cutting ceremony: making 2019 a year of cooperation guided by the benefit of patients and a vision for growth
Priority should be given to adequate funding and job creation
Athens, 30 January 2019 – On Tuesday, 29 January 2019, the Hellenic Association of Pharmaceutical Companies (SFEE) held its New Year Cake-Cutting ceremony at Aigli Zappeiou, Athens, attended by Government and Opposition officials and representatives of institutional bodies and the health industry.
In his address, SFEE President Mr. Olympios Papadimitriou noted that 2019 is in many ways a milestone year, with many developments in all areas. In the new reality that has emerged after Greece’s exit from the adjustment programs, the Greek economy is poised to embark on a path of growth. The pharmaceutical industry is already making a decisive contribution to achieving the national targets and is one of the most important pillars of the National Economy, contributing 3.5% to gross domestic product (GDP), supporting 26,000 jobs directly and a multiple of that figure indirectly and accounting for 18% of total R&D expenditure. At the same time, it is the country’s third largest exporter. A major obstacle to the industry’s further contribution to Greece’s economic growth is the health policy, in particular the pharmaceutical policy, implemented so far.
Taking stock of the past year, SFEE President stated: “Once again, a lot of time and energy was spent on the reallocation of clawback and the increase in the rebate, although the focus should have been on containing pharmaceutical expenditure overruns. Compulsory rebates and discounts will exceed €1.4 billion in 2018 (compared with €1.2 billion in 2017). Our contribution to total expenditure is over 35%, which is four times the European average! Today, we were updated by our members on the clawback they are required to pay for 1A EOPYY-distributed medicines. More specifically, for the first half of 2018, with expenditure at €27.900 million, the overrun came to €50 million! One can wonder how a 70% rebate can possibly be expected. Meanwhile, there seems to be an attempt to punish growth, with 25% of the clawback (instead of the currently applicable 10%) burdening companies that achieve growth. Is this how we reward innovation? Ultimately, the big loser will be the real economy and, along with it, patients and industry workers and partners.”
Mr. Papadimitriou made a clear point stating that “2019 and the period ahead will be a tough test for our industry, for innovation, as well for patients, with potential repercussions and painful effects on public health.”
SFEE President concluded: “Our wish for 2019 is that we continue to be guided by the benefit of patients and awareness that this relies on the existence of viable and growing pharmaceutical companies and the cooperation of all stakeholders, a cooperation informed by full respect for patients’ needs and a vision for growth “.
In his address, the Minister of Health, Mr. Andreas Xanthos, pointed out that the pharmaceutical landscape is changing gradually but steadily. The Minister mentioned the efforts towards more transparency in pricing, HTA and negotiation mechanisms, modern protocols and registers, disclosure of data on medical conferences, and restoration of regular payments to suppliers. “Of course there is also the well-known problem of the expenditure overrun and the higher clawback,” said Mr. Xanthos, adding that:
“There is a need to:
- speed up the implementation of structural measures to rationalize demand and control spending;
- gradually expand the closed-end budgets (the first step was taken in 2019 with an additional €45 million in hospital pharmaceutical expenditure) and improve clawback allocation;
- change the pricing policy mix. The framework we have set out is acceptable to the social partners (the pharmaceutical industry), but also to the institutions responsible for post-programme surveillance”.
The Minister also noted that a key priority is to gradually alleviate the financial burden on citizens, with the ultimate goal of ensuring their access to any medically justified treatment at the lowest possible cost. Mr. Xanthos concluded: “In the new post-programme environment, we are correcting the distortions caused by horizontal measures; we are putting in place a more stable, predictable and sustainable framework in the area of pharmaceuticals; and we are shielding the healthcare system.”
Short addresses and wishes for the new year were also given by: the MPs Mr. Vassilis Economou (New Democracy, shadow health minister), Mr. Kostas Barkotas, Movement for Change, responsible for the health sector, Mr. Vasilis Leventis, President of the Union of Centrists, and Mr Georgios Mavrotas, Vice-President of Potami; Mr. Theodoros Tryfon, President of the Panhellenic Association of Pharmaceutical Industries (PEF); Mr. Makis Papataxiarchis, President of the Pharma Innovation Forum (PIF); Mr. Michalis Vlastarakos, President of the Panhellenic Medical Association; Mr. Kyriakos Theodosiadis, President of the Panhellenic Pharmacists Association (PFS); and Mr. Chris Daramilas, President of the Panhellenic Federation of Diabetes Patient Associations (P.O.S.S.A.S.DIA.).
The ceremony, attended by the entire Board of the Association, was officiated by the Reverend Father Isidoros Tsorvas, Archimandrite and Chairman of the Council of the Holy Church of Panagia Marmariotissa, Halandri, on behalf of His Beatitude the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos.