Access to medicine in Greece:
Some elements to evaluate the situation on the ground
1. There exists an access to medicine problem in Greece. Over the last three years of austerity measures and economic crisis significant portions of the population have been excluded from adequate health-care and medical treatments.The introduction of strong measures of co-payment for important medicines is also a cause of exclusion from key treatments.
2. There have been clear problems both on the supply side (lack of payment, parallel trade) and on the demand side with regards to the lack of rational use of medicines.
3. Structural problems in medicine market compared to most other EU states. There is still quite a large share of the market occupied by originator-patented drugs while the prices of generic medicines are still relatively high.
4. Low social acceptance of generic drugs. An important part of Greek public opinion question the quality of generic products and insist upon receiving originator brands.
5. “Innovative medicines” are not being given price authorization by the Greek State and they often are not available.
6. Important lack of key medicines due to the unpaid debts by the Greek State and parallel trade that has led to stock shortages.
7. Some cancer treatments are specially insufficient with comorbidity being a major issue, as well as unaffordability of certain drugs, such as Herceptin, for breast cancer.
8. There is major health stress among the immigrant population due to their exclusion from most public health treatments.
9. There are indications of a major lack of coverage in the vaccination and other problems of health-care for children.
10. The State health system is increasingly economically unsustainable due to the high unemployment that limits revenue.