[Ip-health] Pharma Times on new Greece law on pharma reimbursements

Jamie Love james.love at keionline.org
Mon Mar 5 11:05:03 PST 2012

This is a report on the ongoing developments in Greece, regarding drug
pricing and reimbursement policies.   PhRMA has filed extensive
comments on Greece in its recent USTR Special 301 filing.



New Greek law says industry must cover pharma overspend


Greece's parliament has passed major new pharmaceutical
cost-containment  legislation which will require drugmakers to cover,
each quarter, any overspending on the strict limits which the bill
sets for the national drugs bill.

The new law - which passed on a 213-58 vote, with a number of deputies
abstaining - states that overall drugs spending by Greece's social
insurance funds must not exceed 2.88 billion euros for this year.

The legislation also mandates that, from April 1, clinicians must
prescribe medicines from the 10 most-widely used therapeutic classes
by generic name only, and from June 1 this requirement will apply to
all products on Greece's positive reimbursement list. The funds will
reimburse at the level of the cheapest product in each class, and any
cost difference between this and the product supplied will have to be
paid for by the patient.

Moreover, "inappropriate" prescribing - ie, of medicines by other than
their generic name, and not of the cheapest product available - will
now be classed as a criminal offence, according to local reports.
Generics currently account for just 18% of the pharmaceutical market
in Greece, one of the lowest levels in the European Union (EU), and
the latest measures aim to bring this up to the EU average of 50%.
Health Minister Andreas Loverdos - who says he intends to slice a
massive one billion euros off the nation's drug spending in a single
year - has condemned a "coalition of interests" for allegedly
attempting to cast doubts on the quality and safety of generics with
the aim of hindering their wider uptake in Greece; however,
counterfeit drugs are a significantly greater problem for Greece than
for other EU nations.

The new law also seeks to save money by mandating the use of
computerised prescriptions, with the imposition of a 1-euro fine on
doctors for each hand-written prescription, and deregulation of
pharmacy opening hours.

The legislation constitutes a requirement by the EU, the European
Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) -
Greece's  "troika" of creditors - for agreeing a second bailout of 130
billion euros for Greece.

It is also reported that Yiannis Tounta, president of Greece's
National Organisation of Medicines (EOF) has been in talks with the
troika concerning moves to delay the introduction into Greece of
innovative new medicines until the products have been accepted for
reimbursement by 8-10 other EU member states. Cancer drugs would be
excluded from the proposals.
Commenting on the new legislation, analysts at IHS Global Inslght say
that the requirement for pharmaceutical companies to pay back any
spending above the stated limit in each quarter is "very negative."
This is especially so given that many multinational and Greek
drugmakers are owed considerable amounts, by the public hospitals in
particular, and that the multinationals which have been paid in Greek
government bonds have seen their value plummet, they note.

• A number of decrees concerning implementation of some of the major
measures contained within the cost-containment legislation are
expected to be announced shortly.

James Love.  Knowledge Ecology International
http://www.keionline.org, +1.202.332.2670, US Mobile: +1.202.361.3040,
Geneva Mobile: +41.76.413.6584, efax: +1.888.245.3140.  Sometimes I am
using my MaxRoam number: +447937390810

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