[Ip-health] Reuters: Greece lifts ban on re-export of medicines | Business | ekathimerini.com

Jamie Love james.love at keionline.org
Mon Sep 14 10:19:27 PDT 2015


​September 10, 2015

​Greece has lifted a ban on the re-export of medicines, which had been
imposed for certain drugs in July at the height of concerns about possible
shortages that risked leading to a humanitarian crisis.

The National Medicines Agency said the temporary block on wholesalers
buying drugs in Greece and selling them at higher prices elsewhere in
Europe had been ended.

Such exports, known as parallel trade, are permitted under European Union
free trade rules but Greece imposed an exceptional ban on the export of 25
types of drugs two months ago following warnings of possible serious

Officials said at the time that “abuses” by some market players had been
discovered, after pharmacists complained of difficulties in securing

Nearly all Greek medicine is imported, heightening fears that life-saving
drugs might run out as Greece teetered on the brink of an exit from the
euro zone earlier this year.

Before the temporary ban, drugmakers and wholesalers had traded blame about
who was responsible for a worsening supply situation at pharmacies and

In a statement published on its website, dated Sept. 8, the medicines
agency said it would continue to monitor the situation and could take
further action if a supply problem re-occurred.

It said both drugmakers and wholesalers had an obligation to “ensure
appropriate and continued supplies to pharmacies and persons authorised to
supply medicinal products to meet the needs of patients who are in Greece”.
Pharmaceutical manufacturers face large unpaid bills in Greece but have
promised to keep supply lines open. Reuters reported in May that companies
were owed more than $1.2 billion by Greek hospitals and the state-run
health insurer, after not being paid since December.

The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations has
argued for a curb on re-exports to prevent medicines being sucked out of
the country.

But the European Association of Euro Pharmaceutical Companies, representing
firms involved in parallel trade, says this is a ploy by drugmakers to
exploit the Greek crisis for their own commercial purposes.


James Love.  Knowledge Ecology International
KEI DC tel: +1.202.332.2670, US Mobile: +1.202.361.3040, Geneva Mobile:
+41.76.413.6584, twitter.com/jamie_love

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