Medicines, AIDS Drugs, Run Low in Greece

With Greece running out of cash as it awaits a long-delayed $38.8 billion loan installment from international lenders, hospitals are running out of medicine, including drugs to treat AIDS patients, doctors said.

There are shortages of up to 100 medicines, pharmacists added, as doctors at the Tzaneio Hospital in Piraeus warned of a lack of antiretroviral drugs to treat people with HIV, the newspaper Kathimerini reported.

They said hey were no longer able to administer antiretroviral drugs as they had run out and the hospital did not have any more money to place new orders. They asked the Health Ministry what to do next.

Theodoros Abatzoglou, the head of the Panhellenic Pharmacists’ Association, said there are partial shortages or in some cases a complete lack of medicines largely because pharmaceutical companies are exporting their drugs because they can make a bigger profit, as public spending on medicines in Greece is being slashed.

A logjam in the system has also resulted from the failure of the National Organization for Healthcare Provision (EOPYY) to settle its debts with pharmacists, who are unable to get hold of medicines from suppliers because they are demanding up-front payment. Abatzoglou said that EOPYY owes pharmacies 120 million euros ($155.7 million) for August and 125 million ($162 million) for September. Some 300 million euros ($389.2 million) in bills from 2011 have yet to be settled as well.


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