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Health ministers have agreed on joint vaccination procurements for the entire European Union

29 April 2014 / 18:04:07  GRReporter
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Anastasia Balezdrova

In late June, the European Union member states would sign a contract for joint vaccination procurements in order to save money, as stated at an informal meeting of European Union health ministers in Athens. Relevant Commissioner Tonio Borg said that the involvement in the agreement is voluntary, adding, "My indications are that almost everyone is on board. I would like this to happen although it is a voluntary process. We are discussing with some states that are asking questions to settle some of their legal problems so that, under the Greek Presidency, one of the legacies will be the joint procurement," he said during the press conference after the meeting.

Greek Minister of Health Adonis Georgiadis said in turn that Athens fully supports this initiative, explaining that he and his colleagues had discussed other issues related to the reduction of costs in the health sector. One of them was electronic prescribing for which Greece received a good assessment by Commissioner Borg.


"No health care system in Europe is sustainable unless it is reformed. My feeling is that the reforms in the Greek health care sector, whether they are painful or not, have yielded positive results. The introduction of electronic prescribing with the help of other states like Sweden has created one of the most advanced systems, thus saving about 2 million euro in medicine costs," said Borg.

He also pointed out that there is still much room for improvement, not only in Greece but also in other member states. "My colleague from the UK said something that is not even a subject of discussion in his country whereas here we still argue whether it is right or wrong. The fact is that 83% of the drugs prescribed there are generic whereas this figure in Greece is only 20%," the Greek Minister of Health said in support of his words. He added that due to the reform, all Greek citizens, even the uninsured ones, have access to primary health care.

The press conference made it clear that the European Ministers of Health had also discussed the key issue related to the large migrant flows to specific countries and its impact on public health and health services.

"The Greek Presidency has raised this issue because migration cannot be the burden of one country alone. It is a common European issue and therefore the funding coming from the European Union has to go to those countries which are facing most problems and difficulties in handling the migration flows," stressed the Greek Minister.

According to him, Greece has spent 150 million euro for health services to immigrants over the past years. Georgiadis said that Greece should receive from the European Union funds a larger portion of the 2 billion euro planned to address related problems in order for it to be able to solve these issues.

Tags: PoliticsGreek PresidencyEuropean UnionHealth ministersVaccinesImmigrantsReformsTonio BorgAdonis Georgiadis
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