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Private pharmacies stop providing free medications

02 April 2010 / 10:04:02  GRReporter
2947 reads

V. Mindova

The debts of the health insurance bureaus to the Greek pharmacies are over 100 million euro. From the Greek pharmaceutical association they announced they will stop the supply of free medications to four of the major bureaus-debtors. The people insured at the Bureau of the liberal professions (OAEE), the Bureau of the electrical supply and the two tea commercial banks Pireus and Emporiki will receive their free medications. The restrictive measure is put in practice since the first of April this year and it is expected to last until the end of this month.

“Most of the bureaus do not cash the already issued prescriptions since November last year. Due to the indecorousness of the social security bureaus we have to take consumer loans from the banks in order to cover our liabilities towards the pharmaceutical companies and the suppliers. The problem exists for years, however recently the social security companies stopped paying their debts to us”, says Hrisula Armatoulu – an owner of a small family pharmacy located on Halepa square in the neighborhood Patisia.

The neighborhood pharmacy on Halepa square has been working for the past 20 years and is a type of a social center where the elder citizens of the Athenian neighborhood pass by not only to buy the necessary medications, but also for an advise or a short break. Mrs. Hrisula has personal contact with most of her clients and takes care of their physical state – she takes their blood pressure, follows the progress of their various health problems and always helps them in need. Stopping the “free” medications is an extreme measure for the 6500 private pharmacists as Hrisula Armatoulu, however as she says it herself – things have come to a pass. For a very long period of time the security bureaus have only paid a percentage of the amounts they owe and in many cases they have returned the documents in order to delay the payment. The pharmacists owe money to the banks and are paying high interests because of the free medications they have provided. In most of the cases we are talking about medications of immediate necessity for the citizens who have paid for years their health insurance installments in private and public health insurance bureaus.

Regardless of the difficult situation the private pharmacists are in, the position of the Minister of employment and social security Andreas Loverdos is firm: “If the private pharmacists do not wish to provide any more free medications, they are free to do so. We will not give away to a blackmailing. We will send the people who are insured to the pharmacies in the hospitals. This of course could cause some inconvenience, however there is nothing else we could do.”

Tags: pharmacies Economy Markets
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