Greece making drugmakers cover overspending on meds

Greek officials have landed their latest blow against the pharmaceutical industry in a mad dash to limit spending on prescription drugs. The struggling country's parliament has passed legislation that puts drugmakers on the hook for bills that exceed a lowered ceiling on drug spending.  

The legislation states that Greece--whose series of austerity measures have been made under terms of its €130 billion bailout from major creditors--can spend no more than €2.88 billion annually on drug spending, PharmaTimes reported. If the rate of drug spending exceeds the target limit at the end of each quarter, the plan is to send drugmakers the bill for any overspending.

Greece is also mandating that as of April 1 doctors prescribe generic meds from the 10 most oft-used classes of drugs, expanding that same requirement to all therapeutic classes starting June 1, PharmaTimes reported. The goal is to raise the percentage of generic meds clinicians order in Greece from around 18% of all prescriptions to 50% this year.

The EU and IMF have asked Greece to lower drug spending to around 1% of GDP. However, the Greek National Organization for Medicines called that target unrealistic, The Economist reported, and chopping annual drug spending down to €2.88 billion would put the country on track to shelling out about 1.4% of its GDP on prescription meds.

- get more in the PharmaTimes article
- and the report from The Economist