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Greeks feel effects of drug shortages caused by austerity measures

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 21 May 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e3589
  1. Elizabeth Sukkar
  1. 1London

Greece has a shortage of some 300 drugs because of the austerity measures and national debt, the national pharmacists’ organisation has said. Drugs affected include insulins, anticoagulants, antidiabetes drugs, and anticancer drugs.

Dimitris Karageorgiou, secretary general of the Pan Hellenic Pharmaceutical Association, which represents 12 000 pharmacies, told the BMJ: “Citizens are suffering. There are great shortages. Patients are going from one doctor to another to find one that will prescribe and going from one pharmacist to another to find medicines. A good pharmacist has become one who can be a good hunter and track down a medicine for a patient.”

Karageorgiou attributes the shortages to various factors, including the fact that drug companies want payments in cash, the effects of “parallel exports” (whereby drugs that are cheaper in Greece than in other …

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