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Greek pharmacies lack essential medicine: Athens Pharmaceutical Association

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Oct 27, 2022 - 01:08 AM

​​​​​​​ATHENS (AA) – Greek pharmacies are facing a severe shortage of several essential medicines, the Athens pharmaceutical association said Wednesday.

Antibiotics, antidiabetics, antiepileptics and antidepressants are some of the more than 400 drugs that are hard to find on the shelves of pharmacies, according to the group.

President of the Panhellenic Pharmaceutical Association, Apostolos Valtas, told the Kathimerini newspaper that the main reason for the shortage is increasing parallel exports. Greece has the lowest prices for medicine in the EU. Selling to other countries means a huge profit for drug distributors.

“The profit of pharmacies for the preparations they distribute is set at 4.67% in Greece, which can be multiplied when distributors sell the preparations abroad. Based on the price at which the preparations are sold abroad, the profit for a very common collyrium eye wash reaches 189%, for a preparation for asthma it climbs to 106.7%, and 80% for a preparation for migraine and a staggering 277% for a muscle relaxant,” said Valtas.

“The shortage is huge,” assistant pharmacist Anna Kostantinidi told Anadolu Agency.

“We are desperate as we don’t know how to cover the needs of our clients, especially of the elderly and the ones that have a serious condition” she added.

Kostantinidi said her pharmacy struggles daily to supply customers with essential medicine, including antibiotics and insulin. She said managers do not know what to do to fix the supply issue.

“Everyone blames the other for this shortage … the pharmaceuticals blame the distributors and vice versa.”

Pharmaceutical companies claim they have sent medicine to the distributors and the distributors claim their quantity received is not enough to fill the orders and not all pharmacies can be supplied, said Kostantinidi.

But pharmaceutical companies have reduced the quantities they sell to Greece because the medicine they distribute to Greece ends up in other European countries, according to the newspaper.

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