Greeks Panic As Drug Firms Slash Medicine Supplies By 90% On Bad Debts

Tyler Durden's picture

Greece is facing a serious shortage of medicines amid claims that pharmaceutical multinationals have halted shipments to the country because of the economic crisis and, as The Guardian reports, concerns that the drugs will be exported by middlemen because prices are higher in other European countries. Rubbing further salt into the Greek (un-medicated) wound, the Red Cross slashed its supply of donor blood to Greece because it had not paid its bills on time. Pharmacies in Greece describe chaotic scenes as clients desperately search from shop to shop for much-needed drugs. Greece's Pharmaceutical Association said "around 300 drugs are in very short supply," adding that "It's a disgrace. The companies are ensuring that they come in dribs and drabs to avoid prosecution. Everyone is really frightened." The fear for the multinationals remains that wholesalers can legally sell to other nations at higher prices and a "combination of Greece's low medicine prices and unpaid debt by the state." Lines form early and 'get very aggressive' one pharmacy exclaimed, "We have reached a tragic point."

Via The Guardian,

Greece is facing a serious shortage of medicines amid claims that pharmaceutical multinationals have halted shipments to the country because of the economic crisis and concerns that the drugs will be exported by middlemen because prices are higher in other European countries.


Hundreds of drugs are in short supply and the situation is getting worse, according to the Greek drug regulator. The government has drawn up a list of more than 50 pharmaceutical companies it accuses of halting or planning to halt supplies because of low prices in the country.




Separately, it was announced on Tuesday that the Swiss Red Cross was slashing its supply of donor blood to Greece because it had not paid its bills on time.


Chemists in Athens describe chaotic scenes with desperate customers going from pharmacy to pharmacy to look for prescription drugs that hospitals could no longer dispense.




"Companies are ceasing these supplies because Greece is not profitable for them and they are worried that their products will be exported by traders to other richer countries through parallel trade as Greece has the lowest medicine prices in Europe," said Professor Yannis Tountas, the president of the Greek drug regulator, the National Organisation for Medicines.




The body representing pharmacists, the Panhellenic Pharmaceutical Association, confirmed the shortages. "I would say supplies are down by 90%," said Dimitris Karageorgiou, its secretary general. "The companies are ensuring that they come in dribs and drabs to avoid prosecution. Everyone is really frightened. Customers tell me they are afraid [about] losing access to medication altogether." He said many also worried insurance coverage would dry up.


"Around 300 drugs are in very short supply and they include innovative drugs, medications for cancer patients and people suffering from clinical depression," said Karageorgiou. "It's a disgrace. The government is panic-stricken and the multinationals only think about themselves and the issue of parallel trade because wholesalers can legally sell them to other European nations at a higher price."




"the reasons being a combination of Greece's low medicine prices and unpaid debt by the state", he said.



"Lines will form in the early morning or late at night when you're on duty," said Karageorgiou, who is based in Thessaloniki. "And when the drugs aren't available, which is often the case, people get very aggressive. I'm on duty tonight and know there will be screaming and shouting but in the circumstances I also understand. We have reached a tragic point."


Greece's social insurance funds and hospitals owe pharmaceutical companies about €1.9bn (£1.6bn), a debt going back to 2011, with companies expecting payments of €500m this month.


Some companies admitted they were not supplying some medicines.




The pharmaceutical industry says many shortages are because of products being exported through parallel trade, and has urged the government to address set drug prices. Under EU trade rules, the free movement of goods is allowed. So for example, while a pharmaceutical company may sell a medicine to a wholesaler or pharmacist in Greece, the wholesaler or pharmacist can sell these medicines on to wholesalers in other countries. Parallel traders do this to make money on the price differences between countries.


"The government needs to correct these wrong prices to avoid a surge of exportation. Greece's drug prices are 20% or more lower than the lowest prices in Europe," said Konstantinos, who is also the general manager of Novartis in Greece.



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Glass Seagull's picture

Big pharma long the sov greek CDS in their cash mgmt arms?

pashley1411's picture

Wish the language here would clear up.   "economic crisis"   bullshit    I'll bet if you went down the docks and tried to exchange a few cannisters of gas for fish, the "economy" would work just fine.   

There are fewer medicines in Greece for those who were relying on government to foot part of the bill because the government ran out of money.   Just say it, "the government ran out of money".    There, isn't that bettter?    And if you had enough money, you could probably get any drug on the planet even into the most remote Greek inlet.   Its the "relying on the government' part of the thing that isn't working so hot.  

Statists are winning because people repeat slogans.     

gaoptimize's picture

The avatar and the word "cut" shouldn't be used together.

Snoopy the Economist's picture

...maybe bs stands for ball sack...

Totentänzerlied's picture

The government can't really run out of money until the economy "runs out of productivity" seeing as governments have an unlimited present and future claim on all economic productivity in their polity. They ran out of money because the economy ceased to be productive AND they happen to have entered into an arrangement whereby they can't just debase their currency at will. Silly Greek government.

Dr. Engali's picture

Damn..looks like I need to add viagra to my list of things to stock up on before shit hits the fan and we are all Greeks.

BandGap's picture

Are you willing to trade for gold/silver? Viagra will be a great barter item.

This is no Shazaam! moment. the Greeks are 3+ years behind in paying for pharmaceuticals. They paid for them last year with government bonds that were worth 0.60 on the dollar. This is just the next step down the road.



lolmao500's picture

So how long before the scummy politicians, their banksters friends and big pharma get charged with MURDER??? Because that's what they are doing to hundreds if not thousands of people by cutting off medicine supplies.

Draft the people who need medicine right now or are gonna die and send them to off politicians and banksters. They have LITERALLY nothing to lose.

SmackDaddy's picture

That second thought was interesting.  But they can take even in death, I'm afraid.  And your family will be the ones that pay.

ElvisDog's picture

But the drugs are being paid for or subsidized by the government, and the government has run out of money. Are you suggesting the pharma companies just give their drugs to the Greeks? Or maybe the Germans and Austrians could pay higher prices so the Greeks can get their meds for free? Why don't some enterprising Greeks set up their own drug manufacturing companies inside Greece? All these stupid fucking sheeple worldwide blinking their eyes in disbelief - just because some dickwad politician promises you a benefit doesn't mean they can pay for it.

lolmao500's picture

I'm just saying the Greek government should stop subsidizing those drugs immediately and cut whatever is necessary in the budget and pay the hospitals bills to make sure people don't die.

ElvisDog's picture

What I think the Greek goverment should do is to make a list of the drugs that are truly necessary to keep people alive and put all of their drug benefit resources into those drugs. And then eliminate government subsidizes for all the other non-life-sustaining drugs. People would realize pretty quickly that they really can live without the "purple pill"

Totentänzerlied's picture

Only if they get their stupid fucking government out of the way can enterprising Greeks start to do anything other than be thrown in jail for trying to be enterprising, and international medical aid including donated medicine can begin to arrive. 

Competing with the government's monopoly on healthcare is a felony. Socialized medicine is great!

BurningFuld's picture

We tossed all that shit out of our emergency rooms in Canada like 7 or 8 years ago.  Emergency emergency...I'm in pain for some unknown reason!!!  Ya OK.

philipat's picture

"Looks like I picked the RIGHT day to quit doing amphetamines..."

And don't call me Shirley...


Haus-Targaryen's picture

Greeks -


Depose your government.  Elect either Syriza or Golden Dawn or quit whining.  Seriously.  This is just getting annoying.

Escapedgoat's picture

Syriza AND Golden Dawn are PART  of the system. The First is stuffed full of ex-PASOK  Shit. and the Former are the Dogs that bark but don't Bite. The Greeks are fooked either way, unless they do a Bepe Grillo. And Lastly but not least hang all the current Greek Politicians, and I mean ALL, and the Former ones

Haus-Targaryen's picture

I am in full support of any party, either establishment or non-establishment that would bring down the Euro Ecosystem.

ElvisDog's picture

No fucking kidding. The Greeks re-elect the Euro-whore lackeys and then complain when things don't get better. Hey Greeks, grow a sack and re-declare your independence.

jover's picture

1st world
2nd world

3rd world

lolmao500's picture

Then there's Greece, 4th world.

Sudden Debt's picture

Today my boss asked me a question.

It was like:

Boss: You did drugs when you where young right?

Me: How do you mean?

Boss: You know, weed and stuff.

Me: well...

Boss: My kids told me he's smoking weed...

Me: Oh! that's not a bad drug, it's actually healthy and...

Boss: And now he said he wanted to grow some plants because it's to expensive....

Me: well it's not that expensive, it's only....

Boss: He's growing the entire greenhouse with these plants...

Me: Well... that's euuuhhhh.....

Me: Maybe he want's to be a entrepreneur?

Boss: glass look....

Me: Well... it's not as bas as long as he doesn't start taking pills and stuff so...

Boss: glass look....


lolmao500's picture

Me: Well... it's not as bas as long as he doesn't start taking pills and stuff so...

Or he ends up in prison for 25 years... and his whole family too since it's their home.

DOT's picture

Wrong country. War on Drugs is an export from the US that many countries just don't want.

IamtheREALmario's picture

So, what will the drug companies do when the rest of Europe and the US are burinng? Will they cut off drugs to the rest of Europe and the US as well.

Seems counter-productive to their business plan.... lol.

Sudden Debt's picture

Life saving medicine will always be available for a few ounces of silver....

and who doesn't own silver these days?...


DOT's picture

Silver salts are also an excellent disinfectant. (expect some skin discoloration)

ElvisDog's picture

Well, the brilliance of Big Pharma is that once you start a lot of these drugs you can never stop them or really bad things happen to you.

suteibu's picture

A world hooked on drugs.  History will note that the Opium War II began in Greece.

HD's picture

"I learned it by watching you!" Parents who use drugs, have children who use drugs.

Is there anything the 1980's can't teach us?

DOT's picture

Must be genetic. Parents who inherit wealth have children who inherit wealth.

Canucklehead's picture

It doesn't always work that way...

theleak's picture

At least the greek market is up.....

Yen Cross's picture

 We are all getting a fantastic glimpse of what we can expect from Obamacare in the not so distant future.

moonstears's picture

Note to Greeks: (allegedly) Rockingfellow family or associate on boards at 80+% of big Pharma. Now you know who to blame??

moonstears's picture

Look, a rockingfellow down arrow! Hey, your grandad was brilliant, you all, not so sure that's the case. Reap your whirlwind motherfuckers!

Gordon Freeman's picture

Let's see:  First they lowered the price of their products far below that which others had to pay.  Then, the beneficiaries of this artificial giveaway would not even pay the lower price, and stiffed them for billions of $$$. are the pharmas at fault here?

ElvisDog's picture

And, the other big problem is that the Greek government is fixing the price of drugs at 20% lower than surrounding countries. Gee, what could possibly go wrong with doing that in a small country next to lots of other coutries and drugs are small and easy to transport? You can make a 20% profit by selling your Greek drugs in the next country over. Idiots.

Totentänzerlied's picture

They probably cart out their MPs once a week to do the whole "EEEEEVIL SPECULATORS" speech, only about drugs and gov bonds instead of gasoline.

NoWayJose's picture

If the people actually paid for the drugs the supply chain would not be broken because that money would get to the suppliers. The reason this is a problem is that the people expect to get the drugs for free, with the government paying the suppliers and social insurers. Sort of like where Obamacare is heading.

Jason T's picture

Larouche was on to something about globalization..  40 seconds to 1:40 ...

SmallerGovNow2's picture

awesome, thanks for the link....

sawman's picture

This is why Dimon is richer than you - Sociopathic scum bag. Hope he burns in hell.

ElvisDog's picture

Jamie Dimon fucks super models, drinks $5000 bottle of wine, and vacations in places that you will never see. He can afford the best possible medical care and is protected 24/7 by armed body guards. He will die peacefully in his sleep on his private island, and he will regret nothing because he is 100% sure that he is better than you. That is reality.

Stuck on Zero's picture

No drugs or modern pharmaceuticals?  Everyone will be so much healthier.


lolmao500's picture

How many are gonna die from this?? Are many are gonna be prosecuted for murder because of this? If you answered ``several thousands`` to the first question and ``ZERO`` to the second question, you would be right.

Non Passaran's picture

Single market, bitchez