Pharma Leaders: ‘Grexit’ Could Trigger Public Health Crisis
Leading pharmaceutical companies have warned that if Greece exits from the Eurozone, it could disrupt the distribution of crucial medicines and trigger a public health crisis.
In a letter to the European Commission, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) characterized the drug supply chain for Greece as particularly fragile. They warned that an abrupt withdrawal from the euro could cut off many Greeks’ access to life-saving treatments.
On Monday, pharma giants Roche, Novartis, Pfizer and Sanofi met and agreed to maintain the flow of drugs into Greece for at least one month. EFPIA’s leader, Richard Bergström, lobbied European health commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, lobbying him to prevent the “worst-case scenario of ‘Grexit.’”
One prime concern is the possibility of an “excess in parallel trade” occurring as the drachma drops in value against the euro. This currency depreciation would let traders buy cheap drugs in Greece and sell them elsewhere in Europe at a significantly higher price.
Greece currently owes global pharmaceutical companies over €1.1 billion ($1.22 billion US), according to the EFPIA. Greek citizens now must pay 10-25% of prescription drug costs; the remainder is covered by the public healthcare system.
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