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Arch Hellen Med, 33(4), July-August 2016, 583-595


Evaluation of generic drug use in the Greek market during the financial crisis

S. Xanthopoulou,1 K. Katsaliaki2
1"Theageneio" Anticancer Hospital, Thessaloniki,
2School of Economics, Business Administration and Legal Studies, International Hellenic University, Thessaloniki, Greece

The global economic crisis that began in 2008 confronted Greece with serious fiscal problems directly related to high public debt. The resulting policy for public expenditure reduction prioritized reforms relating to the drug market, focusing on reduction of drug prices, control of prescription writing and increase in the usage of generic drugs in the health care sector. Substituting "name" drugs with the generic forms has met with great suspicion on the part of both health care professionals and patients-consumers regarding the therapeutic outcome, although this policy has achieved great savings in many other developed countries. Despite the fact that the percentage of generic use in Greece is still low, the public pharmaceutical expenditure was reduced by € 3 million between 2009 and 2014 with the enforcement of severe austerity measures. A review is presented of generic drugs in the global and the Greek market, investigation of the impact on the Greek National Health System of their introduction and its contribution to the changes in pharmaceutical expenditure in one of the Greek anticancer hospitals. In a period of limited fiscal resources the promotion of generic drugs, with the help of measures already taken in other European countries, can lead to economic efficiency without degrading the quality of health care.

Key words: Anticancer hospital, Drug policy, Financial crisis, Generic drugs, Pharmaceutical expenditure.

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