The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) has offered Greece a cap on its drug expenditure in return for immediate payment.
The offer, made on behalf of Europe’s major pharmaceutical companies, reflects a growing industry awareness of the depth of Greece’s economic crisis.
In addition, the strategy represents a potential blueprint for comparable healthcare funding crises in Ireland, Spain, Portugal and even the UK.
In a letter to the Greek ministers of health and finance, EFPIA offered to accept a national ceiling on outpatient pharmaceutical drug bills of €2.88 billion in 2012, in return for settlement of outstanding debts and no delays in future payments.
Last month, the Greek government suspended all drug exports from the country in order to prevent domestic shortages.
Richard Bergstrom, Director General of EFPIA, said that major pharmaceutical companies were showing a more flexible attitude towards Greece due to the worsening economic climate across Europe.
“Setting a growth cap or budget ceiling is not something we have ever liked to do in the past, but in the current environment it is better to do that and have some stability,” he said.
“We’ve suggested this to a number of other governments as an approach to deal with the financial crisis.”
Interim trade agreements to ensure drug payments have been developed for Portugal, Ireland and Belgium, and could be extended to other crisis-hit economies including the UK.
This week, German pharmaceutical company Merck KGaA said it was no longer making its cancer drug Erbitux available to Greek hospitals.