Global drug companies offer to cap Greece's medicines bill
Global drug companies have offered to cap the total amount the Greek government has to pay for its medicines in a bid to resolve the crisis that is jeopardizing both the supply of drugs to the patients and drugmakers’ profits.
The proposal was set out by the trade group the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations in a letter to the Greek ministers of finance and health.
In the exchange for a ceiling on the outpatient pharmaceutical expenditure of 2.88 billion euros ($3.70 billion) in 2012, European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations wants the government to commit to pay off all the outstanding debts and promise not to allow further arrears to build up.
As per the plan, the individual drug companies will be subject to a drawback if the cost ceiling is breached based on their share of the Greek market.
The move follows the growing concerns about the situation in Greece, where the government last month took the step of suspending all the exports of drugs from the country in an attempt to prevent shortages.
Efpia’s Director General, Richard Bergstrom said, “The industry’s offer to Greece reflected a new realism among major drug manufacturers, who have witnessed sales and profits eroded by the steep price cuts and unpaid bills in the austerity-hit Europe."
Other pharmaceutical stability agreements have already been agreed in Ireland, Portugal and Belgium and the model can be extended to other states in the future.
The U.S. and European-based drug makers have been hit by the worsening issues in Europe and executives have also highlighted the issue as a drag of profits in the recent third-quarter financial reports.
Chief Executive of Britain’s largest drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline also said, it was not reasonable for the government to think that they could continue to squeeze the industry without serious knock-on effects.
In the latest sign of how the crisis is affecting the provision of healthcare services, Germany-based pharmaceutical company Merck said, it is no longer delivering its cancer drug Erbitux to Greek hospitals.
Meanwhile, Biotest which makes products from blood plasma, was the first drug company to cease shipments to Greece because of the unpaid bills in June.
Dubai's new smart neuro spinal hospital: need to know
We take a look at Dubai's new smart hospital.
What: The Neuro Spinal Hospital and Radiosurgery Centre is a new hospital featuring state-of-the-art technology for spinal, neurosurgical, neurological, orthopaedic, radiosurgery and cancer treatments. The 700 million AED hospital, (equivalent to £138 million), has 114 beds, smart patient rooms, and green spaces for patient rehabilitation, and is four times the capacity of its former premises in Jumeirah. It is also the UAE’s first hospital to have surgical robots.
Where: The hospital is located in the Dubai Science Park. Founded in 2005, Dubai Science Park is home to more than 350 companies from multinational corporations in life sciences, biotechnology and research; over 4,000 people work here each day.
Who: The UAE's Neuro Spinal Hospital and Radiosurgery Centre was first established in Jumeirah in 2002 by Dr. Abdul Karim Msaddi, as the first as the first "super-specialty" neuroscience hospital.
Why: With advanced diagnosis and robotics, the hospital will provide care across neuroscience, spine, orthopaedics and oncology for people residing in the UAE, as well as international patients.
Prof. Abdul Karim Msaddi, Chairman and Medical Director of the hospital, said: “We are proud to bring world-class healthcare services to Dubai and believe our next-generation hospital will be a game-changer for the emirate’s and the region’s medical industry.
"It will not only significantly increase the availability of specialist neuroscience and radiosurgery treatments and provide better patient care but help attract and develop local and international talent. Investing in the new centre represents our continued faith in the resilience of the region’s economy, as well as a testament to our ongoing drive towards healthcare innovation in the UAE.”