Greek hospitals have drug supply stopped by Roche
The pharmaceutical giant Roche has stopped delivering medications to some hospitals in Greece after they failed to settle outstanding bills with the company.
Roche’s CEO, Severin Schwan, reportedly told the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) newspaper some state-owned hospitals “haven’t paid their bills in three or four years.”
He added similar steps are being considered elsewhere, particularly in other European countries of Italy, Spain and Portugal where state-run hospitals are also late on bill payments.
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In the WSJ report, Schwan said although Roche was not currently delivering to hospitals, it had increased its supply to local pharmacies and was adamant patients were not suffering as a result.
Schwan believes the pharmacies in Greece are much more reliable in terms of payments and said public hospitals “have the habit of not paying the pharmaceutical industry.”
He said: “There comes a point where the business is not sustainable anymore.”
In what appears to be an attempt to regain some credibility, the hospitals started to repay the bills after Roche cut off its supply.
According to Schwan, the hospitals “understood that their reputation vis a vis the patients was at risk” and are working to amend the situation.
The move by Roche comes after Danish company Novo Nordisk A/S refused to deliver insulin to Greece after it revealed it was planning to reduce its price by up to 50 percent.
The situation is the result of Greece’s poor economic climate, which has seen budget cuts heavily imposed across the country. It is thought state-run hospitals in Greece are in huge amounts of debt to a number of drug companies.
The Hellenic Association of Pharmaceutical Companies believes out of the €1.9 billion worth of drugs delivered to public hospitals in Greece within the past 18 months, only 37 percent of the amount has been paid back.
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