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Prosecutor looks into pharmacists' drug refusal

An Athens prosecutor has launched an investigation into pharmacists who allegedly refuse to supply drugs on credit to seriously ill patients due to the state debts to the sector, while at least six hospitals are reporting major shortages in vital material.

The problems in the healthcare sector are growing as the cash-strapped state is unable to fund it properly, and those insured, including cancer patients, are often denied the supply of drugs they desperately need.

The head of the Athens Pharmacists’ Association Constantinos Lourandos told Skai television on Saturday that there are actually dozens of phone calls by relatives of people who have died of cancer and are offering to gift the drugs they possess and do not need any longer.

Pharmacists continue to refuse giving pharmaceutical products on credit to people insured at the National Organization for Healthcare Provision (EOPYY) because of millions of euros of outstanding debts, after the state cut the organization’s funding by about half a billion euros this year.

The Panhellenic Pharmacists’ Association (PFS) sent an out-of-court notice to EOPYY suggesting the latter has not fulfilled its contractual obligations “at all,” as it has not yet paid pharmacists even for March 2012, for drugs amounting to 272 million euros. If this is added to the debt outstanding from 2011, it comes up to 540 million euros, according to the PFS.

ekathimerini.com , Saturday June 2, 2012 (13:58)  
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