Important changes and new controversial legal provisions are expected to bring crucial developments in the healthcare sector. The areas where the most changes will be realized are the re-organization of primary health care services as well as the pharmaceutical sector, where costs continue to spiral out of control.
The government has presented a new law on the restructuring of primary health care. According to its provisions, various Local Health Units will be created, while the systems of family doctors and referrals from general practitioners to specialist medical professionals will be re-assessed.
The main goal is to establish 250 Local Health Units by the end of this year, which will cover 35% of the population. It is an ambitious plan, which will radically change the philosophy on which the Greek National Healthcare System is based. However, this endeavor has already met a severe backlash from the medical community.
In the pharmaceutical sector, the new framework on compensation of new medicines will be implemented shortly. New pharmaceuticals will be compensated in Greece on condition that they are compensatable in 2/3 of the countries where they are already in circulation (with a minimum of 9 countries) and if in half of those countries a Health Technology Assessment system is being applied.
At the same time, the government will have to legislate and implement incentives and counter-incentives for the increase of generic medicines’ market penetration, which, despite the officials’ promises, remains low in Greece in comparison with other countries of the European Union.
All these recent developments in the health sector were thoroughly discussed during the 8th Pharma & Health Conference titled: “The Greek National Healthcare System in transition: where to next?”. This year’ s forum is organized by Ethos Εvents, the portal virus.com.gr on health and pharmaceutical policies as well as the magazine Pharma & Health Business, and took place on Thursday 6 July at the Athenaeum InterContinental hotel.
Politicians, scientists, healthcare institutions and patients’ associations’ representatives, pharmacists, nurses, companies’ executives and journalists took part in this conference with the aim to analyze the priorities, challenges and obstacles related to the reforms that the Greek Health System desperately needs.