Meanwhile in Greece

Pharmeceutical companies are cutting drug shipments to Greece because public hospitals haven’t paid their bills, and because drug prices in Greece are lower than in other EU countries (“It’s a disgrace. The government is panic-stricken and the multinationals only think about themselves and the issue of parallel trade because wholesalers can legally sell them to other European nations at a higher price.”). It’s working out pretty terribly for patients.

PULLQUOTE 1: “The government has drawn up a list of more than 50 pharmaceutical companies it accuses of halting or planning to halt supplies because of low prices in the country.”

PULLQUOTE 2: “In Athens and Thessaloniki, Greece’s second city, chemists say they are often overwhelmed by people desperately trying to find life-saving drugs. Oscillating between fury and despair, the customers beseech pharmacists to hand over medications that they frequently do not have in stock.”

PULLQUOTE 3: “Separately, it was announced on Tuesday that the Swiss Red Cross was slashing its supply of donor blood to Greece because it had not paid its bills on time.”

PULLQUOTE 4: “‘Lines will form in the early morning or late at night when you’re on duty,” said Karageorgiou, who is based in Thessaloniki. ‘And when the drugs aren’t available, which is often the case, people get very aggressive. I’m on duty tonight and know there will be screaming and shouting but in the circumstances I also understand. We have reached a tragic point.’”

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7 Comments / Post A Comment

r&rkd (#1,657)

Where’s the outrage for people who were never able to afford these drugs to begin with? Should we be outraged on behalf of people who are so isolated they don’t even know these drugs exist?

@r&rkd What about people who lived in times before these drugs were invented?

r&rkd (#1,657)

@stuffisthings
Yes, quite! I didn’t raise that because I’m trying to keep it within the range of things we could actually do.

@r&rkd Actually Greece in principle has, or had, a pretty inclusive health care system (comprised of national health insurance with optional private top-ups). At one point it was rated one of the best in Europe.

r&rkd (#1,657)

@stuffisthings
I suppose I’ve been a little cryptic. By “people who were never able to afford these drugs to begin with,” I wasn’t thinking of “poor Greeks prior to the crisis”–your point, which I don’t doubt, being that poor Greeks prior to the crisis did have these drugs.

I was thinking of the many people from other countries (Haiti, for example) who have always been far too poor to afford the drugs. And, for my second group, I was thinking of people who don’t even know the drugs exist. Your reference to people from the past would fit into that second group.

It’s sort of a philosophical point: our emotions are piqued by loss of something once possessed, though the person who had something and lost it is in a sense better off than the person who never had it. At least the first person had the thing for some of her life!

@r&rkd I figured it might be something like that =). The reason it upsets me, personally, is because the financial pain that Greece is experiencing is totally arbitrary and unnecessary, and is happening mainly because German and ECB leaders are behaving as if they don’t understand basic macroeconomics. So not only are they losing something they once had, it’s being taken away from them for basically no good reason.

It’s also a little upsetting because there are a lot of people and organizations who ARE worried about expanding access to health care in poor countries — including the international development agencies of other EU member states, and the EC itself. So they are basically spending pennies to build up health care systems in Haiti and other places while snatching euros from the Greek system.

Winfield (#3,368)

Just when I thought Greece couldn’t become more of a basketcase…

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