The publication “The pharmaceutical market in Greece: Facts and Figures 2021”, as well as the main conclusions of the study “The contribution of the pharmaceutical sector to the Greek economy” was presented today at a press conference by the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research, in collaboration with the Pharmaceutical Association Business of Greece.
The annual report “The Pharmaceutical Market in Greece: Facts and Figures 2021” presents the basic structural elements, developments and trends in Greece and Europe, in the field of medicine and the wider health ecosystem. In addition to capturing the relevant quantitative data, special emphasis is placed on the current challenges facing the sector, but also on the prospects that are formed in it, after a two-year pandemic crisis.
The 2021 report now emphatically captures the impact of the pandemic on various dimensions of the ecosystem on the health of Greeks, but also on its economic impact. Governments and the European Commission have taken decisive action with fiscal measures to address the effects, while the European Central Bank (ECB) has taken emergency liquidity-enhancing measures. However, by mid-2021, a new and escalating energy crisis is taking place, with costs rising sharply, pushing inflation to high levels, without most countries having yet to manage the effects of the pandemic.
At the same time, demographics continue to influence developments and regulate health and drug spending financing policies. In particular, the high life expectancy (81.2 years, higher than the EU27 average), the negative sign of physical change (births-deaths, a decrease of 46 thousand people) which will lead to a gradual decrease of the total population and the increase of the elderly population (over 65 years) from 22.9% of the total population in 2022 to 33.5% in 2060, foreshadow more intense pressures on health systems.
In the field of pharmaceutical expenditure, the total outpatient pharmaceutical expenditure in Greece amounted to € 4.0 billion in 2021 (of which only € 2.0 billion is public funding). With the contribution of patients (participation) remaining approximately constant and certainly not declining, the burden has shifted to the pharmaceutical industry, through the mandatory returns and discounts (clawback & rebates) it pays. It is worth noting that the pharmaceutical industry continues to meet the needs of patients in medicines, through mandatory returns, eventually providing free 1 in 2 medicines (50%).
It is clear that the growing need for health care also requires greater public funding for health care and pharmaceutical coverage, with the involvement of the private sector can not be considered a viable solution.
As it has been pointed out in previous interventions of IOBE, the pharmaceutical industry is an extremely important sector for the Greek economy. Investment, R&D expenditure (R&D) accounts for 7% of total R&D expenditure in Greece, while in the period 2002-2021 3,499 clinical (2,000 completed) studies were conducted regardless of phase or stage. On the other hand, for 2020 the domestic production of pharmaceutical products in value (ex-factory) amounted to € 1.7 billion, while with an added value of € 1.4 billion constitutes 6.9% of processing). The number of people employed in the domestic production of pharmaceutical products and pharmaceutical preparations was 25.1 thousand people in 2021, with about half of them being university-educated. The role of the pharmaceutical sector in the total foreign trade is also very important, as the exports of pharmaceutical products amounted to € 2.9 billion in 2021 and correspond to 7.3% of the total Greek exports of all goods for 2021.
According to the latest estimates of IOBE for the financial footprint of the pharmaceutical sector in the Greek economy, its total contribution in terms of GDP is estimated at € 5.5 billion (3.3% of GDP). Thus, for every € 1 of added value of companies operating in the pharmaceutical sector, another € 2.2 is created in the entire Greek economy. In terms of employment, the total contribution is estimated at 123 thousand jobs (or 3.3% of total employment). That is, each job in the pharmaceutical industry supports another 3 equivalent full-time jobs in the economy as a whole. Finally, the impact on tax revenues from the activity of the pharmaceutical sector is estimated at approximately € 1.5 billion.
In his speech, the President of SFEE, Mr. Olympios Papadimitriou, noted: “The footprint of the pharmaceutical industry is strong in health, society and the economy. However, public pharmaceutical spending in recent years is limited by unrealistic closed budgets while not The state does not care at all about the quality (mixture of medicines) and the quantity of medicines consumed.The tax collection measures that have been introduced, and unfortunately continue to be introduced, make it difficult for healthy business, and directly threaten Public Health. After all, with the COVID-19 pandemic, all governments around the world are reviewing public health funding. Better health leads to prosperity. Healthier people enjoy more and more productive working lives, they contribute to the economy. “while consuming less health care costs.”
What does SFEE suggest:
1. Reforms-Digitization: Adoption of the tools we need to transform the system – that is, the use of digital tools that will help control prescribing, through the correct implementation of protocols, the digital patient file, electronic prescribing in hospitals, development competitions.
2. Increase of available resources. Health in the coming years will have to raise significantly increased resources to be able to provide citizens with what is expected of a benevolent welfare state. Especially the public pharmaceutical expenditure should be adjusted in a rational framework, since it remains stuck at about the same levels for over 8 years. Special care must be taken for the uninsured, who will have to be covered by Welfare funds. At the same time, funds must be provided for new innovative products coming in the near future and access to this innovation must be ensured for Greek patients.
The above, reforms – digitization and increase of resources, will lead to a real reduction of the clawback, will contribute to a sustainable public health system with upgraded care to citizens, but also to increase the ability of companies for more investment. In this way, our industry can offer even more to Greek society, public health and the economy with jobs and investments in production and research. ”