Health care in Greece is in crisis as the government runs out of funds to pay pharmacies to supply prescription drugs, leaving cancer patients without life-saving drugs.
The crisis in Greek health care has been brewing all year, with a series of strikes by pharmacists because the state has stopped paying them. Since May patients have been obligated to pay the full price of drugs as there is no longer any rebate available through social security funds which previously covered at least 75 percent of the cost of drugs for those with insurance.
Ekathimerini reported pharmacists who refuse to give drugs on credit are being investigated by prosecutors, but the pharmacists are owed a total of 540 million euros by the state. Cancer patients are being denied life-saving drugs which are in desperately short supply, unless they pay the full price of the drugs, if they can actually find them.
According to Keep Talking Greece, Zoi Grammatoglou, head of the Cancer Sufferers Volunteer Organization, said some patients have cancelled their chemotherapy as they are unable to afford the costs of treatment.
Only Medics reported "approximately 163 critical drugs are now unobtainable from pharmacies in Greece." Hospitals are also running out of funds to restock vital drugs and patients are left scrambling to source their own prescriptions. The Panhellenic Pharmaceutical Association issued a statement saying “Already we have cancer sufferers going from hospital to hospital to try and find drugs because no one can afford to stock them. If the shortages get worse, God knows what we will see.”
Relatives of deceased cancer patients are offering unused cancer drugs to pharmacies to supply to those in need.