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Fear for Greek medicine supplies as 1 billion euros is owed

Fear for Greek medicine supplies as 1 billion euros is owed
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With an outstanding 1.1. billion euro bill to the pharmaceutical industry, there are fears that Greece could run out of medicine within three months.

Hospitals and pharmacies say the imports of life-saving drugs are at risk as the amount of money flowing through the Greek economy shrinks drastically.

When banks were forced shut last week, pharmacies noticed an immediate drop off in sales amid fears people are going without vital medicine.

Pharmacist Georgia Psahoulia said: “They are only buying the necessary things (medications) because they are only withdrawing the daily 60 euro limit. So that means patients will only buy the bare essentials and won’t stock up with supplies, only what’s necessary.”

Bills dating back to December for medicine ordered by the state health system are still outstanding, leaving Greek hospitals on edge.

“The problems (referring to hospitals) are longstanding because we know that at the hospital, we only have two months worth of money for supplies. Of course, the last few days, with the bank closures, these problems have increased,” said Ilias Sioras, cardiologist and union representative.

For now, the international pharmaceutical industry has promised to keep supply lines open on humanitarian grounds.

While local manufacturers, who account for 35 percent of drugs sold in chemists are hoping to ramp up production to cover some of the shortfall.