The Deputy Minister of Health Marios Salmas announced a three-month ban on the parallel export of pharmaceuticals, following a meeting with the EOF, the national drug organization to discuss shortages of pharmaceuticals.

Mr. Salmas explained that the shortages are due to the low prices of medicine, which invariably leads to pharmaceutical wholesalers parallel exporting for profit. In response, pharmaceutical companies restrict distribution, causing a vicious cycle. While parallel exports are legal, abusing the system has caused problems.

To combat the phenomenon, the minister announced that the penalties for not following the appropriate procedure will be harsher. EOF president Giannis Tountas stated that 30 pharmaceutical products have been banned from parallel exports due to shortages, with a further 140 cases being examined.

Mr. Salmas also referred to an “upgrade of EOF with managerial staff, to hasten the licensing procedure for pharmaceuticals” so that Greece eventually becomes a reference point in approving and licensing drugs in Europe.