Facing Shortages, Greece Bans Export of Drugs

Posted 24 October 2012 | By

Greece is one of many countries, including the US and Canada, currently experiencing shortages of numerous drugs. But unlike other countries, Greece, which is in the midst of an economic crisis, has taken a novel and potentially controversial approach to solving the problem: it will no longer allow the export of pharmaceutical products from the country.

Reuters reports the country's shortages are mainly the result of price slashing that the country has been forced to undertake because of its massive budget deficits and huge debt.

Because the forced price cuts made drugs significantly cheaper in Greece than in other countries, enterprising-some might say opportunistic-individuals have been purchasing drugs in Greece for resale elsewhere in the EU. As a result of the price arbitrage, nearly a quarter of all drugs are now estimated to be in short supply in the country, notes Reuters.

Such trade is legal under basic EU parallel trade regulations, and it is not clear whether Greece's new export ban would be subject to any legal challenge.

The export ban, issued by Greece's National Organization for Medicines (EOF), will be temporary, but no timeframes or proposals for its cessation have yet been released by regulators.

EOF also said it would, "Return soon with a newer version of the decision," according to a translated version of its release, perhaps providing additional details left unspecified in its three-sentence announcement.

Read more:

Reuters - Greece fights drug shortages by suspending exports


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