[Debate] Greece: When the Drugs Run Out + Greece: When the Lights Go Out
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Thu May 17 16:40:44 BST 2012
Greece: when the drugs run out
Posted by Masa Serdarevic on May 17 14:51.
Beneath the political stasis — another sign of a sharp turn for the
worse in Greece’s liquidity crisis.
The country’s pharmacies are owed €500m by the state-backed healthcare
insurer, according to reports. From next week patients will have to
stump up the cash for their medicines upfront, and then claim a
reimbursement from the National Organization for Healthcare Provision
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that a) medicines tend to be
very expensive, b) so paying for them may be very difficult for a lot
of people, especially pensioners. And c) if the EOPYY is having
trouble paying the pharmacists, it’s unlikely to find it any easier to
reimburse individuals. Here’s a bit more from Kathimerini
The [pharmacists'] union, whose members are planning to hold
demonstrations in Athens, Thessaloniki and other major cities next
Wednesday, decided on the action to protest the organization’s failure
to pay some 250 million euros in debts for prescriptions issued in
EOPYY and the social security funds that fall under its umbrella owe
an additional 250 million euros to pharmacists from 2011.
In recent months pharmacies have promised to halt credit to patients
unless they get paid, and the EOPYY has thrown some money their way.
But its arrears are rapidly rising and clearly the pharmacists can
only provide so much credit.
We recently wrote about the problems Greece’s power company is facing.
Unless Greece receives eurozone loans soon in order to clear through
arrears, this is the kind of issue that could see the state move
towards a system of IOUs as it tries to keep the country running. The
worsening situation on with the pharmacists reinforces that prospect.
Ironically enough, pharmaceutical arrears already caused the Greek
government to issue strange, zero-coupon, discounted bonds to
international suppliers in lieu of cash, back in the early days of the
crisis. The pharma bonds even then were a little too close to
quasi-money for comfort.
How do they get out of the arrears problem this time?
Additional reporting by Joseph Cotterill
Greece: when the lights go out
Posted by Masa Serdarevic on May 15 17:13.
The desperate cunning scheme to get Greeks to pay property taxes by
bundling them with electricity bills didn’t last long. You guessed it,
people stopped paying their electricity bills and now it looks like
the power company – which had to be bailed out last month – has
stopped even trying to collect the levy.
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