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Wednesday, January 11, 2012 3:04 AM

Greek Crisis Has Pharmacists Pleading for Aspirin; Bailout Money Used for Military Spending

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The Greek economy is now totally and completely dysfunctional. The government has resorted to price controls on goods to contain costs. However, price controls do nothing but cause shortages.

The sad result has Pharmacists Pleading for Aspirin.

For patients and pharmacists in financially stricken Greece, even finding aspirin has turned into a headache.

The 12,000 pharmacies that dot almost every street corner in Greek cities are the damaged capillaries of a complex system for getting treatment to patients. The Panhellenic Association of Pharmacists reports shortages of almost half the country’s 500 most-used medicines. Even when drugs are available, pharmacists often must foot the bill up front, or patients simply do without.
Official Denial of Pharmaceutical Tragedy

Without a doubt the medical crisis in Greece is a tragedy underway. Proof comes from Nicolaos Polyzos, secretary general of the Ministry of Health, who says "It would be unrealistic to deny that there are many difficulties regarding all public services due to the financial crisis. However, this cannot justify characterizing the current picture of (the) health sector in Greece as a tragedy."

Apparently shortages of 500 drugs including aspirin is not a tragedy.

Shortages Caused by Price Controls
As part of an effort to cut its own costs, Greece has mandated lower drug prices in the past year. That has fed a secondary market, drug manufacturers contend, as wholesalers sell their shipments outside the country at higher prices than they can get within Greece.

Strained government finances only make matters worse. Wholesalers and pharmacists say the system suffers from a lack of liquidity, as public insurers delay payments to pharmacies, which in turn can’t pay suppliers on time.

“Wholesalers simply do not have the money anymore to play bank to the pharmacies,” Heinz Kobelt, secretary general of the European Association of Euro-Pharmaceutical Companies, said in a telephone interview.

Reimbursement fraud compounds the drain on the country’s health resources, Richard Bergstrom, director-general of European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, said in an interview. Drugs shipped elsewhere yet submitted for reimbursement to public insurers as if they had been prescribed to patients cost Greece more than 500 million euros a year, Bergstrom said, citing figures he said he got from the Ministry of Health.

In a later e-mail, Bergstrom said he had personally seen packs of drugs with Greek reimbursement stickers on the market outside of Greece, suggesting that exporters were reimbursed and able to ship the packs abroad.

“If the pack is exported, the exporter is obliged to ’cancel’ the code, a bar code, by using a black pen,” Bergstrom wrote. “But this is not monitored.”
Plenty of Money Though for Military Spending

Via choppy Google translation, please consider Fine weapons for Athens
Frigates, tanks and submarines: A Greek military passes any savings package. And Germany benefited.

The Gift of the Greek Ministry of Defense has the man in the head: up to 60 fighter aircraft fighter for maybe € 3.9 billion euros. French frigates for about four billion, patrol boats worth 400 million euros, as much is the necessary modernization of the existing Greek fleet. Then it still lacks of ammunition for the Leopard tank , also would have two American Apache helicopters will be replaced. Oh, and one would like to buy German U-boats, total price: two billion euros.

What the man who goes in and out of Greece's Defence Ministry, in an Athens cafe is because of the sounds absurd. A State which is on the verge of bankruptcy and is supported by billions of the European Union wants to buy tons of weapons?

According to the just-released report, Arms Export in 2010 after the Portuguese, the Greeks - a state on the verge of bankruptcy - the largest buyers of German war weapons.

According to the just-released report, Arms Export in 2010 after the Portuguese, the Greeks - a state on the verge of bankruptcy - the largest buyers of German war weapons.
Bailout money first goes to French and German banks. What is left over goes for weapons systems.

Meanwhile, price controls and fraud have made aspirin hard or impossible to get. To top it off, Germany and France want still more tax hikes and austerity measures.

Greece will default soon. It's all over. Nothing is left but a corrupt hollow shell.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
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