Cypriot drug import reform to be delayed
Cyprus health minister, Frixos Savvides, delivered bad news to his country’s ailing and infirm, when he was forced to announce that they probably would have to wait another year before reforms could be introduced to a system by which medicines are imported into the country. The Cyprus Mail. reported that the hoped-for reforms would have cut significantly the price of medicine.
Savvides had earlier promised to push a bill through the Cypriot parliament, which would have broken the existing importers' stranglehold on drug supplies by autumn 2000. But the legislation got caught up in the office of the attorney-general, where a tremendous backlog of work has been created because it is required to study a variety of legislation related to Cyprus’ harmonization with European Union laws and regulations.
At present, the prices of many drugs in Cyprus are higher than their costs elsewhere in Europe, and this has led to a common Cypriot practice of stocking up with supplies when they travel abroad. The proposed change would open the market, by breaking the exclusivity on drug imports enjoyed by the about 50 members of the Cyprus Association of Pharmaceutical Companies.
In Greece, which remains the yardstick for most Cypriots, drugs often cost half the price of what they do in Cyprus. But this is in part is because Greece is the only European country that still subsidizes production of pharmaceutical products. — (Albawaba-MEBG)
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)