The pharmaceutical industry can be the catalyst for a sustainable and resilient healthcare system in Greece

SFEE and its member companies are committed to ensuring the sustainability of our healthcare systems by breaking barriers and silos and working together with policymakers to deliver outcomes to patients, society and the national economy, writes Olympios Papadimitriou.
SFEE President Olympios Papadimitriou | Source: SFEE

By Olympios Papadimitriou

Olympios Papadimitriou is President of the Hellenic Association of Pharmaceutical Companies, VP & General Manager of Novo Nordisk Hellas

03 Feb 2021

Europe is facing one of the most unprecedented crises since World War II. The COVID-19 pandemic is the most serious challenge the world has faced in our lifetime. It is above all a human crisis with severe health and socio-economic consequences.

Within this framework, European health systems struggle for sustainability. As the population ages, chronic diseases grow and technology advances, while public spending fails to keep up with demand; healthcare systems are being asked to do more and better with less.

Focusing on Greece, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic reinforces the need for a rational yet sustainable approach, involving the right policy and investment to support our healthcare priorities.

During this process, the industry should be considered as a catalyst towards a sustainable and resilient healthcare system; one that efficiently balances the treatment of communicable and non-communicable diseases, following patient-centred approaches and demonstrating social responsibility.

As the Hellenic Association of Pharmaceutical Companies (SFEE) - 63 foreign and local companies- we strongly support such a bold action plan. We believe it is essential for unleashing the sector’s potential, and help us move towards a sustainable health system.

The action plan would deliver a holistic vision for a sustainable and patient-centered pharmaceutical policy by accelerating reforms already in place, acknowledging impediments and leveraging best practices.

To that end, SFEE has proposed a seven pillar plan: a) Reframe the pharma budget, b) Increase efficiency, c) Review the payback mechanism, d) Enhance patients access to innovative therapies, e) Promote investments, f) Leverage digital capabilities and g) Promote social and ethical responsibility.

“A sustainable and patient-centered pharma policy should be designed with a view on achieving specific outcomes through enabling a successful implementation of outlined policies and removing the barriers that have hindered success in previous years”

Now more than ever, fostering a collaborative environment for everyone involved is a prerequisite, to ensure a resilient market, greater efficiency in leveraging digital tools and the ability to offer the appropriate treatments to patients. A sustainable and patient-centred pharma policy should be designed with a view on achieving specific outcomes through enabling a successful implementation of outlined policies and removing the barriers that have hindered success in previous years.

The COVID-19 crisis reinforces the need for changes and may/ should well become an opportunity to move forward. And, as the former mayor of Chicago once stated: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.”

We still need to do much more. We, SFEE and our member companies, are committed to ensuring the sustainability of the Greek healthcare system by breaking barriers and silos and by working together with the State to deliver outcomes to patients, society and the national economy. This is linked to our sustainability after all.

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