A patients advocate group is accusing pharmaceutical agents of jacking up prices of non-prescription medication to cover their losses following mandatory price drops in certain prescribed medicines.
According to Demetris Lambrianides, the spokesperson of the Cyprus Association of Patients and Friends, prices of non-prescription medicines that can be bought at pharmacies or supermarkets have gone up slightly to make up the difference in lost profits from reduce prices on other medical drugs.
Lambrianides, who phoned in during a news programme on a local TV network, said pharmaceutical importers take advantage to the fullest of any leeway they have on prices “in order to raise profits so that they can cover their losses on prescription medication, which have become cheaper this year.”
Government tells group to show evidence
But the director of the health minister’s office, Anastasia Anthousi, said the government was not aware of the allegations, saying the issue had not been raised with her office or during meetings with advocate participation.
Anthousi said the story became news with a publication on a media outlet without notifying officials.
“In order to regulate but also brief the minister fully on this issue, it would be prudent for them to come forward with recommendations, if the patients have evidence,” the official said.
Lambrianides declined on the air to name specific non-prescribed medicines with higher prices, saying he thought there might be an issue if he disclosed that information.
Medication prices are considered very high in Cyprus, where a long forgotten formula allowed pharmaceutical companies to raise prices compared to other countries in the EU. The same formula also allows for a high profit margin for pharmacies, something which is being addressed in ongoing comprehensive healthcare reform.