Background Under the burden of the economic crisis in Greece, a series of cost containment measures for hospitals’ operating costs have been implemented, with the emphasis put on limiting the money spent on medicines purchasing.
Purpose To review the extent to which the target of reducing hospital pharmaceutical expenses has been achieved along with reporting the changes, as far as the ‘in hospital’ use of generic medicine is concerned.
Materials and Methods Financial data from 136 Greek public hospitals, as officially reported in ESY.net database, were collected and compared for the years of interest. The financial data were selected with respect to the cost of purchasing medicines and non-pharmaceutical material, while other operational costs were omitted.
Results The cost of purchasing medicines constantly accounts for a high percentage of a hospital’s budget for supplies (51%, 53% and 56% for 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively). An overall decrease in pharmaceutical expenditures was achieved (23% reduction in 2011, along with a further reduction of 17% in 2012). Although rates of introducing generic drugs differ among different hospitals, an increase in use of generics was observed (26% in 2011 and 30% in 2012). Psychiatric hospitals seem to have better scores compared to paediatric and oncology departments.
Conclusions The ‘in hospital’ use of generic drugs score is significantly higher compared to that of the Greek market in general (18%) and has therefore contributed to the hospitals’ attempt to reduce the amount of money spent on medicine supplies. The lower rates of generics’ use observed in paediatric hospitals are consistent with the lower possibility for substitution in these cases. Last but not least, when selecting and implementing drug cost management strategies, it is essential that pharmacists remain mindful of patient safety and quality of patient care.
No conflict of interest.
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