Roche has cancelled the delivery of drugs for the treatment of cancer and other diseases to some hospitals in Greece over unpaid bills dating back up to four years.
The comments were made by the pharmaceutical company's CEO Severin Schwan in an interview with the Wall Street Journal in which he said the same measures may be taken in other European countries, such as Spain, Italy and Portugal.
The move follows a decision by Novo Nordisk last year to cancel supplies of modern insulin products to the country that is undergoing severe budget cuts as it attempts to avoid defaulting on its debts. Novo resumed its supply after the country agreed to raise its prices on the drugs following mandatory price cuts earlier in the year.
Schwann said only state-funded hospitals would be affected by Roche's decision and supplies would be boosted for privately run Greek pharmacies.
This means patients at certain hospitals will have to take their prescriptions to a local pharmacy and, in the case of intravenous or injected cancer drugs, bring them back to the hospital to be administered.
Following the supply cut-off, some hospitals had become better at paying bills, according to Schwan, who suggested hospitals did not want to gain a poor reputation with patients.
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