Danish firms withdraw drugs from Greece

1-Jun-2010

Novo Nordisk and Leo Pharma protest against price cuts of 25% in Greece

Two Danish pharmaceutical firms are withdrawing products from Greece in protest at the Greek government’s decision to cut the prices of medicines by 25% as part of its austerity measures.

Novo Nordisk removed some of its insulin drugs from the Greek market and was followed by dermatology and critical care specialist Leo Pharma.

Leo Pharma said it fully understood the difficult situation in Greece, but was suspending sales of two of its drugs because the price reductions would have ‘severe consequences’ on its business, including long-term investments in research and development.

Both firms said Greek prices were a reference point for a number of European countries and there was a risk that prices in these countries could also be subject to reductions.

‘We risk that prices in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Romania, Turkey, Czech, Hungary, etc. will also be subject to severe reductions if we do not act,’ said Leo Pharma.

Leo Pharma has informed the Greek authorities that, in the coming months, it is prepared to withdraw products for which there is an alternative product available. Meanwhile, the firm is in dialogue with the Greek authorities to find an alternative solution.

‘We firmly believe that a solution is achievable,’ the firm said.

Even before the price reductions, Leo Pharma said Greek prices on 20 of its 29 products available on the market are the lowest in Europe. On the remaining nine products, the prices are second or third lowest compared with other low-priced European countries.

The firm has issued a notification letter of Discontinuation to the Greek authorities concerning a potential withdrawal of 18 of the 29 drugs, while ensuring that among the remaining products there is an alternative treatment available.

The Greek debt to Leo Pharma is approximately €37m, while Novo Nordisk is owed €24m.

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