Novo Nordisk, the leading supplier of insulin, is withdrawing its top-line pen-based injection system from Greece in response to the government’s demand for a 25-percent cut in all drug prices. The company says it cannot afford to provide the product at a loss, and that other countries may be likely to follow suit — and besides, Greece already owes them $36 million.
And there was, of course, wailing and gnashing of teeth; the Greek diabetes association complained about “brutal blackmail” and “a violation of corporate social responsibility.” Novo Nordisk offered to provide a lower-end product — same quality, but lacking nifty automated features — at no cost, which apparently didn’t mollify the critics.
Greece can expect more of this. LEO Pharma is pulling two drugs out of the Greek market, an anti-clotting agent and a psoriasis treatment, saying Greece owes them $300 million.
Stefanos Combinos, the director general of the economy ministry, told the BBC that Greece was one of the three most expensive countries in Europe for medicines.
He said pharmaceutical companies had enjoyed great profits out of Greece over the decades and had an obligation to accept price reductions.
Or, to quote a comparably-uninformed US official, “I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.”
(Suggested by this description of the Novo Nordisk action at Daily Pundit.)