Supplies for uninsured diabetics, why not from private pharmacies?

16 February 2017 Helliniko

Supplies for uninsured diabetics, why not from private pharmacies?

Diabetes Mellitus is a modern scourge and it is steadily increasing in Greece.  The Greek Diabetic Association estimates 40,000 new cases each year.  This is a tremendous burden on the health system the least of which is the patients’ need for medicines and supplies.  The greater impact comes from the significant and serious complications suffered by patients with uncontrolled or under-controlled diabetes.  Our clinic has raised this important issue with a study of the economic and social issues affecting diabetes patients who are not getting care.  The study was done in 2014.  You can read about it here:

Diabetics need medicine.  They also need supplies such as glucose test strips, lancets needles.  These are essential to properly regulate the dosage of medication.

The new law 4368/2016 gives a limited access to the public health care system to the uninsured.  Uninsured diabetics can obtain the medicine they need from their neighborhood pharmacies.  But the supplies must be obtained from the pharmacies in public hospitals (circular A3y/GP.oik 39364/31/05/2016).

The obligation to obtain these supplies from a public hospital is an unwarranted burden on these patients. The hospitals are usually not in the patient’s neighborhood.  And uninsured patients are likely to have more than one health problem.  Social and economic factors also act as a deterrent to correct treatment of the disease.  Taking into account that food and diet may also be an issue for the more indigent patients, and that they may be eating at soup kitchens or other faculties, then the size of the problem is further magnified.  Barriers to care impact the health of individuals, but also the state of the health system itself.  If diabetic patients are allowed to deteriorate, the health system will deteriorate with it, because of the very high cost of treating a seriously sick individual as opposed to preventing that situation in the first place.

This situation and many more like it will be highlighted in future press releases.  While the new law gives some access to the Greek Public Health System for the uninsured we have a long way to go before we can claim a cost free, universal access to the health system.

The Ministry of Health should immediately review and reverse this policy.  It is illogical that needed supplies for insured diabetics are available from private pharmacies but not for the uninsured.



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