Inspiring health and growth in Greece

I was honoured to be invited to speak at this year's Annual General Assembly dinner of our Greek association SFEE last night in Athens, together with the US Ambassador to Greece and the winner of the 2013 Innovation Awards Fay Christodoulou and of course SFEE's current President.

As I watched the crowds assemble for the dinner and shook hands with person after person, I was reminded, as I always am when I visit this beautiful city and country, that Greece is one of the most important and breathtaking cradles of history and culture and its population is at the same time humble about it and resilient to an extent that I am not sure many of us are.

The recession that hit the world in 2008, hit some countries harder than others and Greece was among those that suffered the most. The country was subject to a specific European plan for the past 10 years that required enormous sacrifices in many areas. Now at the dawn of that plan being lifted, inhabitants of this incredible country, innovators, industrialists and others look to the future with one request: a plan for stability and growth. Conditions that can allow investment, growth, innovation and job creation to flourish. The impact of the economic crisis on the health system has been enormous and led to a 28% reduction in expenditure in health putting the country significantly below the EU average. 

The pharmaceutical industry is an important contributor to the Greek economy with a total impact in GDP estimated at more than 6 billion euros, responsible for 87 000 jobs and the third highest sector in terms of exports. Pharmaceutical companies can play a significant role in generating growing, bringing more investment to the country for example in the areas of clinical trials and manufacturing. This requires the right policy environment to be put in place to encourage innovation and investment.

At the event last night, I heard a repeated call from the industry to policy makers to sit down together and map a future vision, a national strategic plan for the pharmaceutical industry and life science sector. A call to consider the measures recently put in place that have led to a decline in in the size of the market and unpredictability in the sector and look forward to ones such as the burgeoning Greek HTA system that should empower the country to make decisions that embrace the promise and value that innovation can bring and replace any other arbitrary systems used until now.

I truly hope that we can all work together with the prize of better health outcomes for the citizens of Greece and stronger high-value investments in the Greek economy in mind.

Nathalie Moll

Nathalie Moll joined the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) as Director...
Read Morechevron_right