Generic drugs are safe, EOF chief says

Ahead of a parliamentary vote due Wednesday on cuts to pharmaceutical spending -- to be achieved partly through a shift to the prescription of cheaper alternative drugs instead of more expensive big-brand varieties -- the director of the National Organization for Medicines (EOF), Yiannis Tountas, stressed Wednesday that so-called generic medicines are safe.

According to the EOF chief, most of the 52 different drugs tested last year following complaints about side effects were brand-name medicines. Eighteen were generic products, he said.

Tountas added that all medicines -- whether brand name or generic and irrespective of where they are manufactured -- must be issued with a factory certificate confirming that they meet quality standards set by the European Medicines Agency before they are distributed.

Meanwhile, in comments to Skai Television, Deputy Health Minister Michalis Timosidis said that he would take generic drugs, adding that he had prescribed them when he had practiced as a doctor.

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