Prime Minister George Papandreou was chairing an inter-ministerial meeting at noon on Monday convened to examine the issue of a nationwide electronic prescription system for the country's state-run health and pension funds, a more-or-less pressing matter due increasing costs and the suspected practice over-subscribing of drugs.

The system would also include public hospitals and other health providers.

The labour & social insurances ministry has been the first to initiate the system, with all of the funds promising to join by May, with hospitals' participation now the question mark due to deficient operational and technical support in such facilities. The prospect of an international tender for IT support and programmes has also been broached. (ANA-MPA)

According to relevant ministers, impressive cost-cutting results have already been recorded in only the pilot phase of the new e-prescription system, with only a partial implementation resulting in saving of 850 million euros for 2010, whereas the target for 2012 is no less than 3.6 billion euros -- 1.4 billion for 2011.

Pharmacists to continue strikes

Pharmacists on Monday announced that they will continue nationwide strike action on Friday, Feb. 4 and on Monday, Feb. 7, while on Wednesday, Feb. 9 the general assembly of the Panhellenic Pharmacists Association will meet to decide on the future of their mobilizations in support of their demands for changes to the government’s bill for liberalising their profession.

The Attica Pharmacists Association will decide later on Monday on the course of the mobilizations. As of Tuesday, pharmacies in Attica will stop filling out prescriptions on credit to those insured by the social insurance funds OPAD, TSAY, TAS, ISAP and the lawyers fund that have outstanding debts of several months.

The Piraeus Pharmacists Association will continue the rolling 48-hour strikes on Monday, Jan. 31 and on Tuesday, Feb. 1 by not filling out prescriptions on credit to those insured by the social insurance funds OPAD, TSAY, TAS, Public Power Corp. (DEH) and ISAP.

Pharmacists in Piraeus will meet on Tuesday to decide on the future of their mobilizations.