(Bloomberg) — Drugmakers operating in Greece said they’re owed 1.05 billion euros ($1.2 billion) by the government for medicine supplied to hospitals and the state social insurance fund.
The unpaid bills have been accumulating since 2013, and no payments have been received since December, Natalia Toubanaki, a spokeswoman for the Hellenic Association of Pharmaceutical Companies, said in a phone interview. The association represents 65 such companies, most of them multinationals such as AstraZeneca P.L.C. (NYSE:AZN) and Pfizer Inc.
Faced with mounting debts, the Greek health ministry has been pushing the drug industry for concessions. Drugmakers have already agreed to 140 million euros in rebates for this year, Toubanaki said. The government is in talks with the industry on a plan to claw back any amount of spending in 2015 that exceeds a cap of 2 billion euros, compared with the 2.3 billion euros drugmakers say is necessary to meet the needs of the population, she said.
She declined to say which companies face the largest burden in unpaid bills and clawbacks, which together totaled 530 million euros last year.
“We need to make sure that the clawback is at the same level as 2014,” Toubanaki said. “The volume of medicines needs to be controlled.”
Health ministry press officials didn’t immediately reply to phone messages after normal business hours Monday.