ATHENS – In what could add to the chaos at Greek public hospitals, private clinics that receive state payments for diagnostic tests and blood-taking among other services from doctors, will go strike indefinitely as of June 10 to protest limits on drug subsidies.
The clinics are upset that there are big losses in their earnings – some haven’t paid staff for months – because of compulsory deductions they are required to make to the country’s main healthcare provider, EOPYY.
They want the government to abolish the so-called clawback measure which requires pharmaceutical companies have to pay the state when public spending on drugs exceeds the amount budgeted. That’s on top of obligatory deductions the private clinics have to make in rebates.
The strike was set after a meeting of the Medical Association of Athens (ISA) and the coordinating body of private clinics on May 30, during which they decided to intensify their protests. The move will mean public facilities, where it can take months to get a medical test, will be further overcrowded.
The clinics had gone on strike for three days but were ignored. In a statement, ISA said doctors in private clinics “will abstain from their duties indefinitely” and until their demands are met.
Their union will also seek meetings with representatives of the main political parties to inform them on “the crucial issues that threaten the viability of the sector,” it said, with no sign anyone was interested with snap elections coming July 7.