Public procurement of health technologies in Greece in an era of economic crisis
Public procurement is generally an important sector of the economy and, in most countries, is controlled by the introduction of regulatory and policy mechanisms. In the Greek healthcare sector, recent legislation redefined centralized procurement through the reestablishment of a state Health Procurement Committee (EPY), with an aim to formulate a plan to reduce procurement costs of medical devices and pharmaceuticals, improve payment time, make uniform medical requests, transfer redundant materials from one hospital to another and improve management of expired products. The efforts described in this paper began in early 2010, under the co-ordination of the Ministry of Health (MoH) and with the collaboration of senior staff from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Commission (EC) and the European Central Bank (ECB). The procurement practices and policies set forth by EPY and the first measurable outcomes, in terms of cost savings, resulting from these policies are presented. The importance of these measures is discussed in light of the worst economic crisis faced by Greece since the restoration of democracy in 1974, as a result of both the world financial crisis and uncontrolled government spending.
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