Making a very real difference

Roche Greece steps up to donate medicines for uninsured patients

For a country grappling with a faltering economy this Roche gesture couldn’t have come at a better time. For patients, unemployed and uninsured, this couldn’t have come a day too soon. In a significant agreement with the Greek government, Roche Pharma in Greece in April announced that it would donate medicines worth two million Euros to support the treatment of patients who are uninsured and as a result have no access to the best treatment options.

Donations, under the Support Program for Uninsured Patients, will be made either to public hospitals that apply for a grant on behalf of uninsured patients on their records or to the National Bank of Medicines that has been created to support the needs of such patients. The bank was set up due to a collaborative effort of the Hellenic Association of Pharmaceutical Companies and the Medical Association of Athens.

Helping those in real need

There has been a crying need for such programs and private initiatives in recent times. “The rising unemployment in Greece in the past few years combined with a rapid drop in disposable household incomes has deprived many of medical coverage and eliminated them almost totally from the healthcare system,” explained Alexander Zehnder, General Manager of Roche Greece.

“According to some reports approximately half of Greece’s long-term unemployed lack health insurance. It is with this in mind that we decided to launch the Support Program for Uninsured Patients. This will help the government in its demanding task of providing modern healthcare services,” he added.

Broad range of medicines

The program will include all Roche medicines that are available in the Greek market. This covers drugs for various cancers (breast, colorectal, lung, ovarian, metastatic melanoma, pancreatic, lymphomas and leukemia) as well as modern medicines for inflammatory diseases, in the area of virology, transplantation and cardiology among others. It is worth mentioning that it is the first time that medicines for chronic diseases are also included in such a donation program.

This program was announced at a press conference in the presence of Greece’s health minister Adonis Georgiadis. Lauding Roche’s efforts he said: “Greece as we all know is attempting to come out from an unprecedented economic crisis. During such a crisis, private initiatives like this are not only important but also very necessary. The crisis mostly hits weaker social groups. While the government has taken up initiatives it does not mean that there is no space or role for private action. Programs such as the Roche Support Program for Uninsured Patients highlight the importance of giving. It is in this context that the ministry of health supports the program under its auspices.”

Tags: Sustainability, Society