In order to reduce costs the Government has increasingly restricted the range of medicines that are eligible for reimbursement by the social security system, and the rate at which they are reimbursed has also been reduced.
This rule applies mainly to 'branded' medicines. These are drugs which still have patent protection, as opposed to generic copies of these drugs, available when the patent of the branded drug has expired.
The government have argued that either the drugs are not effective or there are similar generic products on the market that are less expensive.
They are also mounting a campaign against the excessive use of antibiotics for minor ailments.
The withdrawal of many branded drugs from the list of prescribed medicines has caused a lot of controversy with doctors and patients and has incurred the wrath of the very powerful pharmaceutical industry.
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