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Roche keeps drugs from strapped Greek hospitals

The Wall Street Journal, September 20, 2011
Swiss drug giant Roche Holding AG has stopped delivering its drugs for cancer and other diseases to some state-funded hospitals in Greece that haven't paid their bills, and may take similar steps elsewhere, a stark example of how the European debt crisis that has jolted global financial markets is having a direct effect on consumers. In Greece, Roche is boosting deliveries to pharmacies, which have paid their bills more reliably, Chief Executive Severin Schwan said in an interview on Friday. Patients at some hospitals now must take their prescriptions to a local pharmacy, and, in the case of intravenous or injected cancer drugs, bring them back to the hospital to be administered, he said. Schwan said patients haven't been deprived of their medication as a result of the new measures, which he said Roche may need to adopt in Spain, as well.

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