We, the Médecins du Monde / Doctors of the World in cooperation with the Voluntary Action Group of Pieria's Prefecture “my place” run a social practice and -pharmacy in Katerini nearby Thessaloniki in Greece. The social practice and pharmacy currently serves around 500 impoverished families in Katerini and the surrounding area with an increasing tendency- every day we register new patients.
In our practice around 90 physicians from all medical disciplines provide their professional service on a voluntary basis besides their regular office hours. In the last years of the crisis, the bottleneck has shifted to the availability and affordability of drugs and medical devices. In Greek hospitals resources were massively reduced so that medicinal products and medical supplies run out of stock but could not be replenished. Patients are therefore encouraged to obtain their pharmaceuticals and medical devices prior hospitalization personally from pharmacies and bring them to treatment, what many impoverished families cannot afford.
Resources are scarce and there is a great need for donations of pharmaceuticals and medical devices. Therefore, in 2014 we initiated a web based European campaign on drug donations and received more than 500 packages per year in response. Around 95% were originating from German speaking countries (Germany, Austria and Switzerland), 3% from Greece and 2% from France and the United Kingdom.
We want to express our gratitude for all packages we have received so far, with your donations we were able to help hundreds of Greek patients in need, develop our systems and get started from somewhere.
We have setup a pharmaceutical database and are in charge of a secure and transparent storing and tracking system were all donations are recorded after a first quality check done by our pharmacists. The pharmaceutical database is accessible to registered users (donators, hospitals, social pharmacies and their doctors) and currently counts around 13.000 medicinal products. Registered users can access our system and see whether we have a desired medicinal product on stock via a search engine on our drug pool. In case of a match the doctor will send us the patient with a prescription to come and pick it up. To ensure that donated drugs are not resold the delivery to the consumer is restricted, monitored and recorded in the tracking system. Hospitals have to sign a donation contract and there is a ceiling of 10% on our current stock volume of the respective product per donation. Donators can follow-up on the lifecycle and movements of their donated medicinal products at any time.
However, experience taught us that the high administrative and sorting burden of private donations has proven to be inefficient in the long term therefore we are striving for a more systematic approach in the long term.
We therefore now turn to the pharmaceutical industry, drug wholesalers and medicine agencies of Europe asking for professional support and more sustained donations.
A list with the substances we need most urgently can be found on top of this article, it was developed in cooperation with experts from Greek university hospitals of Thessaloniki and Athens.
Please contact us we urgently need your help.