If Greece exits the European Union medicines supply across the region could be significantly impacted from a surge in parallel trade, pharmaceutical industry representatives are reportedly warning officials.

In a letter sent to EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, seen by Reuters, Richard Bergstrom, director-general of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, warns “in the worst-case scenario of 'Grexit', we believe the integrity of the medicines supply chain may be in jeopardy, which would create a risk to public health”.

According to Reuters, drugmakers have not been reimbursed by state hospitals in Greece or the nation’s public health insurer since December, and while they have agreed to continue supplying medicines for the meantime, they warn there could still be shortages unless measures are put in place to stop them being re-routed to other countries. 

If Greece does leave the European Union and reinstates the drachmar, the expected sudden fall in the value of its currency will create a prime opportunity for parallel exporters to profit from selling medicines on to other countries, risking drug supplies, which could impact the whole market.

Back in 2013 the country was forced to impose a ban on the parallel trade of 34 medicines as an emergecy measure to protect their availability in the country, after low drug prices spurred a spike in exports.