ATHENS, Greece (JTA) — The head of a group representing pharmaceutical firms in Greece warned that a pending bill to open up the country’s drug market to cheap generic drugs was the result of a conspiracy between Germany and Jewish groups.
During Wednesday’s debate in parliament, Dimitris Giannakopoulos, the president of the Hellenic Association of Pharmaceutical Companies, said 11,000 Greek jobs would be lost and blamed the measure on pressure from Jewish groups in order to benefit Israeli generic drug makers.
He called for a parliamentary investigation into the role of former Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, Greek-Israeli businessman Sabi Mionis, and David Harris, the director of the American Jewish Committee, in creating the bill.
Giannakopoulos said the move was also at the behest of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, accusing her of “imposing a contract of death on Greece” and referencing the 2010 takeover of the German generic drug maker Ratiopharm by the Israeli pharmaceutical giant Teva.
“Five years ago we said that Israeli companies are hiding behind all this. Whoever is familiar with the sector of medicines and has not yet understood that they are trying to favor the Israeli companies is either stupid or irrelevant, or manipulated,” Giannakopoulos said.
His accusation was echoed later by Nikos Nikolopoulos, a lawmaker from the right-wing Independent Greek party, the junior member of the governing coalition.
The debate was part of a series of measures imposed on Greece as part of the European financial bailout, including opening up closed sectors such as the pharmaceutical market.
Lawmakers from the Independent Greek party have been involved recently in a series of anti-Semitic incidents.
A recent ADL poll found that anti-Semitic stereotypes are widespread in Greece and that the country had the highest percentage of anti-Semitic views in Europe.