ATHENS, Greece (JTA) – A Greek official warned the country’s parliament that a pending bill to open up the Greek drug market to cheap generic drugs was the result of a conspiracy between Germany and Jewish groups.
During Wednesday’s debate, 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.
“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 favour the Israeli companies is either stupid or irrelevant, or manipulated,” said Giannakopoulos.
He called for a parliamentary investigation into the role of former Greek prime minister Antonis Samaras, Greek-Israeli businessman Sabi Mionis, and David Harris, the director of the American Jewish Committee, in creating the bill.
He said that 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 German generic drug maker Ratiopharm by Israeli pharmaceutical giant Teva.
His accusation was later echoed 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.