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Pharmacists on indefinite strike

25 March 2014 / 19:03:36  GRReporter
2418 reads

Pharmacists will go on indefinite strike as of Wednesday, accusing the government of unprecedented mockery as, at the last minute, it has surprisingly and cowardly inserted into the bill, which it has agreed with the Troika, changes to the regime of pharmacies. According to pharmacists, this will destroy the sector and put public health at risk.

During an emergency press conference of the Hellenic Pharmaceutical Union, its president Kyriakos Theodosiadis explained that "pharmacies will not go like sheep to the slaughter", and added,

"Whoever wants medicines shall go to buy them from the cabinet of Minister Kostis Hatzidakis. Those deputies who intend to vote for these provisions should provide medicines for the citizens too. The masks have fallen, the Shrovetide carnivals are over. Everyone should assume responsibility for, and the consequences of, their decisions. I urge the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Health to intervene and make the drafters of the bill come to their senses. Minister of Health Adonis Georgiadis should not sign it because it would mean recanting..."

The president of the Hellenic Pharmaceutical Union mentioned in detail the provisions that are destructive not only to the sector, 12,000 pharmacists, social policy, but also to public health. The provisions, as he pointed out, permit the opening of pharmacies in supermarkets and toyshops, allowing a pharmacist to hold a permit for more than 100 pharmacies. In addition, they allow pharmacies to open whenever they want and at whatever time they want, which means that, for example, in the summer heat, there may be no open pharmacy. The provisions also cancel the requirement for a certain distance between pharmacies, which can lead to concentration of pharmacies in city centres. Moreover, the liberalization of medicine prices will turn them into commercial goods as of 1 January 2017.

In particular, as stated at the press conference, the information available to the Hellenic Pharmaceutical Union shows that the government has made the following changes:

1. Article 2 repeals certain provisions as a result of which:

a) a pharmacist will be entitled to as many permits to open a pharmacy as he or she wants - 1, 10 or even 100 ... (existing provision: Article 8 of 3.5607/1932)

b) pharmacies can be located in all commercial sites, i.e. in supermarkets... (existing provision: Article 13 of 3.5607/1932)

2. Article 1 allows an unlicensed pharmacist to hold any share of the equity of a company that runs a pharmacy and can therefore own 99% whereas the licence holder can hold only 1%. This actually legalizes the renting of pharmacies.

3. Article 4 cancels the requirement for a certain distance between pharmacies and the result of this will be that pharmacies will move to city centres and outside hospitals.

In addition, the simultaneous cancelation of the provisions of Article 20 of 3.5607/1932 and Article 7 of 3.328/1976 poses a major problem with respect to whether pharmacies are allowed to move from one municipality to another. The chaos that will follow then will be quite natural.

4. Article 5 cancels the requirements of the development plan on opening a pharmacy, with the result that each new pharmacist will open a pharmacy only in the city centre and outside hospitals (existing provision: Article 36, Paragraph 1 of 3.3918/2011)...

5. Article 6 actually cancels duties, as each pharmacist will be allowed to open and close his or her pharmacy whenever he or she wants to.

6. Article 3 removes any control over the operation of pharmacies, as they will be allowed to open, and more importantly to close, whenever they want and for as long as they want, without prior notification and without informing citizens (existing provisions: Article 11, Paragraphs 1 to 4 of 3.5607/1932).

7. Article 7 provides for the opening of new pharmacies opposite hospitals, regardless of their capacity.

8. Article 11 allows the pharmacy area to be just 5 square metres instead of the minimum 30 square metres required at present...

The response of the Ministry of Health

In turn, the Ministry of Health emphasizes in a statement that "the government has undertaken serious negotiations with the Troika", the result of which is as follows:

- Postponing the implementation of the commitment to reduce the rate of profit of pharmacists to 15%.

- Prohibiting the sale of medicines without prescription in supermarkets.

- Retaining the requirement for a certain number of people in order to avoid the uncontrolled increase in the number of pharmacies.

- Allowing only pharmacists, rather than third parties, to purchase and sell medicines.

Therefore, according to the Ministry of Health, "despite the undoubtedly successful progress of the negotiations between the Greek government and the Troika, the Hellenic Pharmaceutical Union is about to announce an indefinite strike, striving to abolish insignificant regulations."

Tags: Indefinite strikePharmacistsPharmaciesTroikaAgreementBill
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