The man leading the war between the National Organization for Healthcare Provision (EOPYY) and pharmacists, Gerasimos Voudouris, is likely to be replaced this week by the former head of the Panhellenic Pharmacists’ Association, Theodoros Ambatzoglou, Kathimerini has learned.
As chief of the country’s largest healthcare provider, Voudouris has been at loggerheads with pharmacists, who have said that as of September 1 they will stop providing prescription medicine on credit until the organization settles all of its outstanding debts. This is a tactic they have used in the past in order to put pressure on EOPYY to settle a part of its drugs bill. However, on Wednesday the clash intensified after EOPYY’s board of directors said that it will be suspending all payments into the accounts of pharmacists’ associations that are participating in the protest action.
The Panhellenic Pharmacists’ Association lashed out at the decision, calling the payment of arrears to pharmacies complying with EOPYY “funding for a strike-breaking mechanism.”
Ambatzoglou served as president of the Social Security Foundation (IKA) until 2010. He tendered his resignation as head of the country’s pharmacists’ association on Saturday after a meeting of regional union chiefs ended with the sector split over whether or not to launch the protest action on September 1 or to wait for EOPYY -- which said that the arrears for June would be paid by the first week of September -- to make good on its promise and to set a date for the next tranche of payments.
“After the chaos that reigned at the meeting and the inability to reach a consensual decision, it is impossible for me to represent the sector,” Ambatzoglou had said after tendering his resignation.
The political motives and implications behind the leadership change at EOPYY remained unclear, though it is apparent that the health sector is in for several more weeks of upheaval.
Meanwhile, doctors on Wednesday launched their own attack on EOPYY, demanding that they too be paid money owed to them and asking for an audit of the organization’s expenditures. Doctors had said earlier this week that they would from September 3 demand payment for consultations directly from patients insured with EOPYY.