After an open-ended strike by pharmacists resulted in huge lines of Greeks seeking medicines, the union representing the sector decided over the weekend to open more duty pharmacies to tackle the fallout of its own industrial action.
The Greek Pharmacists’ Association said on Saturday that additional pharmacies would open their doors and that duty pharmacies would be “reinforced” with more staff and fresh supplies “to avoid inconveniencing the public to as great a degree as possible.”
The association added in its statement that it was not striking pharmacists that were to blame for the recent upheaval but “those who are trying to degrade the Greek pharmacist and pharmaceutical care,” a reference to the government’s troika-imposed reforms which open their profession to competition.
The pharmacists launched their open-ended strike last Wednesday in protest at the government’s liberalization measures, claiming that they threaten the livelihoods of some 12,000 Greek professionals. Pharmacists are particularly concerned about plans to allow supermarkets to sell over-the-counter medicines, fearing that this would result in large retail chains pushing many small businesses out of the market.
Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis lashed out at striking pharmacists over the weekend, accusing them of holding Greek citizens hostage to achieve their trade union goals.
Unionists have accused the government of overhauling the sector under pressure by the troika to serve big business interests and cartels.