Attica pharmacists threaten new round of action over delayed OPAD payments

Attica pharmacists are once again threatening to cut off the supply of medication on credit to those insured by the civil servants' social insurance fund OPAD,  starting on May 1, unless the promises to settle OPAD's past debts to pharmacists are fulfilled by the end of this month.

In an announcement on Monday, the Attica Pharmacists' Association said that not a single member of the association in west Attica had been paid so far and that the process for paying them had not even started.

It also noted that very little of the money set aside to pay for prescriptions filled out in 2011 had reached recipients that were members of the association and that OPAD's debts to pharmacies for 2010 remained unpaid, while their future "looked grim".

The head of the National Pharmacists Association Theodoros Abatzoglou made similar warnings during a press conference on Monday, though he appeared to consider that OPAD had set in motion the process to pay off outstanding debts to pharmacies. He pointed to continued problems with the Public Power Corporation (PPC) workers' fund, which he said had not paid its debts in over a year, and the fund of Hellenic Telecommunications Employees (OTE).

Abatzoglou also asserted that the state was planning to restrict the profit margin for pharmacies to not more that 15 percent from the current 18.5-20 percent, which he predicted would lead some 20 percent of existing pharmacies to close.

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