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Health minister's talks with pharmacists end in deadlock

Δημοσίευση 15 Ιανουαρίου 2011, 12:43 / Ανανεώθηκε 27 Ιουνίου 2013, 14:55
Health minister's talks with pharmacists end in deadlock
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Talks between Health Minister Andreas Loverdos and Greek pharmacists on legislation to open their profession ended in deadlock on Friday, with the two sides unable to reach agreement on the measures proposed by the government. The draft bill on the measures is due to be tabled in Parliament next Wednesday.

Talks between Health Minister Andreas Loverdos and Greek pharmacists on legislation to open their profession ended in deadlock on Friday, with the two sides unable to reach agreement on the measures proposed by the government. The draft bill on the measures is due to be tabled in Parliament next Wednesday.

Loverdos briefed pharmacists on replies sent by the European Commission to four inquiries on issues concerning deregulation of pharmacies. According to Loverdos, the Commission called for pharmacies to remain open on Saturdays and on the evenings of Monday and Wednesday, following regular shop opening hours. It also called for a partial relaxation of population restrictions for opening a new pharmacy.

The minister announced that measures along these lines will be included in the draft legislation going to Parliament and that he was not prepared to negotiate on this issue.

Pharmacists were also adamant in opposing the proposals, with the head of the nationwide pharmacists association announcing that they would take the matter to European courts on the grounds that directives exempting pharmacies from measures to open professions had been violated.

The head of the Attica pharmacists association, meanwhile, essentially announced the closure of pharmacies around the capital at the weekend by means of withdrawing the list of pharmacies that remain open at the weekend for emergency needs.
Under the new measures, current restrictions allowing only one pharmacy per 1,500 residents will be reduced to one pharmacy per 1,000 residents. Pharmacist associations claim that this will further increase the number of existing pharmacies - already high at 12,000 around the country - by about another 1,000.

They also claim that the discounts that pharmacists are required to give social insurance funds based on their percentage of profit will in the medium term amount to 4.4 percent, instead of 2.5 percent, and that this violates the 1:3 ratio relative to the discount given by pharmaceutical firms.