Pharmacists clash with the Health Ministry after the later submitted an amendment for the full opening of the closed profession on Wednesday.
According to the amendment, in addition to pharmacists also non-pharmacists will be granted permission to open a pharmacy.
Pharmacy permissions will be granted by decision of the regional governors.
The licensee may operate a pharmacy either as a sole proprietor or as a trading company of any form except for public limited companies (S.A.)
After the health Ministry proposal, a Presidential Decree will determine the terms, conditions, restrictions, procedures and any other necessary details regarding granting a license for opening a pharmacy.
The response of the Greek Pharmacists’ Association (PPA) was immediate. The President of PPA, Kyriakos Theodosiadis, called on the government to respect the decisions of the Council of State. “Six months ago, with an overwhelming majority 20-2 the CoS ruled who is entitled to open a pharmacy,” Theodosiadis said underlining that the CoS decision was in line with the relevant judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Pharmacists definitely oppose such arrangements and will not allow the establishment of pharmacies by private persons [non-pharmacists], the PPA President warned adding “Anyone who wants to invest into a pharmacy on the basis of the government’s acrobatics will just lose his money.”
Sources of the Health Ministry commented on the Pharmacists’ warnings saying that the amendment doe snot add anything new to what has already been legislated with regards to the ownership status of pharmacies. “Purpose of the amendment is to fill the legislative gap that has been created after the CoS decision to dismiss the Law 4336/2015.
The Health Ministry has issued a Ministerial Decree in May 2016 to bypass obstacles, but the Pharmacists’ Association sought the Council of State challenging the procedure but not the content of the Decree.
Until the issue of the Presidential Decree licenses will be granted to certain cases and only to pharmacists, the sources told athensnewsagency adding that the Pharmacists Association was fully aware of the amendment.
The full opening of the pharmacists’ profession has been one of the lenders’ per-requisites since the first bailout in 2010. The powerful union has so far successfully blocked such a development. But it could not block the selling of non-prescription medicines in supermarkets. Here I should note that so far I have not seen non-prescription medicines on the supermarket shelves.
On the other hand, in Greece under lenders’ supervision, all governments – whether socialist, right- or left-wing – have sought the solution of the Presidential Decree in order to push forward legislation that was obvious the Parliament would not adopt or the country’s supreme courts would reject for reasons of violating the Constitution.
The Health Ministry amendment is to be voted today in the Parliament.