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Pharmacists ‘clash’ with Health Ministry over granting licenses to non-professionals

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.

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  1. I don’t know why this would be a problem. In the US there are plenty of pharmacies owned by non Pharmacists? You just ensure that each pharmacy (obviously) has a proper pharamacist working on the premises. What is the “magic” that a pharmacist would ONLY know how to run a pharmacy business? Seems any businessman could do it, except of course for the dispensing of medication which would be done by the employed pharmacist on the premises?

  2. Martin Baldwin-Edwards

    @Hecataeus: the real problem is that there are already too many pharmacies actually owned and managed by qualified pharmacists. Greece needs fewer pharmacies, not more. The same was true for taxi-drivers, who were in excess of demand — but the profession was deregulated anyway, effectively stealing the massive licence fees paid in the past by existing taxi-owners and overpopulating the taxi service of Athens. (And as a side-note, taxi prices have not come down: they have never been so high, and you still do not get proper intelligible receipts that can be used outside of Greece.)

    All of this is neoliberal propaganda and ideology, and imposed on Greece for no reason other than dogma. There is no benefit in removing professional restrictions when a profession is already over-populated. Greece does not need more pharmacies and taxis: it needs more production and exports. The Troika and the IMF offer precisely zero to Greece in the areas required, and impose their moronic ideology on the country endlessly. Tsakalotos is also a disgrace in not resisting economic nonsense, and he just does as he is told.

  3. @MBE, yes good points, but I will tell you that using one of those taxi beat apps seems the price is pretty cheap since they give you bonuses and discounts every month or so. But as far as pharmacies go, yes, they are on every corner, but I do like the personal service at mine.