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Amendment allows Greek Pharmacies to turn into Primary Health Units

With a new legislation, pharmacies in Greece will be converted into Primary Health Units. Strong objections by the Medical Association of Athens that warns “public health is at risk.”

With an amendment submitted to Parliament by Health Minister Andreas Xanthos, pharmacies in Greece will be allowed to perform primary health services like vaccinations and First-Aid care.

According to the amendment, “licensed pharmacists may carry out specific primary health services like influenza vaccinations or tetanus serum.

However, in order to carry out the aforementioned operations, pharmacists should receive specific certification. The terms, conditions and the certification process are determined by the broad of directors of the Greek Health System EOPYY.

Pharmacists hailed the amendment and described the amendment as “historic” since it finally recognizes their role in the primary health service.

It has been a common practice in Greek pharmacies for several decades that pharmacists give a shot or clean a wound and wrap a bandage when necessary.

According to available data, 90% of annual anti-influenza vaccinations and tetanus-serum shots are been conducted at the pharmacy Greece-wide.

Doctors reacted angrily, with the medical Association of Athens to demand the withdrawal of the amendment. “No medicine can be given without prescription, no medicla practice can be performed by non-doctors,” the MAA said in a statement.

PS I do not know how many flu-vaccinations doctors perform per year, but the common practice is: One goes to the doctor to get the prescription, then goes to the pharmacy to buy it. You think, that the average Greek would try to get a new doctor appointment for the shot? The shot is given right there in the pharmacy. Or you think that when in need of tetanus-shot which needs immediate reaction after the injury, the injured would spend hours going around? And this practice has been going on for years. The only difference is that this practice was rather illegal. People have easier access to pharmacies than to doctor’s office and do not need an appointment via the automatic system. Less bureaucracy pays off.

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