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11 000 pharmacies will strike for at least 48 hours

10 May 2010 / 12:05:52  GRReporter
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Opening of the profession, the criteria for cancellation of the opening of new pharmacies per capita and changes in the wholesale price of drugs, sparked the 48-hour strike by pharmacists. 

11,000 pharmacies will be closed today and tomorrow for a 48-hour strike, which was declared by the Greek Union of Pharmacists. This is the reaction of pharmacists against the reforms prepared by the Government related to the opening of the profession. On Wednesday it will be decided whether the strike will continue, said President Dimitris Vagionas, who was adamant that they must act "now or never." 

According to statements of pharmacists the new drugs with cheaper prices have not yet been put into circulation as there are still older and more expensive medicines in storage. It is expected that the VAT on drugs will rise from 11% to 23% and the state will cancel the 35 percent guaranteed profit for pharmacists. These are some of the reasons that prompted pharmacists to initiate protests. 

In particular, the Greek Union of pharmacists asked the government to clarify its intentions for opening the profession, to establish a concrete plan through which the government to be bound by deadlines and to clarify its policy for drugs and pharmacies, and in turn the Union of Pharmacists promised to immediately enter into dialogue with the government without putting on the agenda the institutional framework for the operation of pharmacies. 

"I do not intend to drag pharmacies to protest, but I must struggle with a government that thinks the profession is closed, provided that only in the last 3-4 years 3000 new pharmacies have opened," said President of the Union of Pharmacists Dimitris Vagionas. 

One of the issues that directly concern the Greek pharmacists is opening up the profession, which means that both foreigners and large foreign companies can enter market. This reform, accompanied by the repeal of the regulation by the state of how many pharmacies should exist per capita, will lead to greater competition in the industry. 

On the ninth pharmaceutical congress of Macedonia and Thrace Mr. Vagionas announced that he has scheduled a meeting with the Minister of Economy and Minister of Health. The director of the largest insurance fund in Greece (IKA) Theodoros Abadzoglu is also against the opening of the profession because it would be disastrous for the health insurance funds, if new pharmacies open.

Tags: Greece strike pharmacies
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