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Pharmacies in Greece close for three days

17 January 2011 / 19:01:22  GRReporter
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Pharmacists in Greece will be on 24-hour strikes from Wednesday to Friday to oppose the bill on health which will be presented to the Parliament on Wednesday. Pharmacies in the region of Piraeus are closed today and tomorrow. The main demands of pharmacists from the Ministry of Health concern the requirement for opening a pharmacy according to the number of population and the opening hours.

According to the decision of the Greek Pharmaceutical Union, pharmacies will remain closed on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and the next week on January 26, 27 and 28. There will be a meeting of the union on Monday to take decisions. Lists with the addresses of the pharmacies that will work during the strike will be on the doors of closed pharmacies. Ill elderly people have expressed their concerns about the fact that pharmacies will remain closed for many days. "I am diabetic and I need to get my meds. Yes, I will buy more injections. I myself worked in a pharmacy so now I will call on the phone the owner and ask him to keep some medicines for me. Yet, I am worried that if I need something I will have to go to another neighbourhood and I can not move very much," said the 76-year-old Roksani.

"The worst thing is that they decided those who wish to work on Saturdays. But this is worse than if all were told to work on Saturdays, not just those who want. Now, one pharmacy will be opened, the other will be opened and I can not leave my pharmacy closed ... There are five pharmacies here in the neighbourhood, in the next few blocks. How many could there be?" said the owner of a pharmacy in the neighbourhood of Tisio.

"I did not get tired as much as now a year ago! There is a lot of clerical work now. For example, I had ordered some medicines some time ago and they said subsequently these medicines would be withdrawn from the market. So, I had to find the documents for their order and etc. to get them back. The health fund of free professionals TEVE has introduced electronic prescriptions. But the system does not operate particularly well – it accepts some recipes and do not accept others. Other health insurance funds have not introduced e-prescriptions and we are really confused when the time comes to prepare our reports. This combination of the old and new system for recipes is awfully tiresome.

Look here. I have a whole bunch of boxes filled with medicines that I have not yet managed to arrange in the lockers because I have a lot of work to do. We need a little rest to be productive. Why didn’t they follow the example of Sweden or Germany in terms of the number of pharmacies per capita? In Sweden, for example, there is one pharmacy per 10 000 people. Here there is a pharmacy per 1000 people now not per 1500 people as before. They want to turn the pharmacies into kiosks – to be open day and night. This will force many pharmacists to leave their pharmacies and the new owners will probably have specific interests," concluded a pharmacy owner who has been dealing with pharmacy for 38 years.

"There will be general meeting of the Union of Pharmacists in Greece on Monday. We will decide whether we will take other measures - such as to stop crediting health insurance funds. This means that all medicines should be paid on the spot," told the chairman of the Union of Pharmacists in Attica Costas Lorandos for grreporter.info.

The bill to reform the health sector and the operation of pharmacies will be presented to the Parliament on Wednesday. "This means that we have another 15 days plus five more to negotiate before the plenary session. So, the bill is expected to be passed around mid-February and we'll see what will happen until then," added Lorandos.

Health Minister Andreas Loverdos presented to pharmacists the European Commission’s replies to the four letters asking its competent opinion relating to the functioning of the pharmacies. The Minister explained that according to the replies of the Commission, pharmacies should work on Saturday but also in the afternoon, and on Monday and Wednesday at the same time reducing the number of people to be served required for opening a new pharmacy. Andreas Loverdos clarified that these regulations will be included in the bill and this issue will not be discussed any further.

In connection with the pharmacists’ protests announced, Minister Loverdos said that long strikes will not benefit anyone - neither the country nor the pharmacists themselves. "The point of mutual agreement concerning pharmacists companies and price reductions will remain in the same bill," added the minister. "From now on, the dialogue will continue in Parliament," said he. The president of the Union of Pharmacists in Attica Costas Lorandos will speak in Parliament next Wednesday.

Meanwhile, pharmacists will allow the Greeks to buy the drugs they will need in the next days until tomorrow - Tuesday.

Tags: PharmaciesPharmacistsMedicinesPer capita requirementOpening hoursNewsSocietyStrikes
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