NEWS

Pharmacists to meet to decide possible action against drug liberalization

The board of the nationwide union representing pharmacists, PFS, is due to meet in Athens on Wednesday to discuss whether to take action, and what form this would assume, in response to a draft law allowing non-prescription medicines to be sold at outlets other than pharmacies.

The liberalization of the over-the-counter drug market, allowing them to be sold at supermarkets and other outlets, is among a slew of proposals made by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to boost competitiveness, which the troika of foreign lenders is urging the Greek government to adopt.

Pharmacists, however, have taken issue with this particular proposal, arguing that the loss of revenue from over-the-counter drugs would lead to the closure of at least 11,000 pharmacies across Greece.

"If the government surrenders without a fight to the irrational demands of the troika's representatives, it is possible that the European elections [in May] will take place with closed pharmacies,» a spokesman for the pharmacists, said on Tuesday.

"Medicines are not consumer products. Competition and healthcare are incongruous concepts,» said the head of PFS, Kyriakos Theodosiadis.

Online