Pharmacists reject proposal for longer opening hours

In the latest chapter of an ongoing dispute between Health Minister Andreas Loverdos and Greece?s pharmacists, who are resisting changes in the deregulation process of their profession, the union representing the country?s pharmacists rejected a proposal by the minister to fully liberalize their opening hours.

Loverdos on Monday suggested that pharmacists should be allowed the option of opening their shops on Monday and Wednesday afternoons, as well as on Saturdays — currently, only a limited number of pharmacies operate during these times on an official rotation schedule.

The head of the Greek Pharmacists? Association, Theodoros Abatzoglou, however, responded to the proposal by saying that extended opening hours would mean that the ?big fish will eat the little fish,? echoing fears that the liberalization of the profession provides an unfair advantage to bigger pharmaceutical enterprises.