Pharmacies split over deal, some to shut on Wednesday


Some pharmacies will be closed on Wednesday, following a decision by the Panhellenic Pharmacists’ Association to protest an agreement between the Greek government and the country’s creditors that will permit the sale of over-the-counter medicines at supermarkets and provisions that would relax restrictions on who can open pharmacies.

Another union representing pharmacies operating on extended hours said it would not join the walkout as it wanted to “support the country at this difficult time.”

In a statement issued on Monday, the Panhellenic Pharmacists’ Association condemned the measures agreed with creditors, saying they treated “pharmacies as simple commercial enterprises, health as a tradable commodity and medicine as a common consumer product.”

It slammed the government for “following in the footsteps” of previous administrations, noting that pharmacists have “continued to support beneficiaries of social security funds by providing credit to EOPYY [the country’s main healthcare provider] and make sacrifices in order to fund a bankrupt social welfare state.”

In an open letter to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday, the head of the association, Constantinos Lourantos, declared, “You transformed a proud ‘no’ into a subservient ‘yes to everything.’”