Pharmacists to offer discounts

Following the mediation of Health Minister Andreas Loverdos, social security funds yesterday agreed to pay pharmacists the millions of euros they owe them on the condition the pharmacists give them discounts on medicines. According to the agreement brokered by Loverdos, the rebates would be offered by the pharmacists on a sliding scale according to the latter’s turnover as long as the social security funds pay their dues without delay. This condition is to be stipulated in draft legislation aimed at liberalizing the pharmacists’ sector – one of several so-called «closed professions» the government has pledged to open up to boost competitiveness. Another proposal put forward by Loverdos yesterday was for all pharmacies to open on Saturdays. The pharmacists did not agree to that but said they would increase the number of pharmacies operating on Saturdays to 20 percent of the total, from around 6 percent now.