Pharmacists threaten legal action against liberalization

eKathimerini — Pharmacists are threatening to take recourse to the European Court of Justice against the liberalization of drugstores.

Under its bailout agreement in 2015, Greece agreed to allow individuals who do not have a pharmacist’s degree to open a dispensary.

The Council of State had annulled the measure on the grounds that it was introduced on the ministerial level, but the Health Ministry is now pushing for a presidential decree, prompting fresh anger from pharmacists, who had gone on protracted strikes when the measure was first discussed in 2015.

The liberalisation of pharmacies pharmacies is one of the prior actions required by the lenders. The demand was first made in 2012 and again in 2014 following an OECD report which recommended the removal of ownership, geographical, population and opening hours  restrictions. Last year the government – again on the insistence of the lenders – legislated for the sale of non prescription drugs in retail outlets other than pharmacies.  so far there are 216 such products – such as painkillers and indigestion medication – that can be sold  in supermarkets and other retailers, with the lenders pressing the government to increase the list of these products.