Phar­ma­cists vow to fight new mea­sures

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Greek phar­ma­cists say they will take their case to the Euro­pean Court of Jus­tice if they need to in or­der to pre­vent the gov­ern­ment from mak­ing it eas­ier for en­trepreneurs to open phar­ma­cies.

One of the lib­er­al­iza­tion poli­cies adopted by the gov­ern­ment as part of its bailout com­mit­ments is that peo­ple who are not qual­i­fied phar­ma­cists will be able to open stores.

The is­sue was dis­cussed at a meet­ing of the Pan­hel­lenic Phar­ma­cists’ As­so­ci­a­tion yesterday and it was de­cided that its mem­bers would mount a cam­paign to block this mea­sure from be­ing im­ple­mented. The dereg­u­la­tion of the sec­tor would also al­low phar­ma­cies to op­er­ate within su­per­mar­kets.

The phar­ma­cists ar­gue that they have le­gal prece­dent on their side as the Euro­pean Court of Jus­tice dis­agreed with the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion in 2009, when it brought in­fringe­ment pro­ceed­ings against Italy. The Com­mis­sion was seek­ing a dec­la­ra­tion that Ital­ian law, which al­lowed only phar­ma­cists to own and op­er­ate pri­vate phar­ma­cies, was in breach of Ar­ti­cle 43 EC on the free­dom of es­tab­lish­ment and of Ar­ti­cle 56 EC on the free move­ment of cap­i­tal.

The phar­ma­cists also ar­gued that the pos­si­bil­ity of chain stores open­ing up in Greece would not nec­es­sar­ily ben­e­fit lo­cal con­sumers as they of­ten lead to car­tel pric­ing and spe­cific prod­ucts be­ing pushed.

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