AD demands liberalisation of pharmacy licenses
In a press conference near Mater Dei Hospital, Alternattiva Demokratika Chairperson Michael Briguglio said that in Parliament it would propose legislation which will help ensure lower prices for medicinal products.
While health care services should remain free for everyone, in view of the demographic changes leading to an ageing population, it should be ensured that the health care system remains sustainable, he said. AD believes that the national health care system should be based on the values of solidarity and social cohesion. The privatisation of the health care system not only sustains inequalities but also undermines the value of inclusiveness.
Michael Briguglio continued that the pharmacy of your choice (POYC) scheme should be extended so that patients benefiting from this scheme are not faced with the difficulty of out of stock medicine, and patients are granted the right to collect medicines from any pharmacy instead of the present centralised system where Government procures the lot itself. Government should refund pharmacies according to just and established pricing.
AD Secretary General Ralph Cassar added that the licensing of pharmacies should be reformed so that additional licenses are issued for the opening of new pharmacies in localities. Presently the licensing permits for medicines are limited to the ratio of one for every 2500 persons and the issuing of a new licence can only be sustained following the closure of an existing pharmacy. This is leading to a situation where there are more pending applications for licensing than existing pharmacies. This limitation is certainly not feasible for localities which attract a substantial number of tourists and hinders rather than encourages competition and innovation.
“The liberalisation of the sector should help the consumer to get a more efficient service. Simultaneously, there should be a clause which assures a minimum amount of pharmacies in every locality. There should also be a scheme whereby a pharmacy or pharmacies remain open at every hour of the day,” Ralph Cassar concluded.