McGrath calls on Regulator to act on Pharmacy dispute

South Tipperary/West Waterford TD Mattie McGrath, has in a statement today, called on the Pharmaceutical Regulator to engage with the Irish Pharmacy Union with a view to bringing the current dispute to between the IPU and the Minister for Health to an amnical agreement that suits both sides.

His call comes after the Minister for Health and Children and the HSE failed to enter negotiations with the Pharmacies representative group.

Deputy McGrath said, “The European Commissioner for Competition, Neelie Kroes, gave her opinion in June 2008, stating that under EU Competition Law, the Irish State can negotiate pharmacists’ fees with their representative body, the Irish Pharmacy Union. The Commissioner said …the fixation of fees for pharmacy services would only be problematic from the point of view of EC competition law if it was not the Irish State which had the final word in fixing the price.”

“The Regulator must recognise the important role of the IPU as the key stakeholder representative group for community pharmacy contractors and must urgently engage in a process with the IPU to develop a new substantive contract including potential models for payment arrangements before peoples lives are put at risk.”

“It is clear now, that in some areas the Health Service Executive’s contingency plan is in shambles and it is only a matter of time before the current dispute will cause serious sickness and even death.”

Concluding Deputy said, “For the sake of patients who need their medication and those who need medication on a regular basis this dispute needs to be brought to an end. I feel that if the regulator has the powers to assist in anyway, he should become involved.”

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