Friday, 14 August 2009

Ireland - Pharmacy Row Taken to High Court (UPDATE)

The High Court in Ireland has extended an injunction against 35 pharmacies on 10th August 2009, prohibiting them from withdrawing services under the Community Drug Schemes without the required notice of 30 days.

The injunction was sought by the Health Service Executive (HSE) against pharmacies in the Hickley and Bradley pharmacy groups, but the HSE has asserted that it will not hesitate to take action against any other pharmacies that breach their Community Pharmacy Contractor Agreements. The injunction hearing will be heard on September 9th 2009.

Around 500 pharmacies have terminated their contracts following pay cuts (see Ireland - Pay Cut Leads to Pharmaceutical Supply Crisis).

The Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) has called the HSE’s decision to go to court “unhelpful”.

Mary Harney, the Minister for Health and Children, stated, “The new payment rates are now set in law. They have been in effect since 1st July. It is done. There will be no policy change, no change in the law to change the payment rates now.”

Ms Harney also said talks with the IPU were possible to resolve the dispute, but that mediation is not possible due to the High Court involvement, as “it is not possible to mediate law”.

Further reading - A detailed analysis of the Irish pharmaceutical market, including some background information on pharmacies, is available from Espicom: The Pharmaceutical Market: Ireland (published June 2009)

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