Greek pharmacists, already angry the government is months behind paying them overdue subsidies for the country’s health care system, said they will resist reforms that would allow non-prescription drugs such as aspirin to be sold in supermarkets.
The druggists say only they are qualified to sell drugs that don’t require a doctor’s order although international lenders have been pressing the government to break up monopolies given certain professions which enjoy guaranteed profits and limit competition.
The Panhellenic Pharmacists’ Association’s board of directors is expected to meet on March 5 to decide what to do about the reform insisted upon by the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB).
Unlike in the United States and many other countries, Greeks can only buy items such as non-prescription pain killers in drug stores which are closed most afternoons at 2 p.m. There is a rotating system in which some are open at other hours during the evenings and into the next morning but most are closed otherwise.
Unionists warned that if the government surrendered to the “irrational demands of Troika representatives without a fight, the Euro-elections could take place with closed pharmacies.” That was in reference to May elections for Greek municipalities and the European Parliament.