The pharmaceutical association reasserted its support for the implementation of the National Health Scheme (Gesy), but noted that its members are concerned over changes in the system for compensation of pharmacists.
The association decided in an extraordinary general assembly on Sunday that it will allow its negotiating team another two to three weeks to deliberate with the Health Insurance Organisation (HIO) on issues of concern before announcing its final position regarding its members’ participation in Gesy.
According the head of the pharmaceutical association, Eleni Piera, the HIO issued a written proposal on Saturday for the framework of participation of pharmacists in Gesy.
What worried the association’s members were the changes in the system of compensation, as it proposed that pharmacists no longer receive a fee analogous to the price of the drug, but rather receive a fixed fee for each packet sold.
“It is a radical change that legitimately arouses concern among our members,” Piera said, “as pharmacists will receive the same fee, even if the drug is worth €5, €50, or €500.”
Pharmacists are also concerned over functional matters, Piera added, such as whether prescription drugs will bring about a profit within the overall budget of the scheme, which would in turn ensure the viability of pharmacies.
“The negotiating team argued strongly for an increase to the overall budget, and believes that there are still margins for further discussions in view of ensuring that pharmacists are sufficiently compensated,” Piera said.
On a more positive note, Piera said, with Gesy, each patient will be registered with a pharmacist in their area, with which they will be in direct contact, and which will also help tackle the current trend of drug purchases from the north.