Thursday’s meeting between the pharmacists association and the Health Insurance Organisation (HIO) ended in impasse over a dispute over compensation sought by the former, who hinted at possible measures unless their demands are met.

Eleni Piera Isseyek, head of the pharmacists’ association, later told media that the “ball is now in the HIO’s court.”

The HIO is the agency that runs the general health system, or Gesy.

Pharmacists who are part of Gesy want from the HIO a commitment in writing that this year they will get refunded the financial damage they sustained in 2022, and that there will be a renegotiation of their agreement with the HIO.

Taking industrial action was not an end unto itself, Isseyek said. Their association would convene this coming weekend to decide their next steps.

At issue is the compensation sought by the pharmacists for losses they sustained last year. The funds allocated to them for prescriptions in 2022 came to €30 million for 15 million medicinal packages.

However, the pharmacists say, far more prescriptions were actually issued during the course of the year.

According to Isseyek, the HIO ought to have anticipated the rise in prescriptions during 2022, given a predictable uptick in infections following two years of stay-at-home measures and other restrictions imposed on people in relation to Covid-19.

The HIO does not appear willing to compensate the pharmacists, only promising that it will better handle the funds allocation in 2023.

Isseyek also said that the minister of health fully understands their situation and demands, but the problem lies with the HIO.