The Greek government has taken a firm stance on the disputed reform in licensing for new pharmacies by issuing a ministerial decree which allows licences to be granted to private non-pharmacist individuals, under certain conditions.
The new ministerial decision dictates that non-pharmacists can own pharmacies as long as licensed pharmacists own a 20% stake in the establishment and the company is registered as a Limited Liability Company (LLC). Up to five new licenses may be issued to each individual until the end of this year, and the permitted number of licenses an individual can receive will be raised by one each of the following five years. Thus in five years a non-pharmacist could potentially own ten pharmacies. However, the decree also notes that the existing one pharmacy per one thousand residents policy is still in effect.
Greek pharmacists carried out a 24 hour strike on Monday, October 26 in response to the government’s endorsement of the new license policy. They had halted the strike during the week in anticipation of the government’s ultimate decision.
This decision solves one of the three main disputes between the Greek government and international creditors with regards to the prior actions the country must legislate before receiving two billion euros of additional bailout funds. The other two, foreclosures on first homes and VAT on private education, have yet to be resolved.