TALLINN - The Estonian Pharmacists' Association and the Chamber of Pharmacists have sent a joint statement to the parliament requesting to vote out at a plenary session on Tuesday a bill aimed at amending the Medicinal Products Act and annulling the pharmacy reform.
"If the bill were to be rejected at first reading already, it would give pharmacists the certainty required for making the necessary investments for the reform to be successful. It is very regrettable that the cancellation of the pharmacy reform is again being discussed just one month before the reform's completion," Kaidi Sarv, head pharmacists at the Estonian Pharmacists' Association, said.
"All parties have been aware of the pharmacy reform for the past five years. Annulling or changing it beyond recognition at the last moment would call into question the consistency and reliability of the state's decisions," she said.
Karin Alamaa-Aas, chair of the Chamber of Pharmacists said that pharmacists have been waiting for the parliament to expressly confirm that the pharmacy reform will continue since September, when the issue of amending the reform first became topical.
"The Riigikogu decided on Dec. 17 to support the continuation of the pharmacy reform because there is no distinct need to change it in its final stage. Now, however, a bill seeking to annul the pharmacy reform is again being handled just one month before the reform is to take effect definitively," she noted.
What pharmacists need is certainty and a peaceful work atmosphere, Alamaa-Aas added.
"There are at present over 200 pharmacist-owned drugstores in Estonia as a result of the pharmacy reform; two large chains have also announced they would join in, and the rest of the pharmacies not meeting requirements are preparing to transition to the system of pharmacist-owned drugstores," she said.
With the reform ending on April 1, Estonia will switch to a system of pharmacist-owned pharmacies, where only pharmacists can operate pharmacies and the retail and wholesale of medicines will be separated.
The Estonian Pharmacists' Association unites pharmacist-owned pharmacies across Estonia. The Estonian Chamber of Pharmacists is Estonia's largest professional association to unite pharmacists working at pharmacies.