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Posters that were in windows last week - will they be back?
Yesterday representatives of the pharmaceutical sector expressed concern about the "critical situation" that they are in, following a meeting at the headquarters of the General Council of official Colleges of Pharmacists in Madrid.
An indefinite strike was deferred yesterday by all Farmacia´s in the Valencian region after Central Government announced that they will step in - but if nothing is forthcoming within the next 15 days then the strike will be back on.

Pharmacies have not been paid for any medicines they have dispensed since February - a shocking situation. When a prescription is dispensed it basically becomes a cheque for the pharmacist which he submits for payment.

On the 1st of this month (July) a new payment plan was instigated resulting in pensioners now having to pay 10% of the cost of the prescription ... with a maximum limit dependent on income. For someone on less than 18,000 euros the cap is 8 euros per month, however you would still have to pay 10% each time and claim back a refund for anything above the threshold. How long it will take to receive the money back is anyones guess though.

Industry representatives have warned that community pharmacies are on the brink of shortages as no drugs can be supplied because of the accumulated debt which is affecting the entire supply chain. According to the general council, more than 200 Farmacia´s cannot buy more drugs because they have exceeded the deadline for paying bills, and many more will be in a similar situation next month if the Government does not keep its word.

One Pharmacist I spoke to last week said it is an intolerable situation to be in. He has taken out numerous personal bank loans to enable him to pay the suppliers otherwise he would not be re-stocked and also to pay the staff that he employs. When they have closed for the last two strike actions the staff still have to be paid ... it is not their fault he told me. However, his line of credit is at it maximum and he doesn´t know what will happen if the promised payments do not materialize.

Even during any strike action by law there has to be one Pharmacy open in each town which is done on a daily rota basis. There will be a sign on the door directing you to the one on duty in the area.

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