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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

The Senate voted on the regulation of the pharmaceutical market. There was a unique consensus

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How much do we spend in pharmacies a year? On average, each of us spends about PLN 1,200, which gives a total of over PLN 46 billion. This is gigantic money, and – quite unusually – there was a unique consensus in the Senate on the regulation of this market.

Such political harmony has not been seen for a long time. PO senators voted in the same way as PiS senators – and earlier PiS deputies – in defense of Polish pharmacies. – This is an amazing result, because virtually none of the senators voted against this bill. 73 yes votes, 22 abstentions. Nobody was against it. This is amazing. Because with all the media campaigns we have seen recently, we have not been able to convince a single senator to vote against this regulation – believes Marek Tomków, vice-president of the Supreme Pharmaceutical Council.

The stakes are high. The value of the pharmacy market in Poland is constantly and rapidly growing. At the end of 2022, it amounted to over PLN 46 billion, i.e. over 13 percent more than the year before. Therefore, large international pharmacy chains, on the one hand, and Polish retail pharmacists, represented by the Supreme Pharmaceutical Chamber, are fighting for money and influence on this market more and more fiercely. – We had no doubts that we protect Polish entrepreneurs, we protect Polish pharmacists, but we have to do it in accordance with the law, so we had a difficult task here and with a heavy heart I had to vote for the unconstitutional law – explains Wadim Tyszkiewicz, an independent senator.

Hurry with the law

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The regulations protecting Polish retail pharmacists were prepared by PiS in a terrible way, at the last moment, just before the elections, without social consultations. – We ask that you do not do this during the election campaign, because the matter is too serious, but that we return to this conversation in a substantive manner after the elections, guaranteeing all stakeholders the opportunity to comment on this matter – says Marcin Piskorski, president of the Association of Pharmaceutical Employers PharmaNET.

This haste and lack of consultation caused anxiety among those who invest in pharmacy chains. The American Chamber of Commerce in Poland protests. “The proposed changes (…) in practice will completely exclude the possibility of making changes in ownership of capital companies operating pharmacies, constituting a gross violation of the freedom to conduct business activity” – reads part of her position.

The Supreme Pharmaceutical Chamber calms down. – Law is not retroactive. It does not revoke any permits that are already on the market. The law only looks forward. Moreover, it does not prohibit any legal practices such as franchising, nor does it have any effect on the inheritance of pharmacies. Therefore, it is an absolutely sealing adjustment and works only forward – assures Marek Tomków.

The so-called “pharmacy for a pharmacist act” was adopted six years ago on the initiative of PiS, but it was so poorly written that large foreign pharmacy chains easily learned to avoid it. It’s supposed to be impossible now. Anyone who violates the regulations passed by the Senate will be fined up to PLN 5 million. The most painful thing is that his license to run pharmacies will be revoked.

Main photo source: TVN facts

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