Pharmacists in Ireland are warning that the supply of medicines is “in chaos” as their strike over the level of fees received from the government continues.
The Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) says that contingency plans to use inexperienced government health staff to dispense medicines from temporary sites is not working.
The dispute centres on attempts by health minister Mary Harney to cut the cost of prescription drugs in Ireland.
She says that the cost of the Medical Card Scheme and the Drugs Payments Scheme has doubled to Euro 1.6bn between 2002 and 2008, as have fees and other income earned by pharmacists.
The IPU says that 800 pharmacies have either stopped dispensing or closed, while the Health Service Executive (HSE) claims more than 1,100 are still operating.
The union has said that it will write a formal letter to Ms Harney expressing its concern over the quality of the HSE’s contingency planning.
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