Submitting a new bill changing the planned nationwide pharmacy reform would only serve to cause confusion, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) said.
Chairman of the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) and Minister of the Interior Mart Helme said at Thursday's government press conference that EKRE would be submitting its own bill amending the pharmacy reform to the Riigikogu next week. "Under no circumstances can we accept that dozens or hundreds of pharmacies in rural areas across Estonia will be shut down," Helme told ERR.
Ratas noted that differences of opinion in the Riigikogu regarding the pharmacy reform do not run along coalition and opposition lines.
"And to now take a completely different approach, which would mean eliminating the pharmacy ownership [requirement] — I think that with such a short time in the Riigikogu, this would certainly cause more such confusion," Ratas told ERR.
"So now we must adopt this direction, which the plenary also ultimately stated — that we won't start changing ownership, that the reform will enter into force on April 1, and that the Ministry of Social Affairs now definitely has to work to ensure that as many populated areas in Estonia as possible are covered by pharmacies as of the morning of April 1, and that access is ensured," the prime minister added.
Isamaa chairman Helir-Valdor Seeder also said on Thursday that the introduction of a new bill changing the pharmacy reform isn't a very rational idea.
Editor: Aili Vahtla