Benu Pharmacy has called on the government and State Agency of Medicines (Raviamet) to stop the final implementation of the pharmacy reform until the emergency situation which the government declared late last week has passed.
"It is our view that enforcing pharmacy reform in the current difficult and exceptional situation is not responsible and endangers public health protection due to interruptions to or declining pharmacy services. We ask the governemt to analyze potential solutions with a sense of urgency to stop the implementation of the pharmacy reform at least until the emergency situation has passed," BENU Apteek Eesti OÜ board members Kaidi Kelt and Krister Tamm wrote.
In a letter sent to Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center), Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik (Center) and director of the State Agency of Medicines (Raviamet) Kristin Raudsepp, Benu leaders state that the pandemic spread of COVID-19 virus imposes a serious risk of interrupting pharmacy services and supplying the population with medicine.
"When the pharmacy reform kicks in on April 1 and the provision of pharmacy service will be fragmented between many smaller businesses, the probability of this risk is many times greater," Benu directors said.
Kelt and Tamm believe that the quick spread of coronavirus can influence the pharmacies capabilities of providing services immediately after April 1 in an unpredictable way. Issues concerning the transferring of licences and restructuring working arrangements might become problematic.
"If important individuals providing IT solutions to pharmacy services were to fall sick or be quarantined, timely transition to and functioning of systems necessary for providing pharmacy services will be practically impossible."
According to the Benu directors it is also not possible to react promptly and solve the problem of finding replacement workers for sick pharmacists and to also ensure that all pharmacies have a sufficient assortment of medicine in a situation where there is uncommon demand.
"These operations are conceivable for centrally managed pharmacies belonging to BENU Apteek Eesti OÜ, but impossible or very complicated for small outlets," Benu directors added.
Editor: Anders Nõmm