It’s not in my nature to be too negative. But here is a post that I made on my main web site

It now looks like the cuts announced for the 1st March are going ahead. It has never been my style to be a quitter. Nether has it ever been my intention to leave my patients and customers without service. I shall endeavour to keep going as long as possible. However the fact remains that from 1st March I will be dispensing at a loss. How long I can keep going will ultimately be decided by my bankers who will no doubt take a hard nosed business decision about when to pull the plug. I have instructed my solicitor to issue proceeding against the HSE if they fail to pay the correct amount under the terms of my contract. However at this stage it looks as if the HSE will refuse to pay and then abuse the legal system by appealing to the Supreme Court and try to use this to bully pharmacists into submission. My family and myself have put in too much of our time, effort, money and even our home to take this lying down. I will fight until the bitter end. Even at this stage it is not too late for you to ring your TD’s and put pressure on them to stop this madness. Pharmacists are not asking for much. Just the the HSE sit down with our representatives, the IPU and engage in meaningful negotiations.

Thanks to John Barry again.

Many thanks to John for pointing me to this site which debunks more of the crap that the HSE has been spewing out today. It is interesting that they had to put in paid ads as the media seems to have stopped re-printing the garbage that they have been putting out as press releases. Maybe they have started to see through the lies that the HSE has been putting out.

Fax from HSE this morning

I’ve just got a fax from Claire Kerr of the HSE
Asking if “In the interest of Patient safety, please confirm whether or not it is your intention to interrupt the supply of medicines to your patients……..after 1st March”
She is asking us to reply by fax before Friday 22nd February.

I intend to reply “please contact the IPU who are my representatives for all dealings with the HSE”

They sound a bit worried and I have no intention of co-operating with them. If they were really worried about patient safety they wouldn’t have started this in the first place. What’s wrong with negotiation?


Things are movin’

Two moves by SWMBO Harney

Independent pricing commission

and Tendering wholesale services.

I welcome the first, but it looks at the moment that the HSE is planning to go ahead with the cuts. It might make them look pretty stupid if they go ahead with something that an independent body says is not feasible.

The second is Harney and the HSE rattling the chains. They couldn’t force the wholesalers to reduce prices so now they are threatening them. It’s a pity for them that as well as being unworkable it is also in breach of the Competition Act.

From my reading of the report of the Committee for Health & Children it would seem that the HSE, after the initial refusal to talk by the wholesalers, were just making this up as they go along.
However it is a sign that they are starting to take this seriously.


I had a good read of the Irish Pharmacist this month. Apart from my article on the methadone scheme Julian Judge has a touching piece on the story of Karen who was on methadone. This was rounded off with an interview with Tony Geoghegan of the Merchant’s Quay Project. Much of what was in all three pieces was indicative of the HSE’s attitude to methadone. They have got the problem to the stage where it is out of the headlines so there is no desire to put any more money into it. Politicians have long realised that there are no votes to be won in helping to rehabilitate addicts. Indeed there are votes to be garnered by opposing local facilities for methadone schemes. So you can have the same TD/councillor condemning pharmacists for pulling out of the methadone scheme and at the same time backing residents in opposing a pharmacy participating in the scheme in their area. They must have a sore neck from trying to look both ways at the same time.

Back in October I debated leaving the methadone scheme altogether. My initial reaction was that I would not do it immediately as it was clear after the one week withdrawal that the HSE were totally unable to meet the needs of my current clients. Also they had agreed to meet some of the commitments that they had made some time ago. Now four months later in light of the HSE’s actions I am again considering my involvement.

I look at it this way. From a business point of view having somebody stabilised on methadone long term is an attractive proposition. As I said in my article it would probably put my kids through college. However from an ethical point of view keeping somebody on methadone when they are ready and willing to move to the next level is hard to defend. What is needed is the money to provide for counselling and interventions to help deal with the issues that lead to addiction. Yes it will cost in the short term but there are many long term benefits.

Tony Geoghegan also bemoans the lack of needle exchange programs in pharmacies in particular. Two issues immediately come to mind for me. Firstly the behaviour of the HSE when dealing with the methadone scheme. They were happy to dump on pharmacists when the problem left the head lines. What makes us think that they would behave any better with a much riskier needle exchange scheme? Secondly it unpleasant but true to say that addicts have threatened and assaulted pharmacists and their staff, stolen from their pharmacies and regularly appear with forged prescriptions. They are also intimidating to our regular clients. I make no apology for saying that I am reluctant to extend an invitation for them to call into my pharmacy bearing bags of blood stained needles.

We have got the HSE out of hole once and were duped.

Fool me once fool on you, fool me twice fool on me.

Irish Pharmacist Articles

For copies of my articles in the Irish Pharmacist magazine



Copyright David Jordan 2008. Please contact me via link if you wish to quote or re-print.