The silence in pharmacy circles has been deafening. I think that at this point we are awaiting developments both with Dorgan and the High Court case. Also I think that most pharmacists are spending more time in the pharmacy looking to see where they can make cuts. For me this has happened through natural wastage. This time last year I had three people employed full time. Now it is two. I was planning to take at least two days off every month or four half days. That’s out the window as I am returning to taking time off only when it is urgently needed.
It has been pointed out before that the €100M that the HSE hopes to save would in fact be budget neutral as far as the government is concerned. A lower PAYE and tax take from pharmacy with similar knock on effects through the supply chain. Those let go from pharmacy will probably take longer to find alternative employment. Indeed one of the biggest current costs on the HSE at present is the higher cost of more medical cards for the rising numbers on the dole.
Marie Hogan had a good piece in last Tuesday’s Irish Times. Drug costs are rising because more patients are being treated in the community, getting their meds through their local pharmacy. There is no corresponding saving in hospital costs as there is still a huge amount of people awaiting treatment. Blaming pharmacists on the increased drug bill is like blaming umbrella manufacturers because it is raining.
The Government and the HSE set (anti-competitively) the price of drugs with the pharma industry. They then ask pharmacists to help look after formerly hospital bound patients in the community. And then they complain when drug costs to pharmacists rise. I think that certain sections of the HSE would prefer that some patients with costly diseases would go into a corner and quietly and cheaply die. Some of their actions in running the HSE certainly seem to be going in this direction. Any body fancy a job as a radiologist or testing smears?