After a second delay I’m back again. I’ll start putting up a copy of my articles for the last year ASAP. In the mean time they are always available on the publishers website Greencross Publishing Due to artistic differences there may be a slight difference between the published version and the version that I post.
The PSI have changed the time of the public session of next Thursday’s Council meeting with less than a weeks notice.
Just as well I checked this morning. Why the sudden change? It’s a pretty bland agenda.
The whole point of a public session is so that they are seen to be accountable. It’s a bit of a joke as none of the public get to see any of the documents being discussed. The way that they have acted in this instance is regrettable to say the least.
In this month’s Irish Pharmacist Belfast pharmacist Terry Maguire has one of the best lines about smoking that I have read in a long time.
Smoking remains a stupid thing to do, since it kills over 2,000 in Northern Ireland and some 6,000 on the Island each year, which beats the annual killing rate of our best paramilitaries in their hay days and it does this every year — no ceasefires.
The misnamed PSI, our beloved regulator has called for submissions on mail order pharmacy in Ireland. See here for details. They have given this the innocent sounding name of “Public Consultation on draft Guidance on the Delivery of Prescription-only Medicines from a Retail Pharmacy Business (Pharmacy)” but make no mistake this is all about mail order pharmacy. And be under no illusion if this is permitted then it will be a game changer in Irish pharmacy.
The Regulation of Retail Pharmacy Business Regulations 2008 (S.I. No. 488 of 2008) specifically makes mail order pharmacy illegal for many good reasons. But it now seems that some in the PSI, for whatever motivation would like to drive a coach and four through these regulations. I doubt that any of the community pharmacists (past, present or recently resigned) on the Council would be among those who seek to do so. To go further I have heard whispers that those pharmacists have been threatened with the Competition Authority when they sought to put a halt to this coach and four.
It’s is a sad day when some of those charged with enforcing the law are threatened with the Competition Authority when they seek to do just that.
I intend to make a submission and to publish it here when I do so. When this process is complete all of the submissions made will be subject to Freedom of Information. But I will publish your submissions here if any wish to send them to me. Submissions should be sent by snail mail to the PSI or by email to
As I said above if this is allowed then community pharmacy in Ireland will be decimated. Aside from all the patient centred reasons why this is a bad move it will also undermine the economic basis for community pharmacy. If you are an employee this will drive down salaries even further. There will be costs for the state as well. Large amounts of medicines will lead to overdoses, either intentional or otherwise. Lack of contact with a pharmacist will cause poor patient outcomes.
I intend to ask that my and other submissions should be circulated to all members of Council and not just the PPD Committee who will be drafting a report to the full Council. To me it is that important that they should hear all the facts and not just a distilled down and sanitized version. I don’t expect that the Registrar will agree to this. At the very least I will ask that members of Council be circulated with my request and the reasons for it.
Don’t leave it to others. And don’t just copy & paste other submissions. This is the surest way to have them ignored. Your professional and financial future is at stake. It’s time to get up off your arse.
Last week I heard rumours that there had been two pharmacist resignations from the PSI Council. I emailed the PSI asking them to confirm or deny and to date I have not had any reply on this matter. I recognize that they might well have confidentiality issues and that they couldn’t possibly comment.
So today I decided to attend the public session of the PSI Council meeting. As soon as the meeting started I quickly confirmed in my own mind who the two resigning members were. Apologies were made for those not present and all the other members had name tags in front of their seats. There was no mention nor any name tags for the presumably now ex-members of the Council.
Towards the end of the meeting there was a very bland sounding item on the agenda. “Policy and Procedure for the use of Executive Sessions.” From the discussion on this I got a very negative feeling about relations between the executive and some of the Council. My overall impression was that all was not well in this house of cards.
Then this evening I heard more rumours of another pharmacist resigning from the Council. I must stress that all these are rumours. There has been no comment, official or otherwise from the PSI and neither has there been any comment that I’m aware from from the pharmacists concerned. And therein lies part of the problem.
If the rumours are untrue I think that the PSI should issue a statement removing any doubt. If they are true then we need to know what the hell is going on. The PSI have introduced many guidelines and directives. They have taken a lot of money in fees from pharmacists and pharmacies to fund their enforcement. We need to know how it is being spent. They have reserves of nearly €11 million and it is difficult to see what they need such a large reserve for. They are accountable to the Minister for Health but I don’t see him doing very much for now.
Today I prepared an article for June’s edition of Irish Pharmacist but events of the past few hours have rendered it out of date already. This is always an issue when dealing with publication dates so far in advance. I had titled the article “Strange days Indeed.” Little did I realise how strange today would turn out.
I’ll be putting up my last few articles when I get internet problems in the pharmacy sorted. I’ve been up to my tits and also have had to deal with a 1 mb/s download and 0.05mb/s upload. Thanks Eircon for nothing.
Here’s a copy of a letter I sent to Dr. Reilly in relation to the extortionate fees being charged by the regulator. They currently are running a surplus of just short of €2 million per year. That means they could charge each community pharmacy €1,250 per year instead of €2,250 per year and still be generating a surplus. I intend to circulate this to every member of the council as well. So that the next time that they decide to do nothing they cannot say that “nobody told us.”
I would urge you all to do likewise.
Dear Minister Reilly,
I am writing to ask you to reduce the annual registration fees payable to the Pharmacy Regulator, the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI). As you can see from the table below the registration fees for premises and individuals are far higher in Ireland than those payable in both the UK and Northern Ireland. I feel that the fees payable to the PSI should be reduced to rates similar to those paid by pharmacists in other EU countries.
Premises Ireland €2250 UK(1) £221 (€265) Northern Ireland(2) £155 (€185.89)
Pharmacist Ireland €400 UK(1) £240 (€287.82) Northern Ireland(2) £372 (€446.12)
(Exchange rate – 21/11/13)
On June 26 2013, the Health and Social Professionals Council (CORU) reduced the annual registration fee by 3€195 and set it at €100 for the next 3 years and agreed to refund any members who had paid the annual fee of €295. I would appreciate if you could instruct the PSI to implement a similar reduction for both the individual pharmacists and pharmacy premises as soon as possible.
I would also appreciate if you could instruct the PSI to implement a system allowing for payment in instalments to ease the cash flow burden imposed on pharmacists due to the implementation of a once-off annual payment system.
In light of the current economic climate, the fact that the PSI reported an annual excess of €1,944,324 (4) for the year ending 31/12/12 and the recent reductions in fees paid to pharmacists, I would ask that you give serious consideration to my application and ask the Pharmacy regulator to implement an appropriate deduction in fees payable as soon as possible.
I look forward to hearing from you.
(1)Ref – General Pharmaceutical Council
ees (cited 21/11/13)
(2)Ref – PSNI
-2013141.pdf (cited 21/11/13)
(3)Ref – CORU
(4)Ref – PSI http://www.thepsi.ie/tns/publications/core-publications.aspx (21/11/13)