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Pharmacies Hold 23 Minute ‘Save our Pharmacies’ Vigil

This afternoon at 3 pm, the “overwhelming majority” of pharmacies across the region will stop work for 23 minutes.  The reason?  To observe the 23 minutes reserved by the Assembly of the Republic to debate the petition “Save the Pharmacies, fulfil the National Health Service.” The petition gathered a record number of 120 thousand signatures in support.

According to the regional delegate of the National Pharmacy Association, all pharmacies face the same sustainability problems and are seen as “the poor relation” of the NHS, since the monies they receive for the service they provide are based on a sales percentage while their importance and contribution to local communities is largely ignored.

As a consequence a press release has been sent to the national papers stating that at “3 pm, pharmacies will suspend operations, both face-to-face and electronically for the 23 minutes reserved by the Assembly of the Republic to debate the petition“ Save Pharmacies, fulfil the NHS.” Furthermore, the pharmacies toll-free 1400, 24-hour order hotline, will contain an additional message highlighting the plight of pharmacies across Portugal.”

During the pandemic, the financial stability of Portugal’s pharmacies has worsened, a situation compounded by the need to ensure that chronically ill patients received their drugs on time.  To resolve this, they have created a credit line which has reached the sum of 76 million euros to ensure that chronically ill patients can renew their prescriptions free of charge, even though the State has not agreed to reimburse them. Also, the network of pharmacies immediately organised several other initiatives, including stay at home campaigns for high-risk citizens, toll free order hotline plus a prescription home delivery service throughout Portugal and the Autonomous regions.

And it is through these actions alone that they feel that they have prevented the system from collapsing, However, financing such humanitarian initiatives has left them economically fragile.

Samantha Gannon

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Madeira Weekly