Fabian Demicoli

A Pharmacy’s right

 GRTU earlier this week wrote to the licensing authority with regards to two issues that have been intermittently cropping up during the last years and have not been tackled successfully.

The first issue being that of Saturday afternoon opening of pharmacies. There are pharmacies that see no business during Saturday afternoon, especially in summer, due to large population shifts towards summer residence areas in Malta. This is further being compounded by the fact that we are having difficulty in finding locum pharmacists to fill in the gaps on Saturday afternoon, especially in summer.

Discussions have taken place in the past on this issue without any agreement, it seems however that the Medicines Authority (MA) is corresponding with a number of pharmacy owners on this issue. GRTU had proposed that on Saturday afternoon, pharmacies should be free to open according to the Sunday’s roster, without restricting who wants to open. This will ensure a minimum service during Saturday afternoons, a fair solution. 

The second issue being that pharmacy owners who inform the MA that they will be closed during a certain period are being refused permission, this even though writing well in advance.

GRTU does not agree that all pharmacies in a locality must ensure all times coverage, there are enough pharmacies to ensure that whilst one is closed others are still serving the locality, with the notable exceptions of localities where there is only one pharmacy. Thus we do not find it acceptable that the MA is blankly refusing all permissions for pharmacies to close even for a short period of time.

Although the Licensing Authority is there to regulate, we are of the strong opinion that it should do so with full involvement of the social partners and their representatives. As such, GRTU has asked to meet urgently to discuss these issues and resolve them to the satisfaction of all concerned.

GRTU is also mindful of the needs of its members to enjoy their annual holidays with their families. Our pharmacies are giving a sterling service to the community, especially in the POYC areas. It is not right to deny them their means of rest.

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