Press Release

1996 Pharmacy Regulations

The Minister for Health and Children, Mr Micheál Martin TD, has today (31 January) announced he is revoking the Health (Community Pharmacy Contractor Agreement) Regulations, 1996 (SI 152 of 1996), which set out the criteria and procedures for granting community pharmacy contracts. Community pharmacy contracts allow pharmacies to dispense prescriptions under the medical card and drug payment schemes. The revocation will not affect the operation of the community pharmacy scheme.

The Regulations have been subject to ongoing legal challenges. During the course of those challenges, the legal basis of the Regulations was raised. The Minister sought legal advice from the Office of the Attorney General. The advice received concluded that the Regulations were ultra vires.

The effect of the revocation, for the awarding of new community contracts, is a return to the pre-1996 situation. The opening of new pharmacies will continue to be governed by the Pharmacy Acts.

Last November the Minister established the Pharmacy Review Group to examine the pharmacy issues raised in the OECD report on regulatory reform in Ireland. The Review Group is now being asked to report as quickly as possible, in light of the new situation. A new framework for community pharmacy services will be considered when the Group reports.