Press Release

Government approves reform of pharmacy market

The Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children, Ms Mary Harney T.D., has today announced that the Government has approved new pharmacy legislation which will increase competition and raise standards in the pharmacy sector.

The legislation will take the form of :

  • a priority short Bill which will remove the prohibition – the ‘derogation’ – on non-Irish graduates being supervising pharmacists in pharmacies less than 3 years old: fitness to practice provisions, which will strengthen the powers of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland to ensure the highest standards are maintained in the pharmacy sector and that practising pharmacists have linguistic and forensic competence to practice, and
  • a more detailed Pharmacy Bill to give effect to most of the recommendations of the Pharmacy Review Group

The Tánaiste said : “These reforming measures will be good for consumers. They will allow for more pharmacists to practice in the country and will raise the standards of pharmacy services. The changes meet the requests to me from the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland to provide them with enhanced powers to enable them to carry out their role of ensuring quality standards and improving consumer protection.”

The Tánaiste added : “I am pleased that we will now be removing a restriction that was particularly unfair on Irish people who were forced to study pharmacy abroad in the past because of the restricted number of places available.”

A Review Group proposal to restrict the number of pharmacy contracts that may be granted to a single entity operating in any area will not be implemented.

The Tánaiste said : “Together these two Bills consolidate and update existing legislation to provide for the safe and effective delivery of pharmaceutical services to all citizens , in a comprehensive , manageable and robust legislative framework that incorporates most of the recommendations of the Pharmacy Review Group.”

Note for Editors

Priority Legislation will include:

  • the removal of the prohibition – the ‘derogation’ – on non-Irish graduates being supervising pharmacists in pharmacies less than 3 years old
  • fitness to practice provisions, to ensure the highest standards from pharmacists and to safeguard the safe and effective delivery of pharmaceutical services to all citizens of the State
  • a stronger statutory basis for the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland, to include:
    • Governance of the PSI, including wider non-pharmacist representation on its Council
    • Updating regulations for the registration of pharmacists, including non-EU and EEA graduates
    • Matters concerning the delivery of community pharmaceutical services, such as linguistic and forensic competence and experience for supervisory pharmacists.

The Second Pharmacy Bill will legislate for pharmacy practice and the delivery of pharmaceutical services and will address, among other things, the following:

  • Regulation of Pharmacy and Pharmacy Services:
  • Definition of pharmacy services
  • Definition of a community pharmacy
  • Provision for inspection of pharmacies (including fees)
  • Provision for regulation of pharmacies in respect of:
    • physical conditions
    • standards
    • record keeping
    • suspension and revocation of registration
    • promotional activities
  • General provisions on community pharmacy contracts for services.
  • Remaining recommendations of the Pharmacy Review Group