Friday, September 12, 2008

HSE may pay back €50m to pharmacies

From the Irish Times:
The Health Service Executive faces a potential bill of €50 million as a result of a High Court ruling yesterday that it was in breach of contract over a reduction in payments made to pharmacists for dispensing drugs under various State schemes.

The HSE said yesterday that it "may" have to pay back that sum which has been generated so far as a result of the reductions in payments to pharmacists.

The HSE had reduced the margin paid to pharmaceutical wholesalers from 17 per cent to 8 per cent in a bid to save €100 million. However, as it had no direct relationship with wholesalers, to achieve this aim it reduced the reimbursement it paid to pharmacists for dispensing drugs and medicines. The HSE argued that the 17 per cent margin was shared between wholesalers and pharmacists in the form of discounts.

The president of the Irish Pharmacy Union, Liz Hoctor, said yesterday it now expected the HSE to immediately reverse its decision to cut payments to pharmacists, which was imposed on March 1st, and to repay the money deducted.

The union, the representative body for over 1,800 pharmacists, welcomed the judgment of Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan in the case, which was taken by Hickey's Pharmacies. ...more

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