STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
THE Balearic Pharmacists' Association
(AEFB) gave warning yesterday of a possible shortage of medicines on the Islands due to the impact of a new price law scheduled for introduction on March 1 this year.

The administration work involved in applying the new suggested prices to certain medicines and then making the products available in Balearic pharmacies, may leave a supply “gap” said Guillermo Torres yesterday, president of AEFB.

Speaking at a news conference with Alberto Saez, Ratiopharm's communications' director in Spain, and Francisca Gili, director of the Pharmacy department of the regional Ministry for Health and Consumer Affairs, Torres explained the wide-reaching effects of central government pricing policy which will be applied to 5'000 medicines currently available on the market. He said that part of the anticipated hold-up in supply is due to the fact that the reduced pricing system related to some of the products has not yet been made available by the central administration.

Torres claimed the gap between new pricing and supply is going to have an adverse economic affect on the Islands' 400 pharmacies, especially those in outlying areas.

CALMING FEARS
In such less well-frequented districts, regular income from local customers will be interrupted. Nevertheless, the Association president was anxious that people should not become unduly worried by these circumstances as the Balearic government is now looking at ways of offsetting the temporary lack of supply. Ratiopharm's representative, a leading figure in non-commercial laboratory medicine, saw fit to comment that the new price application was “unjust” as it will hit pharmacies to the tune of a 20 percent reduction in profits on their basic medicines, whereas items that sell under brand names will only be hit with a 5 percent loss. One hundred medicines will be 50-70 percent cheaper, he said.

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