All Greek Pharmacies Closed for Strike


Starting today, all pharmacies in Greece will close for 24 hours due to a strike.

Starting today, all pharmacies in Greece will close for 24 hours due to a strike.

The impact of closed pharmacies—including disruption to patients’ access to medications—may not be widely covered, as Greek journalists are preparing to cancel news broadcasts and online content today, as well.

Public services, museums, and schools will also close, public transportation will be affected, and hospitals will function with emergency staff, according to The Associated Press. Small regional airports will cancel flights, and ferries will stay in port.

Greek pharmacies recently closed on October 26, 2015, due to new measures related to the bailout. Pharmacists are particularly concerned with one measure that would allow non-pharmacists to open pharmacies.

Pharmacists protested at Greece’s Ministry of Health while their pharmacies were closed for 24 hours, according to Greek Reporter.

The new measures will enable “nonpharmacists holding a majority of stakes to open pharmacies, participate in the share capital, and hold a maximum of 5 licenses per operator,” according to Greek Reporter.

“Pharmacists dynamically react to the forthcoming ministerial decision that catalyzes the pharmaceutical care in favor of economic interests at the expense of the health of the Greek people,” stated the General Assembly of the Panhellenic Pharmaceutical Association.

Today’s strike marks the first general strike under the leftist political party Syriza, which rose to power following the election of Alexis Tsipras as prime minister of Greece in January 2015.

After losing parliamentary majority following a bailout agreement, Tsipras announced his resignation in August. However, a snap election was held in September, and Tsipras was elected again and has since served as prime minister.

Greek labor unions are opposing proposals to increase taxes and cut pensions, The New York Times reported.

Greece did not convince European creditors on November 9, 2015, to provide bailout funds. The country is expecting $2.2 billion from its bailout, plus another $10.7 billion for the Greek banks.

In order to get this money, the country must pass certain economic reform measures. One problem Greece still needs to address is the number of residents with overdue debt on their mortgages, The Associated Press reported.

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