Pharmacists to demand reversal in FEMPI cuts


  • Minister Harris to speak at National Pharmacy Conference in Galway
  • €1.5 billion taken from Pharmacy since 2009
  • FEMPI cuts undermining pharmacy sector


10 May 2019: The future of pharmacies in communities across Ireland will be threatened if the Government does not urgently begin the process of reversing deep cuts inflicted as part of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act (FEMPI). This will be the message delivered to Minister Simon Harris when he attends the Irish Pharmacy Union’s National Pharmacy Conference in Galway tomorrow.

Speaking in advance of the conference, President of the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) Daragh Connolly, said, “We’re delighted that Minister Harris is attending this year’s conference. This will allow Minister Harris to experience the enthusiasm of Ireland’s 1,900 community pharmacists. We are ambitious for the role of Pharmacies in primary care and want to do more to alleviate the pressure on other areas in the health service and our patients nationwide.”

“However, Minister Harris will also hear a growing sense of frustration and disappointment that FEMPI cuts have yet to be reversed for pharmacists. We now approach the third anniversary of when the Government’s own review recommended fees to pharmacists be re-examined. To date, nothing has happened, and we cannot tolerate the laissez-faire approach being taken any longer.”

“Irish pharmacists have experienced a decade-long decline in resources for providing services on behalf of the State. The HSE PCRS statistics for 2009 to 2017 show that pharmacy output and efficiency have increased, as the costs of medicines reimbursed to pharmacies has reduced by almost 36% per item. Meanwhile, there has been a 17% drop in the fees paid per item and the average annual fee amount paid to each pharmacy has fallen by nearly a fifth (18%). Between 2009 and 2018 FEMPI cuts removed €1.5 billion in revenue from the pharmacy sector.

“We have, of late, seen an increasing number of business failures in pharmacy as the increasing cost base cannot be accommodated within the shrinking resources that are made available.

“Pay has rightly been restored for public servants and most recently for GPs, in return for vital modernisation and service reform. Pharmacy services must not be forgotten or starved of resources any longer. The FEMPI reversal must be started immediately to ensure we keep pharmacies at the heart of the community providing a vital service to patients and the public. We expect urgent engagement from the Department of Health on this matter and look forward to engaging with them in a constructive fashion.” 

Mr Connolly concluded by outlining the desire of pharmacists to expand the services provided in communities. “Pharmacists are ready willing and waiting to enhance the levels of care we provide, and we hope the overdue negotiation process will allow us to implement additional services that our patients require.”

The IPU National Pharmacy Conference takes place this weekend in the Galmont Hotel, Galway (Friday until Sunday).