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Wednesday, May 03, 2006
MOVES to toughen rules governing pharmacists were approved by the Cabinet yesterday amid opposition party claims animals have more legal protection than chemist customers.
Tánaiste and Health Minister Mary Harney got Government approval for a bill she says will better regulate the industry and could lead to lower prices.
The reform is intended to bring in tougher penalties for chemists guilty of malpractice and cut customer costs through greater competition.
However, it remained unclear if pharmacists will face being struck-off.
Labour Party health spokeswoman Liz McManus said the Government was failing to protect the public unless that provision was made law.
The measures approved by ministers will see the powers of the Pharmaceutical Society beefed-up, more stringent registration imposed and a bar lifted on pharmacists who trained abroad operating a chemist less than three-years-old.
A spokesman for Ms Harney said: "The object is to tighten up a regime that nobody is happy with at the moment, including the Tánaiste."
But Ms McManus said: "Unless the minister brings in legislation allowing for a pharmacist to be struck off she will be failing in her duties. The current lack of regulation of the sector means animals are protected better against pharmacy malpractice than humans."
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