President Andrzej Duda on 16 May signed into law the Pharmaceutical Law amendment that introduces major restrictions on the opening of new pharmacies and stops pharmacy chains from growing any further.
The reform is good news for Polish patients and represents an important step towards tidying up the pharmacy sector, said Elzbieta Piotrowska, president of the Polish Pharmaceutical Chamber (NIA).
Pharmacy owners have an entirely different view. In a joint statement, PharmaNET, the association of pharmacy chains, and two leading employer groups Employers of Poland and the Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers (ZPP) said the law would limit competition in the pharmacy sector, leading to higher prices of non-reimbursed drugs for patients. Seniors, the chronically ill and the disabled – i.e., those who visit pharmacies the most often and who spend the biggest share of their income on medications – will be hit particularly hard, the statement notes.