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Empty Spain runs out of medicines: lack of aid puts rural pharmacy in danger of extinction

| News | Public and Regulatory Law

Carlos Mínguez analyses the measures to be taken by the future government to guarantee the viability of rural chemists in Vozpópuli

Spain is the country with the most pharmacies per inhabitant in the world. We have some 22,100 pharmacies spread throughout our territory, making Spanish apothecaries one of the most accessible in the world. However, despite the popular belief that the pharmaceutical profession is very profitable, this statement depends on the geography.

The fact that there are pharmacies with millionaire invoicing moves this problem away from the social and political focus. This is one of the conclusions drawn by Carlos Mínguez, partner at Andersen Tax & Legal and expert in Public and Regulatory Law.

" The political class finds talking about the ruin of the pharmacists very difficult, because of that collective understanding that the pharmacist maintains a solvent economic level that does not deserve that the administration places him in its list of priorities, even when he is someone who does not make ends meet", he points out.

In his view, there is an "anachronistic" approach to the situation from an administrative point of view. "Rural pharmacies are placed according to terms of population and geographical distance that made sense 30 years ago, but not now, because the rural landscape has changed radically," he says.

Jaime Espolita, a rural pharmacist and president of SEFAR (Spanish Society of the Rural Pharmacy) proposes another measure, one that would not cost the public coffers a penny and that, on the contrary, is raising certain vials in the sector. "In many other countries there are compensation funds that are taken from the pharmacies that are doing best. And this compensation fund would guarantee the viability of the smaller pharmacies that are the ones supporting the current model," he says.

In this way, he advocates that the future government should establish, through a Royal Decree, that it is the pharmacies with the highest turnover - those that obtain more than a million a year, for example - that would provide a small amount of aid to ensure that rural pharmacies remain open. Mínguez, while supporting the proposal, is somewhat sceptical about its implementation.

"Honestly, we are in contact with many people in the sector and it is a melon that has not even been opened", he points out. According to SEFAR's calculations, the annual amount needed would be around 38 million euros a year for all rural pharmacies. "It may seem like a lot of money but when you compare it with the 20,000 that the sector invoices every year, it is not that much. We are not asking the administration for more money, but for a better distribution of it", he concludes.

You can read the full article in Vozpópuli.

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