Pharmacists threaten widescale strike over profit margin

Pharmacies may go on a widescale strike on February 1 depending on the outcome of negotiations with the Health Ministry over their profit margin, Deputy Head of the Pharmacists Syndicate Mostafa al-Wakel threatened on Sunday.
In December, pharmacists called for a strike against their profit margins being cut to 18 percent of drug prices, down from 25 percent. This percentage is given to the pharmacies by pharmaceutical companies.
The strike was scheduled to start on Sunday, but was postponed on Saturday by the syndicate’s general assembly so as to enter into negotiations on the matter with the Health Ministry.
Pharmacists say the ministry neglected their demands during its negotiations with pharmaceutical companies over drug prices, which resulted in ministry's decision to raise prices by 15 percent for locally-produced drugs and 20 percent for imported drugs.
Doctor Ahmed Abo Domah, a member of the syndicate's board, said Sunday that they will strike if two weeks of negotiations pass with no solution to the problem, for which he blamed the health minister.
"He [the minister] caused this problem to worsen by favoring the companies over the pharmacists, and we will not accept such things," Domah said.

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