Budget cuts costing pharmacies ‘up to €30,000 annually’
IPU survey finds 87% of pharmacists are less optimistic about the future
The IPU has called for the Government to safeguard the viability of small pharmacy businesses.
Pharmacies have lost up to €30,000 in annual income following budget cuts to state schemes, according to the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU).
Results from an IPU survey also show that 87 per cent of pharmacists are less optimistic about their business prospects on foot of declining retail sales and higher business costs.
The president of the union, Rory O’Donnell, said pharmacists have absorbed €570 million in Government cuts over the past four years and that the current business environment is “unsustainable in the long-term”.
“The majority of pharmacies are small business operators who are struggling,” Mr O’Donnell said. “This latest survey paints a gloomy picture for [them] with few positives on the horizon”.
Almost two-thirds of pharmacies said they experienced a reduction in sales in the second quarter of this year and more (77 per cent) expect a further drop over the next three months.
Nearly half said their footfall decreased, compared to 29 per cent the previous quarter, and 38 per cent also said that they expect it to deteriorate in the coming three months.
“The latest cuts to pharmacy income from State schemes, averaging €20,000 to €30,000 per pharmacy, but far higher in many cases, will exacerbate an already extremely difficult situation,” Mr O’Donnell added.
“The Government needs to safeguard the viability of small pharmacy businesses, which are finding it increasingly difficult to continue providing essential services to patients and communities throughout the State,” he said. “A good start would be to tackle State-controlled business costs and exorbitant regulatory costs, which continue to undermine the sector.”