Thursday, April 28, the parliamentary committee on health adopted in first reading the draft amendment to the law on the profession of pharmacist. Under the new regulations, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians will enjoy the same legal protection as public officials. The Commission introduced several amendments to the draft. What are they talking about ?
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In accordance with the provision proposed by the applicants’ deputies, pharmacists will benefit from the legal protection due to a public official in the exercise of their statutory functions. The immediate reason for introducing such a change was the extension of pharmacists’ powers to vaccinate against COVID-19.
Pharmacists exposed to serious incidents during vaccinations
– The project is extremely short, but it is also extremely important for several thousand Polish pharmacists who have joined the vaccination campaign – said Krzysztof Śmiszek (left) during the session of the parliamentary health committee, which justified the project. As he recalled, pharmacists have already performed about 2 million vaccinations. – Unfortunately, this is how more than once there are incidents that make pharmacists feel threatened. Sometimes those who disagree with vaccination express their anger and show their displeasure in extremely aggressive ways. Therefore, this bill introduces a sense of security and support from the state for those who provide such services – explained Śmiszek.
At the same time, he underlined that it is not a question of pharmacists becoming public officials, but that legal protection should only be established when a pharmacist carries out his professional activities. – This will mean that physical attacks on the pharmacist will be prosecuted ex officio and there will be a specific penalty for this – he added.
However, the government did not accept such a provision, the position of which was presented during the committee’s deliberations by Maciej Miłkowski, Deputy Minister of Health. – The position of the government is negative towards these provisions, but at the same time it indicates how the idea of this law could be implemented in order to bring it into line with the legislation – he said.
The Deputy Minister of Health explained that in its current form, the profession of pharmacist should be added to the list of professions listed as public officials, “which would be exceptional”. – At the same time, I would like to say that the deputies were working on changes and an amendment will be submitted which will reflect the applicant’s intentions and which will also extend the scope of protection for pharmaceutical technicians in pharmacies and pharmacy outlets – added Mr. Milkowski.
The legal protection of pharmacists will be closely linked to the exercise of the profession
Tomasz Latos, the head of the parliamentary health committee, also spoke, admitting that the proposed regulation fills a certain gap that emerged as a result of the pandemic. “Before the pandemic, there were things that we couldn’t imagine happening later,” Latos explained. At the same time, the head of the parliamentary health committee thanked the pharmacists for their involvement in the vaccination program. – There is indeed an amendment which is prepared which corresponds to the opinion of the government and which does two things. First of all, the protection of the pharmacist will be the same as for the other health professions which benefit from this protection (…). Probably statistically more often in contact with a patient is a pharmaceutical technician, so there is a second element of this amendment that speaks of similar protection for a pharmaceutical technician – added the head of the parliamentary health committee. At the same time, it was clarified that legal protection will be excluded when no activity related to the exercise of the profession is carried out.
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The proposed changes were also supported by Civic Coalition MPs. – The Civic Coalition strongly supports this bill. This is extremely important during a pandemic. These amendments make the provisions more detailed and I believe this is a highly anticipated draft – said MP Rajmund Miller at the committee meeting today.
The draft with the amendments was adopted by an overwhelming majority of votes. Twenty-seven deputies were for and one against. After the amendments, the title of the bill was also changed to “a draft amendment to the law on pharmaceutical legislation and an amendment to the law on the profession of pharmacist”.
– That’s a good solution. We have faced aggressive behavior for a long time, not only during a pandemic but also earlier. Thank you for the recognition of the profession of pharmacist and pharmaceutical technician – said the President of the Supreme Pharmaceutical Chamber, Elżbieta Piotrowska-Rutkowska.
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