There is an agreement to protect pharmacists and technicians who work in the pharmacy. The government sets a condition

  • The Parliament’s Health Committee carried out the first reading of the draft amendment to the law on the profession of pharmacist, which provided for the addition of a provision relating to the granting of legal protection to pharmacists
  • The legislative initiative was prompted by acts of aggression in pharmacies. There were beatings of employees and the demolition of premises
  • The government side was against the wording presented in the draft, but open to proposals to give legal protection to pharmacists and technicians, as long as they comply with the legislation.
  • The relevant amendments were prepared and adopted by the deputies

There have been incidents in pharmacies

MP Krzysztof Śmiszek prepared a draft amendment to the Law on the Profession of Pharmacists, which provided for the addition of a provision on granting the legal protection due to a public official provided for in the Criminal Code to pharmacists providing pharmaceutical services, pharmaceutical care or performing the so-called “Professional Activities” of a pharmacist.

On April 28, 2022, the first reading of the project took place in the parliamentary health committee.

As the deputy explained, the change is very short, but “very important for thousands of pharmacists who have sacrificed a lot and who have been actively involved in the prevention of the pandemic, in particular in the vaccination campaigns”.

– Unfortunately, this is how more than once there are incidents that make pharmacists feel threatened. There are cases where some people take their anger and aggression to the pharmacy. We have had cases of demolition of pharmacies, refusal to wear masks in pharmacies – mentioned the deputy.

In his view, the project introduces a sense of security and a sense of state support for people providing medical services. – Currently, most medical professions enjoy the same protection as public officials. This provision does not mean that pharmacists become public officials, but for the duration of their professional activities, he argued.

The Ministry of Health was against the proposals thus formulated, but remained open to resolving this problem.

– The position of the government is negative with regard to these provisions, at the same time it indicates in which case the direction of the idea contained in this project could be presented so that it complies with the legislation – said Maciej Miłkowski , Deputy Minister of Health.

First, he pointed out that the draft contained the wording “protection due to a public official.” The proposal is inspired by the analogous wording used in the law on the professions of doctor and dentist, but the wording was used indicating that it was protection “as for” a public official without conferring on that person the status of that agent.

– The Penal Code contains a catalog of entities with the status of public official. In the government’s opinion, if the proposed wording were to be retained, it would require the addition of pharmacists to this catalog, which, in the government’s opinion, would be exceptional, he assessed.

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Pharmaceutical technicians also under protection

Miłkowski also highlighted the fact that the proposal refers to health services provided by medical professions.

The common denominator of the protection granted to representatives of the medical professions, such as doctors, nurses and ambulance attendants, is mainly that it is granted in the context of the provision of health services. Meanwhile, neither the professional activities of a pharmacist nor pharmaceutical services are included in the scope of the concept of health services.

Furthermore, the proposal does not limit the activities covered by possible protection, neither to health services nor to the provision of pharmaceutical services, nor does it apply only to pharmacies, whereas the main area of ​​protection should be the provision of health services and pharmaceutical services, and those relating to pharmacies are only pharmaceutical care which, due to their specificity, mainly concern general access pharmacies.

The ministry also pointed out that in generally accessible pharmacies, a pharmaceutical technician, who was omitted from the proposal, may also be the victim of assault. Especially since the number of professionally active pharmacy technicians is similar to that of pharmacists (about 33,000 pharmacy technicians, compared to almost 37,000 pharmacy masters).

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Members adopted the amendments

In this situation, MPs proposed changes consistent with the comments presented in the government’s position. The Chairman of the Parliamentary Health Committee, Tomasz Latos, proposed an amendment that reflects the applicant’s idea and satisfies the comments presented in the government’s position, incl. extending this scope also to pharmaceutical technicians in the context of the performance of pharmaceutical services related to the exercise of professional activities.

– The amendment does two things: firstly, the protection of the pharmacist will be the same as for other medical professions which benefit from such protection, and secondly, it will also apply to pharmaceutical technicians, concluded the president.

The amendment also restricts their protection during and in connection with the exercise of professional activities in a pharmacy or a pharmacy outlet accessible to all.

The title of the law has also been changed in accordance with the proposed changes: a draft law amending the pharmaceutical law and the law on the profession of pharmacist.

The deputies voted for the amendments and adopted the bill in its entirety. Now it will be discussed by the Sejm.

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