A fine or restriction of liberty for beating or insulting a pharmacist in a pharmacy

  • A report by the Health Committee on the MP’s bill amending the law on the profession of pharmacist was adopted in the Sejm
  • The amendment extends the legal protection due to a public official provided for in the Penal Code also to pharmacists and pharmaceutical technicians
  • Protection is provided in connection with the provision of pharmaceutical services, pharmaceutical care or the exercise of professional activities by them

Most MPs support protecting pharmacists and technicians

On May 11, 2022, during the 54th session of the Seym, almost all clubs, with the exception of the Confederation, announced their support for the MP’s bill amending the law on the profession of pharmacist.

The amendment extends the legal protection due to a public official provided for in the Penal Code also to pharmacists and pharmaceutical technicians who provide pharmaceutical services, pharmaceutical care or carry out the so-called “Professional activities” of a pharmacist.

Following the changes introduced in the pharmaceutical law, after art. 91, s. 91a is added:

“Article 91 bis. The pharmacy technician, during and on the occasion of the exercise of the activities referred to in Article 91 in a pharmacy or a pharmacy outlet accessible to all, or other activities related to medicinal products or medical devices requiring direct contact with the patient, benefits from the protection provided for a public officer under the conditions provided for by the law of 6 June 1997 – Penal Code”.

And in the law of December 10, 2020 relating to the profession of pharmacist, after art. 35, s. 35a is added:

” Art. 35a. The pharmacist benefits from the protection provided for the public official according to the rules specified in the law of June 6, 1997 – Penal Code (Official Journal of 2021, articles 2345 and 2447)”.

The almost unanimous position of the deputies on granting legal protection to pharmacists and technicians is the result of actions such as the head of the Chamber of Pharmacists of Lower Silesia, Marcin Repelewicz, who, after an incident in the one of the pharmacies of the Chamber, has been very active in the fight for these changes. A pharmacist at a pharmacy in Zgorzelec was beaten for reporting that a “patient” had to put on a mask, and the premises of the establishment were demolished.

The draft amendment to the law was submitted to the Sejm by MP Krzysztof Śmiszek. Similar protection is already extended to representatives of other medical professions: doctors, nurses and paramedics. It is provided for as part of the provision of health services by them.

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What does the change in law bring to pharmacists and technicians?

The introduction of regulatory changes will not make pharmacists and technicians public officials within the meaning of the law, but they will be able to benefit from protection in the same way as a public official.

Thus, in the event of acts of aggression against pharmacists and technicians, the provisions of the penal code will apply directly and actions against them will be prosecuted by the public prosecutor.

Which actions will be penalized?

  • violation of the personal inviolability of a public official (article 222 of the penal code)
  • active assault against a public official with other persons or with the use of a firearm or other dangerous object or an incapacitating measure (Article 223 of the Penal Code)
  • the use of a threat or unlawful violence in order to compel a public official to undertake or refrain from performing a legal service activity (article 224 of the Penal Code)
  • insulting a public official (226 of the Penal Code)

What is the risk ?

A fine, a sentence of restriction of liberty, or even a prison sentence of up to one to three years, depending on the type of crime.

It is important to note that this protection is available during the exercise of professional activities. In the case of a pharmacy technician, this is the field of activities listed in s. 91 of the pharmaceutical law. And in the case of pharmacists when providing pharmaceutical care and pharmaceutical services.

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