The pharmacies closed their doors on Thursday due to a strike in order to put pressure and bring the government to respond to the demands of this body of profession. The conclusions of the last report of the Court of Auditors being only the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Some 12,000 pharmacists closed their pharmacies on Thursday to participate in the 24-hour strike launched by the four trade union centers representing the sector. The national strike has also had wide support with a success rate of around 99%, confirms Dr. Khalid Zouine, president of the National Union of Moroccan Pharmacists (UNMP).
According to the pharmacist, the strike is successful, almost all pharmacies responded to the national strike call, with the exception of a few pharmacies in the Greater Casablanca region. He specifies that it is a cry from the heart to be heard.
“Our demands are set out in a brief that we presented to the two former ministers of health, as well as to the current minister. The proof is that in June 2022, the minister organized a meeting with Bouchra Meddah, the former director of the Directorate of Medicines and Pharmacy (DMP) on this subject.“, explains Dr Zouine in a statement to MoroccoLatestNews.
For the trade unionist, the content of the latest report of the Court of Auditors is only the straw that broke the camel’s back. “After the Covid-19 period, we expected to resume discussions, with Minister Khalid Ait Taleb, where they left off with the former minister, but it turned out that he did not. was not interested in our situation“, laments the pharmacist.
Two things proved to the white coats that he has bad faith, continues the president of the UNPM, namely the profit margins contained in the report of the Court of Auditors as well as the presentation of the bill relating to the elections with the old system from 1976 to get it approved.
And to add:We have tabled a draft law based on the regionalization of the Council of the Order which has been sent to Parliament and which must go through a vote. Despite this, the minister ignored this text which required long discussions and chose another bill (n° 98-18) which is based on the old system, to continue with regional councils in the North and South , and keep current issues unresolved“. In this sense, he gives the example of a pharmacist from Tan Tan who has to travel to Casablanca just to collect a certificate of employment or other.
In addition, Dr. Zouine recalls that Law 17-04 on the drug and pharmacy code was tabled in Parliament in 1996 and adopted unanimously in 2006, specifying that the majority of the articles of this law have become obsolete. Among these articles, he cites the law of chaining which has changed and is now carried out as the crow flies keeping 300 m, while the most important is “the numerus clausus, that is to say taking into account the number of the population to judge whether there is a need, in this sector, for other pharmacies or not“.
In any case, pharmacists have 13 demands, he added, some are related to daily exercise such as the deciphering of prescriptions, for example, the VAT on drugs for chronic diseases that the citizen pays between 7% and 20%, which makes the product very expensive, or even the situation of a pharmacist who sells his pharmacy and wishes to settle in another city, “we ask for tax exemption in this case because it is not normal to pay one when selling and another when installing“.
In addition, the trade unionist reveals that pharmacists suffer daily from the lack of product. “Quite a few citizens with chronic diseases cannot find the product they need and believe that pharmacists do not have it for lack of budget, whereas it is a problem of supply, since some laboratories experiencing a shortage in terms of production raw materials“, even if the law stipulates that they must be provided with a stock of at least 3 months, declares Dr Zouine.
To conclude, the president of the UNPM makes it known that this strike is only a wake-up call to review the file of demands and draw up a timetable to study and concretize it, therefore “if we do not receive an answer to these demands, there will be other strikes that will follow“.