The Irish Pharmaceutical Union (IPU) has asked the government to adopt restrictions on the ownership of pharmacies similar to regulations in place in most European countries.
The IPU favors restricting pharmacy ownership to pharmacists, and capping the number of pharmacies any pharmacist can own at five. Eleven of the fifteen European Union countries, including France and Germany, have similar laws prohibiting corporate chains from operating drugstores. The rules are often part of national healthcare regulations and are designed to preserve the integrity of prescription drug services by keeping pharmacists in control.
More than one-third of Irish pharmacies are already part of a chain. In Norway, where ownership restrictions were lifted two years ago, 70 percent of drugstores are now owned by three chains.