By NCRI Staff

NCRI - Many pharmacists of Mashhad (northeastern Iran) are dissatisfied with their current condition as well as insurance payments. They believe that working in this field is not frugal anymore.

Late payment of pharmaceutical insurance premiums has become commonplace for years, according to the Qods Force News Agency, Tasnim.

"The news indicates that, the insurance premiums have not been paid for months, and recently after enormous follow-ups, just the insurance premiums of January 2016 have been deposited. The pharmacists believe that the continuing situation will lead to bankruptcy.” wrote Tasnim News agency.

One of the customers looking for a pill for a particular illness stated, "Unfortunately, most pharmacies, as soon as hear the name of the pill and see the insurance card in our hands. Say, they do not have the medicine. However, if I want to buy the same pill without insurance card they will sell me as much as I want. When I ask about the reason they say that the insurance company has not paid pharmacy's share for several months, therefore, they do not sell expensive medicine on prescription."

The customer then points to the leaflets stuck behind the counters of some pharmacies. He says, "You see, they announce that they are not able to provide pharmaceutical services at personal expense. I give the right to the pharmacies but the question is if the insurance is useful for us because we pay some amount of money monthly in order to use discounts for buying medicine and visiting doctor in time of sickness. Many are looking for changing their career."

The director of another pharmacy in Azadshahr zone says," Given the fact that the cost of medicine increases and the Social Security Organization prolongs the settlement of payment, we have to consider more capital for the pharmacy. Many who could not afford preferred to close their pharmacy and go for another job."

The pharmacists are really under economic pressure and wrestling with financial issues. Moreover, a pharmacist says, "These issues exist because the government wants to remove pharmacy from the private sector. It has been rumors in the trade that some people intend to establish chain pharmacies in the country so that the others could not compete. In other words, the so-called gentlemen are seeking to destroy the private sector; otherwise, unpaid premiums are just some pretexts."

The Secretary of Pharmacists' Association in Khorasan Razavi Province, Mohammadreza Afkhami stated, "The crisis in the field of pharmaceutical services is serious. The checks of many pharmacists have been bounced and the intervals between the insurance payments grow longer and longer. The pharmacists could deal with a three-month delay in premium payments, but the nine-month delay disrupts all financial equilibrium due to current economic situation."

At the end, he stated, "Although the pharmacists do not like to set up a cosmetic line, they have no other choice but to sell cosmetics and free medicine. If the problem is not solved, some pharmacies will do anything to prevent bankruptcy."

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