Egypt’s Pharmacists Close Their Pharmacies as of Saturday
Egypt’s Pharmacists Close Their Pharmacies as of Saturday
Saturday, February 14,2009 11:19
By Mohamed Yusuf

In a heated emergency session at the House of Wisdom on Friday afternoon, the high board of the Egyptian Pharmacists" Syndicate decided to shut down all pharmacies nationwide from Saturday, Feb, 14th until next Monday, Feb, 16th in protest at the decisions of Minister of Finance and the Tax Department chief. Their decisions include canceling the tax agreement between the Tax Department and the syndicate which stipulates that pharmacies are considered small businesses.

It also ordered pharmacies provide registers that accurately list their revenues, spending and their net profit. The pharmacists saw this as an aggression on their revenues and profits.

The high board decided also to form subcommittees tasked with supervising closure operations, form a general crisis management committee in subsidiary syndicates, stage a sit-in the general syndicate and subsidiary syndicates, and demand pharmaceutical companies recall drugs at pharmacies and stop buying more medication.

The syndicate decided also to make the high board held permanently until Monday, Feb, 16th, and take all appropriate decisions if government- represented by the Ministry of Finance and the Tax Department- doesn"t take positive attitudes.

Dr. Mohammed Abdul Gawwad, of the Pharmacists Syndicate said that holding the high board with such a huge number to protest against the decision of the Public Tax Department confirms that the Egyptian government takes a wrong method in handling the crises. He pointed out that the unilateral cancellation of the agreement signed between the high board and the Tax Department as of Jan, 1st, 2009, is an insult to all pharmacists.

For his part, Dr. Mohamed Kilawi, Egypt"s chief pharmacist, calle don all pharmacists nationwide to back the high board in its battle against government, comply with the high board"s decisions, and he demanded all pharmacists affiliated to the ruling National Democratic Party to resign from this party.

In his speech, Dr.Gamal Qorani, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood"s parliamentary bloc, said it is only distribution of roles and a futile government farce. He said also that this government is illegitimate and is infested with corruption and must end.

The high board showed solidarity with Dr. Ahmed Rami- a member of the syndicate board who is detained against the backdrop of Gaza incidents. It called on Egyptian authorities immediately release him along with other detainees.