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Published on 17 March 2008

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Injunction issued over HSE contract


An Irish pharmacist has won a High Court injunction to stop Ireland’s Health Service Executive (HSE) enforcing a cut in its contractual payments for prescription medication.

Niall O’Sullivan feared he would have to sack 44 members of staff if he could not prevent the HSE from varying the terms of a contract with pharmacies.

On 1 March, the HSE decreased the amount it reimburses outlets under the Community Drugs Scheme from almost 18% to 8%, with pharmacists due to feel the effects of the move in the middle of April.

However, counsel for Mr O’Sullivan, Gerard Hogan SC, claimed the drop would force the businessman to close his five pharmacies across Limerick city, as the cut would have a huge impact on his turnover.

Barristers for the HSE argued that Mr O’Sullivan had clear advance warning of the changes and said that, although the pharmacist claimed he would be in a loss making situation, he would not furnish the figures needed to assess if his fears were well founded to the court.

But Ms Justice Laffoy said Mr O’Sullivan had an arguable case, and she added that the balance of convenience lay in favour of the granting of a temporary injunction.

Three similar cases, which are being backed by the Irish Pharmaceutical Union, are at advanced stage in the Commercial Court.

Copyright © PA Business 2008

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