MSP attacks 'protectionist' pharmacy application process after controversy

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MSP attacks 'protectionist' pharmacy application process after controversy

Scottish National Party politician Colin Beattie has written to the government’s health secretary Humza Yousaf to express his dismay at the hurdles facing people who want to open a pharmacy after an application was rejected amid controversy last year.

The Pharmacy Practices Committee’s decision in October to refuse an application by Ashfaq Ahmed for an independent pharmacy in Rosewell which was supported by local councillors and residents led to claims from Beattie that the process was influenced by three local pharmaceutical companies who allegedly used senior lawyers to stop the pharmacy opening in the village.

He insisted Midlothian was in need of a new pharmacy because in nearby Bonnyrigg, people were having to wait too long for their prescriptions, pharmacy opening hours were “inconsistent” and supply issues were impacting the availability of some medicines.

Beattie said the companies were invited to a hearing to put their views across but only one person from the community attended. It is thought no-one else with a vested local interest was invited to air their views, including the Rosewell Development Trust, elected representatives, GPs in the area or the Health and Social Care Partnership.

Beattie claimed “large competitor pharmaceutical companies had more weight in the decision-making process than the people of Rosewell” and described the application process as “archaic and protectionist.”

“There is a clear demand for an additional pharmacy service and Rosewell has the capacity to accommodate for this,” he wrote in a column for Midlothian View this month.

“It is unacceptable that the sometimes misleading statements provided by competitor pharmacies were not held to any account, especially when we hear the reports of issues customers are now facing at those pharmacies in (nearby) Bonnyrigg.”

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