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Sunday, 29 September 2019

Egypt’s pharmacists syndicate probes into law breach by pharmacy chain 19011

DISPUTE WATCH- Pharma syndicate probes suspected legal violation by pharmacy chain 19011: The Pharmacists’ Syndicate is investigating pharmacy chain 19011 for a suspected breach of a law stipulating that pharmacists should own no more than two retail branches, reports Al Masry Al Youm. The investigation was opened after its owners appeared on Amr Adib’s El Hekaya last Saturday to dismiss what they say are rumors that the pharmacy chain is backed by the Armed Forces (watch, runtime: 2:00). 19011 was established in 2017 and quickly increased its number of branches to almost 100. The chain has recently acquired the right to use the names of 27 independent pharmacies, all of whom now face a probe by their professional association. A Health Ministry body recently permanently removed the names of pharmacists Ahmed El Ezaby and Hatem Roshdy from its registry over the same practice.

So why are there chains if they’re banned by law? Pharmacy chains are made possible through a legal loophole that allows chain owners to set up a pharmacy management company under General Authority for Investment (GAFI) regulations. They then expand this practice by renting the names of pharmacists who have already obtained licenses from pharma regulators, and then bring those names under their brand. The entity that nets the overall revenue doesn’t itself obtain licenses from those regulators. This is the loophole they are apparently looking to close and this is why the recent decision to take El Ezaby and Roshdy’s names off the license registry of the Health Ministry did not affect most pharmacies affiliated with their brands.

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