In the permanent narrative of the reasons that prompted these people, as well as other institutions, to make this decision, comes the financial crisis. As it is reflected in drug prices, they are much lower than in other markets.
Before the collapse of the Lebanese pound, these offices, like the pharmaceutical companies, accumulated profits and were able to insure their expenses, pay salaries and incentives. Today, it is no longer able to continue. In addition, “the policy of reviewing drug prices every three years led to a decrease in the price of medicine, and with the rise in the dollar exchange rate, it became very cheap,” according to the head of the Lebanese Pharmacists Syndicate, Ghassan Al-Amin. In addition to that, the BDL mechanism contributed in terms of financial transfers, so that sending remittances abroad requires a long time and longer transactions.
However, the crisis did not stop there. The consequences caused by the decision were more severe than the closure itself. As the crisis resulted in a large number of unemployed people, especially the delegates (pharmacists). They did not find themselves without work overnight. Rather, they went through unstable working conditions in the period preceding the exchange, as some offices and some local drug stores took measures to alleviate the impact of the crisis, by reducing their salaries in local companies or spending them on the basis of the official exchange rate. For those who get paid in dollars. While some others deliberately reduced the work shifts for the delegates, “We used to work in full today and calculate our fees on a half-day basis,” according to what one of the newly disbursed said. In other offices, the reductions extended to the “additions” delegates used to receive, such as “gasoline coupons, as they deliberately reduced the monthly amount given to each delegate.” Other companies resorted to giving leave to their employees without paying them, until conditions improved!
Al-Amin: The Pharmacists Syndicate has no authority to operate pharmaceutical companies ’offices
Little by little, the delegates moved towards the final decision: spending. Some offices have begun implementing the decision by means of “shifting”, by reducing the number of delegates in each line. However, this did not reduce its losses, until it made a decision to dismiss its employees and leave. In recent times, it has become impossible to spend collectively. At the end of that biography, it was the scientific office of the “Leo Pharma” company, which arbitrarily dismissed all its delegates. Worse than that, it is the payment of allowances for their exchange in a “bank check”, as is the case with regard to compensation. In other offices, the same thing happens: a collective exchange, while “no one asks about what is going on with us,” referring to the “delegates committee of the Pharmacists Syndicate in Lebanon, and the Syndicate itself,” according to what one of the two disbursers said. This is rejected by the Secretary, considering that the situation of delegates working in the scientific offices is “complicated” in terms of the fact that the Pharmacists Syndicate has no authority over these offices, indicating that “there is nothing in the hand that can be done, as it is related to the economic situation in general.”
There is no final figure today for the two expenditures, and it is expected to increase further with the continuing financial economic conditions and with the extreme options that the offices are making. And it does not seem that things are heading towards a solution, especially in light of the continuing economic crisis, and the worst of that is that these people do not find job opportunities in Lebanon, and many of them began preparing papers for immigration.
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