Push to change rules at regulator
The owner of a cut-price pharmacy has written to the country's competition watchdog asking that pharmacists with commercial interests no longer be given major national decision-making powers.
Shane O' Sullivan, owner of Healthwave pharmacy in Dundrum, said the powers of retail pharmacists on the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI) - the industry's regulator - should be curbed.
While they can have a role in maintaining standards in areas of professional competence to protect the public, they should not have input into areas which can stray into the commercial area of retailing because of a potential conflict of interest, he argues.
"Pharmacy has a unique business component. If patients are to benefit, there can be no stifling of new ideas," he said.
His decision to expand his business to include a courier service last year sparked the controversial email exchange between a number of members of the council.
One email said the service, which is entirely legal, should be nipped in the bud.
Another said: "What is to stop us specifying some mythical safe that needs to be in the vans?"
The emails were copied to an official in the PSI who immediately alerted senior staff.
Three members involved in the chain later resigned for "personal reasons and in the body's best interest".