Business Irish

Thursday 17 January 2019

Pharmacies challenge HSE dispensary contract decision

Stock picture
Stock picture

Tim Healy

Two related companies that operate pharmacies have brought a legal challenge against the HSE’s decision not to enter into contracts with them to dispense medicines.

Darastream Ltd and LMR Pharma Ltd have brought High Court proceedings over the HSE’s failure to award them community pharmacy contractor agreements, where medicines are dispensed to medical card holders.

In April, the HSE informed the firms that it was not awarding them the contracts.

This was due to concerns it has with regards to two other pharmacies operated by different companies that have the same directors and shareholders as LMR and Darastream, Mary and Jack McPolin.

The complaints include an alleged failure to maintain records and duplicate cross-pharmacy claims – where multiple claims were entered for the same people in different pharmacies. 

Yesterday, Mark Harty SC, for the two companies, said the complaints the HSE has with the other pharmacies are disputed.

However, counsel said any issues with those pharmacies should not have influenced the HSE’s decision in respect of the pharmacies operated by Darastream and LMR.

The HSE’s refusal was unjust, irrational and lacking in proportionality counsel added.

Counsel said that there were concerns for the businesses if they did not secure the contracts. 

In their actions, the companies sought an order quashing the HSE’s decision not to enter into a contract with the companies. They also seek declarations the HSE has acted outside its powers in refusing to enter into the contracts.

Permission to bring the challenges was granted, on an ex parte (one side only represented) basis, by Mr Justice Seamus Noonan. 

The cases come back before the court in July.

Irish Independent

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