There is concern that the dispute between 1,100 pharmacists and the HSE will cause serious difficulties and distress for thousands of people around the country from tomorrow.

The dispute is over fees pharmacists are paid for dispensing prescription medicines.

The pharmacists involved in the dispute will refuse to fill prescriptions under the community drug schemes because of a 24% cut imposed by the HSE.

The pharmacists claim the reduction in their fees will be closer to 34%.

The move will impact on thousands of medical card holders, as well as those on other schemes.

Age Action Ireland says it is particularly concerned at the impact the dispute will have on elderly people living in rural areas.

The group said many elderly people will find it extremely difficult to get their medicines from the alternative dispensing centres being established by the HSE.

Meanwhile, the HSE states that 200 pharmacies have withdrawn their termination notices to the HSE having reconsidered their position and are now choosing to continue to provide services under the State Drug Schemes.

The HSE advice is to 'Think Ahead .... Plan Ahead - make sure you can get the medicines you need, check the list of pharmacies who have not terminated their contracts with the HSE.
There is a list, which is updated daily available on www.hse.ie

The HSE information line on 1850 24 1850