The Korean Pharmaceutical Association (KPA), a group of local pharmacists, held a rally in front of Cheong Wa Dae on Sunday to protest the expansion of the sales of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs at convenience stores. More than 1,000 KPA executives across the nation participated in the rally.
“The reason KPA participated in the government’s discussion over the drug sales at convenience stores was to scrap it or withdraw the sales of some drugs that are posing a serious threat to the safety of the public health,” said Cho Chan-hwi, president of KPA, starting the rally. “The government is deceiving people as if KPA’s participation in the discussion had led to a social consensus.”
If the government keeps sitting idle on the issue and the presidential office turns a blind eye, it will sound the death knell for the people’s rights to health, Cho warned. “The government will see every pharmacist of the nation protesting against them,” he added.
At the rally, pharmacists presented reports from victims who suffered damage due to the drug sales at convenience stores. Performances also continued at the rally to stop convenience stores’ selling OTC drugs.
KPA announced a “message to the President” and a “message to the Korean people,” urging the public to pay more attention to the issue of OTC drug sales at convenience stores.
“As the new government pursues people-centered policies, the government should reconsider expanding the sales of OTC drugs at convenience stores,” said Park Jeong-rae, head of the KPA’s South Chungcheong branch. “Selling drugs at convenience stores is an evil that the former government had left, which benefited only chaebol and other large businesses.”
Park called for legislation to expand public night-time pharmacies to help people purchase medicine outside the business hours, and to ensure the public’s health safety.
At the Sunday rally, KPA adopted a statement to urge the government to cancel its plan to expand the drug sales at convenience stores, saying the drug sales are threatening the health and safety of the Korean people. At the same time, it demanded an adoption of public night-time pharmacies and a business shifting system between pharmacies and clinics.
KPA submitted a policy recommendation book to Cheong Wa Dae, which included enacting a legislation for the operation of public night-time pharmacies, adopting a business shifting system between pharmacies and clinics, preventing damage to the public health due to the drug sales at convenience stores, and enhancing management of drug sales at convenience stores and education of employees.
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