DR1 - Former directors of the National Association of Pharmacies have reported that large chains of pharmacies are seeking to eliminate the independents. Tony Rodriguez says that this has been happening since the 2007 Social Security Law included provisions for covering the costs of medicines for affiliated patients. He said that in practice, the ARS health management companies make it difficult for independent pharmacies to participate. He expressed concern at the way that the sale of pharmaceuticals is falling in the hands of a practical monopoly. He said that a similar situation arose in Chile and now only three chains control 96% of all the pharmaceuticals sold there. He said that insured patients account for 50% of all sales by pharmacies. He said that the pharmacy owners association has been taken over by a group that seeks to serve the large pharmaceutical companies, as reported in Hoy.
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