THE top earning pharmacist in Kilkenny in 2010 received over €500,000 in fees from Health Service Executive according to figures obtained by the Kilkenny People.
The payments made to pharmacists through out county Kilkenny were obtained under freedom of information request. The figures showed that in 2010 the top earning chemist in Kilkenny was MacEneaney’s which received €515,000 in payments from the HSE. Sam McCauley’s Chemist in Loughboy was the second highest earning receiving over €438,639. The third highest earning pharmacist was Urlingford Pharmacist who received €409,533 in payments. The fifth highest earning pharmacy in Kilkenny was Keane’s Pharmacy on John street which received €391,582.
Pharmacy’s in the smaller towns outside of Kilkenny did particularly well with Pharmacy’s in Thomastown, Graignamanagh and Castlecomer all earning in excess of €200,000.
The figures received were not the pharmacies total earnings but, they amount that they received from the HSE under seven drug reimbursement schemes. The schemes included the general medical and methadone scheme, drug payments scheme and the long term illness scheme. The large retail pharmacy Boots located in the centre of Kilkenny city was one of the poorer performing pharmacy’s. Boots received €92,809 from the HSE operated schemes.
The most commonly dispensed drug by pharmacists in Kilkenny was Aspirin which was dispensed over 100,000 times in the Carlow Kilkenny area in 2010. Aspirin is commonly prescribed by doctors to relieve minor aches and pains. The second most commonly dispensed drug was Lipitor. Lipitor is a part of a family of drugs known as statins that are used to lower colesterol. Lipitor was dispensed nearly 60,000 times in Carlow Kilkenny in 2010. A drug for the treatment of hypothyroidism, levothyroxine sodium, was the third most commonly prescribed drug in Carlow Kilkenny.
A spokesperson for the Irish Pharmacy Union said that payments to pharmacist in Ireland vary hugely and that pharmacists operate on wafer thin margins. “The payments and fees paid to pharmacies vary enormously, out of which the pharmacist must cover salaries, provision of a premises, insurance, and other overhead costs associated with delivering a high quality professional service. As in all sectors of the economy, there are large and very small pharmacies.
“Pharmacists operate on a wafer thin margin for their business as a whole, with one in five pharmacists operating at a loss and the rest recording an average net profit of approximately 4% of total turnover (Review of Community Pharmacy in Ireland 2009 – likely to have fallen further as a result of continuing cuts in payments),” the spokesperson said.