Burmarrad's sole pharmacy is under threat due to an appeal by the Superintendent of Health against its licence, ADPD members told a news conference on Saturday.

Addressing a news conference, chairperson Sandra Gauci, who is also contesting for St Paul’s Bay local council, said that this is another case whereby the government took decisions behind closed doors, with no concern for transparency, and where the interests of citizens are being set aside and swallowed up by financial interests.

Secretary General Ralph Cassar said recent statistical data showed that the population of St Paul’s Bay now exceeded 35,000 people. The area included Buġibba, Qawra, Xemxija, Wardija and Burmarrad.

In 2009, when the population was around 18,000, the need for a pharmacy had already been felt.

More than 12 years ago, the Ombudsman recommended that a pharmacy be opened in Burmarrad.

However, it was not until 2022, after years in courts, that the Superintendent of Public Health was ordered to process the licence for a pharmacy for the Burmarrad community.

The current pharmacy opened in May 2023. 

But after a year of being in operation, it was now under threat of closure, as the Superintendence of Public Health was appealing the licence granted.

Such an appeal, Cassar said, went against residents' wishes and the Ombudsman’s report.

Gauci promised that ADPD will remain the shield for people’s rights and, in the meantime, remain vigilant to expose this greed and protect the basic rights of residents.

She emphasised that the law on the licencing of pharmacies is very clear. What was not clear was how the government interpreted the law and acted upon it.

"It appears that the government wants to shut down a pharmacy which both the Ombudsman and the courts say conforms with the law, whilst at the same time grant more licences to the select few, keeping in mind that an operator cannot have more than one licenced pharmacy in the same zone.

"The needs of the community, which have grown exponentially, are being ignored," she insisted.

Gauci added that there is a need for the authorities to plan long-term.

.“You cannot take decisions at a desk, ignoring the experiences and needs of people," she insisted.

 

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