Super-Pharm CEO: If Poland doesn't change the law, we'll leave

Super-Pharm CEO Lior Reitblatt organized a visit by Poland's Minister of Health Mariusz Lapinski to Israel in an attempt to change Polish law and allow Super-Pharm to be licensed there.

"If Poland does not change its law and allow Super-Pharm to be licensed, we will leave within a month," Super-Pharm CEO Lior Reitblatt told Poland's Minister of Health Mariusz Lapinski yesterday. Lapinski is a visit to Israel, organized by Reitblatt as part of a lobbying effort to convince him to cancel a recently enacted law permitting only licensed pharmacists to operate pharmacies. In addition, each pharmacist may operate only one pharmacy.

The Polish Sejm passed the law in September, and it will take effect on April 1.

Super-Pharm has operated two pharmacies in Poland since 2000, one in Warsaw, and the other in the south. Total turnover is $5 million a year. Super-Pharm's business plan calls for the operation of 50 branches across Poland by 2004 and 400 branches by 2008. However, unless the law is repealed, it will close its two current stores.

Reitblatt said, "Poland's Minister of Health knows that Super-Pharm will not stay in the country if he is unable to repeal the law, and I hope we can convince him.”

Lipinski said in response that he was unaware of any problem with Super-Pharm's license in Poland. He said he was visiting Israel at the invitation of the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Industry and Trade, with the sole intent of examining various ways to computerize Poland's health and pharmaceutical system, and study the Maccabi and Clalit Health Funds methods prior to the publication of a tender in April.

Reitblatt said, "The Minister is alarmed by the presence of Polish media at the press conference, so he declined to express his support for Super-Pharm. It should be realized that heavy pressure is being placed on him by Poland's pharmacists organization which does not want us operating there."

Published by Israel's Business Arena on 6 March 2002

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