[EDITORIAL] Better Handling of This Act Needed

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[EDITORIAL] Better Handling of This Act Needed

We are utterly disappointed at the careless, irresponsible attitude of the National Assembly and political parties over the revisions to the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act. The Health and Welfare Committee has decided on the issue of drugs administered by injection, forgoing the procedure of an in-depth discussion. The ruling and opposition parties also give a strong impression that they hope to skirt thorny issues.

In the eyes of the general public, the decision of the Health and Welfare Committee is far from satisfactory. The discussion process was not transparent, and it is curious why lawmakers of the Millennium Democratic Party, which opposed the amendment, did not participate in voting. It seems that the committee members passed the bill without debate in a great hurry. Some people inside and outside the legislature say it amounted to collusion resulting in the amendment for the worse, while others raise suspicions of lobbying. What is more pathetic is the political parties' equivocal attitude. They should have fully prepared for this bill, given the intensity of conflict and hardship our society went through during the doctors' strikes. A party representing the people should have met with related businesses and groups, held serious discussions and provided a conclusion based on such debates. To mediate and heal social conflict, the ruling party and the opposition should sit together in the legislature and exchange ideas for good solutions. However, the parties showed an attitude of shirking responsibility, saying they would leave the decision to individual lawmakers. In the face of mounting public outrage, now the parties say that they will come up with a party stance one way or another. The lawmakers would disclose their preoccupation with gaining votes if they simply side with those citizens who complain about the inconvenience of buying injections in drugstores. They should pursue both the principle of caring for public health and the effort of minimizing patients' inconveniences. A responsible party would not be too conscious of losing votes over an issue with such clashing interests.

With pharmacists' protest, we are facing a crisis that may send medical reform back to square one. All political parties should resolve the conflict through an active and serious handling of the bill in the plenary session.
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