At the moment there are circa 1500 pharmacies around Ireland, and if you were to take a stroll around any mid sized town in the country I can guarantee with a certain degree of safety that you will see at least four pharmacies there, I would know, I have done it.
Abbeyfeale, Newcastle west, Castlecomer, Douglas... all areas that I have never heard of in my life (until recently) and all of them with four pharmacies.
The weirdest bit about it is that they often locate very close to one another, within a literal stones throw.
Apart from establishments that sell another type of drug... pubs, there is no other category of shop that have such a presence (could you imagine there being four barbers in one village?), I suppose the fact that four pharmacies can co-exist in a one horse town points to the fact that they are obviously making huge profits, if not it would be safe to say that they wouldn't be there. As I found out recently pharmacists are most certainly not in the business for the love of the patients.
On a quest to cut back on Health care expenditure the Irish government have tried to cut down the amount they pay to pharmacists for dispensing drugs to those with medical cards, and as soon as they announced this proposal, which to be honest would help the country in many ways, the pharmacists went into a state of rebellion, according to them this was grossly "unfair".
Well a group of pharmacists took the Health department to the high court over this... and by some absurd oddity won the case... so it looks like the government wont be making those savings after all... And whats more is allows this ridiculous extortionate situation to continue.
Some time soon I hope that the "four pharmacies to each village" situation will be broken, I hope that pharmacists begin to make normal profits, and the industry becomes as competitive and fair as any other.