Pharmacy without wheelchair access loses its licence
Lawyer Dmytro Zharyi whose battle for wheelchair access has been recounted here has spent almost a year fighting for his rights through the courts. After many gruelling court hearings, the court partially allowed his claims and ordered the State Service on Medicines for the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast to withdraw a pharmacy’s licence for failing to provide wheelchair access.
Disabled access – or the lack of it – remains a major problem in Ukraine where public buildings often don’t even have ramps. Between 500 and 1, 000 people in each regional centre are thus deprived of mobility.
Increasingly businesses etc are being obliged, including through amendments to legislation, to ensure access themselves. The business wants to make money and the authorities have a lever – they can make obtaining and retaining a licence contingent on there being disabled access.
Dmytro Zharyi decided to tackle these problems after a visit to the doctor, following which he tried to obtain the prescribed medicine from the chemist nearby. Even private chemists are still within the healthcare system and so the mechanisms for control are that much greater.
What passed for a “ramp” was at best a way for rolling a pushchair up, but the angle basically corresponded to the stairs and there was no question of wheelchair access.
Since this was so clearly in breach of all regulations, Dmytro decided to stand up for his rights. He assumed all could be resolved without the courts, and spoke first with the chemist’s management. This proved fruitless and 6 months later he approached both the Chief Planning Department in Dnipropetrovsk and the Regional Inspectorate on the Quality of Medication asking them to look into the situation and take measures. When they in turn did nothing, he was forced to turn to the court. In his suit he appealed against the results of the assessment about the pharmacy, and demanded that their licence be revoked. He provided an independent assessment which found that the pharmacy did not provide access for people with disabilities. The only ramp installed was not only in breach of architectural norms, but was dangerous.
A year ago Dmytro told us that if his suit was successful, this would this would close all the pharmacies of the entire chain.
Let’s hope it teaches businesses a lesson, and helps people otherwise doomed to immobility.
New information reported here