The Pharmacy Guild has welcomed a report from Choice released today titled ‘A better deal on drugs’ comparing pharmacies and supermarkets on price, range and value in relation to a number of common over-the-counter medicine categories.

The report found that pharmacies are very price competitive and “equalled or beat supermarkets on price when comparing brand for brand.”

Guild Executive Director, David Quilty says that the report found that pharmacies were not only as cheap if not cheaper than supermarkets in many medicine categories, but they also provided a wider range of brands and pack sizes.

“Importantly, the report found that pharmacies, unlike supermarkets, provided customers with health related advice and assistance, when they were purchasing these medicines,” Quilty says.

“This report exposes the ideologically-driven claims that community pharmacy is not competitive.

“It finds that pharmacies are clearly price competitive on name brands across all the categories (pain, sinus, cough, cold, reflux, hay fever etc.) and often also sell cheaper brands of their own.”

The report demonstrates that it is an urban myth that consumers can save a few dollars in their health costs by shopping at the big supermarkets rather than at their local community pharmacies.

“The take-out from this report is clear – community pharmacies are an altogether better option that supermarkets when it comes to purchasing open-seller, over-the-counter medicines,” says Quilty.

“Unlike the self-serve supermarket model, consumers have ready access to professional health advice from trained medicine experts in pharmacies.

“This pharmacist advice ensures that consumers purchase the right medicines with the right instructions to meet their health care needs.

“Importantly, it also enables consumers to understand the impact that these over-the-counter medicines may have on other medicines they are taking, including prescribed medicines.

“None of this advice is available in supermarkets.

“It is clear consumers can put their health care first, without being out-of-pocket, by making their local pharmacy their first and preferred, port of call for all their medicine needs,” he says.