15 comments from King Review national webcast

Jo Watson (centre) with fellow review panelists Professor Steven King (l) and Bill Scott.

A live chat with the panel posed some tough questions and featured surprise guests

The Department of Health hosted a live national webcast to allow participants to make comments and ask questions directly to the panel: Professor Stephen King (Chair), pharmacist Bill Scott and CHF’s Jo Watson.

Discussion ranged from remuneration to location rules, medicines shortages, HMRs, complementary medicines and more, and we have put together a selection of the most interesting comments.

Money woes


How are pharmacists expected to continue to deliver medicine advice and other important services to patients with price disclosure continuing to eat away at our margins?

Philip Smith

How do we get remunerated for saving a Dr visit when the child only has a viral rash?


I feel very sorry for young pharmacists aspiring to own their own pharmacy who are priced out of the market by exorbitant pharmacy licence purchase prices. This price eventually end up being paid by the taxpayer. This licence cost needs to be slowly reduced for the sake of a “soft landing” for the industry as the speed of change accelerates. It places pharmacists “out on a limb” and sometimes quite desperate to pursue any means to preserve the value of that licence. This has huge impacts on the industry, compared with other health service providers.

Geoff Timbs

Re remuneration and efficiency: GST is now a big issue with new expensive hepatitis medications. Ultimately the Govt reimburses all GST on all prescriptions. Wouldn’t it be more efficient to eliminate GST on all scheduled items to minimise useless paperwork?

Pharmacy chains


I’d like to respectfully correct Stephen [King], the Chemist Warehouse leaders and Consumers health forum received a seat at the table for the 6CPA.

Damien Gance

I am unsure what anon is referring to when he/she suggests Chemist Warehouse had a seat at the table during 6CPA negotiations….I don’t recall any such seat


@Damien Gance, you were there at the start of the consultation as were representatives for consumers


Do you think there will be or will you recommend large scale consolidation in the pharmacy sector? Will the the future see a few large pharmacy chains? And what role would online pharmacies play?

Complementary medicines


What is the Review Panel’s interest in complimentary medicines? Why shouldn’t we be providing health products that consumers want?

Tom Smith

If you remove complementary medicines from pharmacies, would you expect the 80% of Australians who use these products to purchase them in supermarkets where they cannot draw on a pharmacists knowledge of pharmacology to discuss benefits, ingredients and potential interactions?

Can consumers trust pharmacist advice?

Darlene Cox

How can we be confident in ‘medical’ advice pharmacists provide to consumers when they are not medically trained?


Darlene we as Pharmacists are ‘medically trained’ what do you think we spend four years at university and one year of internship doing?


Darlene – some medically trained Dr give dubious advice to consumer. Personally experienced this as a consumer. There will be rogue players out there no matter what the profession. Pharmacist do not give advise on areas where they feel they are not trained – we have a referral pathway.

Medicines shortages

Andre Kung

I believe the current government policy of price reduction is leading to a situation of medicine shortages. It is becoming unviable for drug companies to import medicines into Australia when they are getting minimal return.


Debbie Rigby 

I think current program such as HMRs, RMMRs are valuable services that start to address the 230,000 medication-related hospital admissions every year, half of which can be avoided. And yet these programs have been restricted, when in fact they should be expanded, albeit with a more targeted approach for patients at high risk. Can the Review make recommendations to the Minister to expand these programs?

Read our article about the King Review webinar discussion on HMRs, location rules and remuneration here.

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NOTICE: It can sometimes take awhile for comment submissions to go through, please be patient.


  1. Karalyn Huxhagen

    Andre’s comments about the viability of pharmaceuticals in Australia versus the world market is an important point that has been debated since the generic manufacturers came into play. Australia already was a tiny player due to our population size when it came to marketing medicine either as raw material or a completed product. Now with price disclosure pushing the return on investment for manufacturers to the floor the incentive and sweeteners that overcame the small patient population issue have been removed. We do not have anything to offer a manufacturer who is considering their global landscape. export costs to the little country on the bottom of the globe are high;import fees are high and margin is low. It is far easier to export their raw product to China and India where population size alone guarantees a great ROI

    • Simon O'Halloran

      Great points Karalyn and I suspect the ongoing generic shortages to be associated to some degree by our PBS changes. I however raise concern that the landscape surrounding the viability of the PBS will be vastly influenced by Australia’s negotiations with the Transpacific Partnership (TPP). Evergreening, extended patents and poor negotiation of pricing for newly released products onto the PBS will be dictated by ‘for profit’ organisations such as big pharma; the Australian Government will be the tail getting wagged by the dog. For example, whilst it is great news to see the release of HepC drugs onto the market it is completely unviable that every patient that would otherwise benefit from treatment will be able to access these treatments, and that is an absolute shame.

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