A threat to certainty?

The Pharmacy Guild has dismissed a report that refers to the CPA as a “26-year-old dinosaur of market inefficiency”, saying its recommendations would reduce certainty across the sector

A few months ago AJP covered a report called ‘The Future of the Pharmacy Industry’.

It was written by business consultant Michael Rhodes, director of Rhodes Management, in response to requests from a number of pharmacists for him to provide “an independent perspective” on the pharmacy industry.

Mr Rhodes has recently released his second report, reiterating his argument for supermarket ownership and higher pharmacist wages.

Additionally, in the report he answers all 140 questions from the King Review discussion paper.

As with the first report, the second has already been shared on social media and online amongst a large proportion of pharmacists across the sector, with many pointing to the report’s argument for raising employee pharmacist wages.

Mr Rhodes believes supply of medicines to the community should be opened up to supermarket chains.

“Opening up to supermarket chains will add at least 1000 extra pharmacy outlets in the market and most importantly provide for additional regional coverage where otherwise pharmacies would not operate,” he argues, adding that general practitioners should also be able to practice within pharmacies, as a trade-off for allowing supermarkets to enter the sector.

He says it is “categorically unacceptable” that the government continues to negotiate CPAs with the Pharmacy Guild of Australia exclusively.

“Consumers are NOT represented. Employee pharmacists are NOT represented. Makers and distributors of drugs are NOT represented,” argues Mr Rhodes.

“The CPA constricts market supply and this has been factually proven in a number of reports. It is a 26-year-old dinosaur of market inefficiency.

“The industry, like all industries, should be survival of the fittest, unless exceptional circumstances exist commercially that preclude the National Medicines Policy access to medicines objectives (e.g. far remote areas).

“Protecting anything from normal operations and consumer choice only funds inefficiency and laziness.”

Mr Rhodes uses some very strong language in the second report when referring to the current pharmacy landscape:

“It’s a failure of respective governments whom [sic] have not woken up and smelled the roses, the tax payer and consumers are being fornicated with,” he writes, adding that the current system is “perverse” and takes advantage of underprivileged Australians.

Anthony Tassone, President of the Guild Victorian Branch, says the report is a “subjective narrative” that does not demonstrate that the National Medicines Policy has not been successfully delivered under the current system.

He says that, as with Part One of the Rhodes report, the second fails to fully understand and acknowledge the benefits of the current framework for the tax payer in delivering substantial value on the PBS, high accessibility to community pharmacies, and strong patient satisfaction and trust held for pharmacists.

“There does not appear to be any true engagement or consultation with those who operate within the industry to gain a further understanding since the first report was released,” says Mr Tassone.

He points out that community pharmacy is “the most accessible major service in Australia”, with 87% of the population living within 2.5km of a community pharmacy underpinned by a wholesaler network delivering PBS medicines across Australia, and served by a Community Service Obligation.

“PBS reform and simplified price disclosure is anticipated to deliver $20 billion of savings by the end of the 6CPA over the forward estimates. It has succeeded in creating the necessary headroom to critical therapies such as Hepatitis C treatments, biological and biosimilars. 

“This has all been in large part thanks to community pharmacy agreements and pharmacy location rules that have all helped to deliver on National Medicines Policy,” says Mr Tassone.

“Even with pharmacy location rules in place, the number of approved pharmacies in Australia has still steadily increased over the past five years, from just over 5,300 to 5,577 as at June 2016.

“Also, through PBS reform and price disclosure—the federal government is extracting significant value out of the supply chain and part of this cost is being borne by community pharmacies through reduced trading terms and settlement discounts impacting significantly on cash flow. The Rhodes report does not appear to acknowledge this,” he says.

“The conclusions [of the report] are based on a presumption that; there is an accessibility problem (which there isn’t), that community pharmacy agreements do not deliver value for tax payers (which they do), and that pharmacies supermarkets would somehow improve a model delivering value and that consumers are satisfied with (which they haven’t been proven to in other jurisdictions with deregulated ownership),” says Mr Tassone.

“The recommendations in the report are at odds as it seeks to create more certainty but they would threaten the ability of or healthcare system to meet these objectives and would almost certainly reduce certainty and confidence across the sector.”

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  1. Willy the chemist

    Another consultant. Sigh. When they get wrong do they ever own up? Like Prof King on privatising electricity retailers reducing electricity prices to consumers….no, that’s not a vocabulary they know

    • Mick Rhodes

      How about a contribution to the argument instead of an attack on the person / organisation? Sigh. Electricity prices to consumers aren’t a problem with the electricity retailers deregulation it’s a problem of state and federal energy POLICY which is driven by a renewable’s energy target diverting billions away from the core base load generation sector, thus reducing base load power generation and making energy more expensive – simple supply and demand. Had billions been directed at base load power efficiency, as advocated, prices would be cheaper. We’re now the most expensive place in the world for electricity and like pharmaceuticals we’re now the 2nd most expensive place in the world for prescription medicines. The King Review called out accurately the Guild’s lack of transparency, the need to replace the CPA, the obfuscation on the economics of dispensing and services fees, the lack of co-operation and the locations rules that both exacerbate higher prices and lower access to consumers. They also call out the wastage in supply chain costs. Most importantly they re-affirmed the fact all parties should contribute to the (CPA or it’s replacement) agreement not just the Guild and that it should be patient centric. The King Review also called out the lack of innovation. Add to this further Guild commentary (Tassone et al) which says in summary “the system is just fine as it is”. At present the CPA is like expensive stale bread. I can still eat it, but there are much better options. Our Rhodes Management report part 2 and the The King Review were authored completely independently (and fully researched), yet concluded many SIMILAR recommendations on the key and core issues. On the basis of the facts presented independently by us and them, “wrong” is in our vocabulary but certainly NOT appropriate at this time.

      • Willy the chemist

        Sigh. Electricity prices to consumers are a problem, even if you say otherwise. How about you tell the consumers this? Deregulation is also a reason for the lack of investment and profits before service mentality. And it is a problem for Prof King because he has said that more retailers more competitions and lowering prices. We live on outcomes not thereotical expositions. We also know that electricity retailers have extremely high profit margins.
        Can you please quote the studies where pharmaceuticals are 2nd highest please?
        I refute the assertion that we will get a 1000 more pharmacies with deregulation. And in the USA, pharmacies are plentiful and often within walking distance….wait for it….ahem, in major cities. Once you go out into the suburbs, often one has to drive a long distance to get to one.
        And anedoctally I found that the OTC medicines were at least more expensive at Longs and Walgreens pharmacies. Quite a bit more.
        Lastly on representations. I like the idea…but I’m cynical. Do I see vested group like above named being critical of doctors negotiating with government on their Medicare fees, or charging on top of billing Medicare? Or are they being critical of the exorbitant fees pathology, radiology or prosthesis suppliers charge Medicare? Do the consumers get a sit at the table too?
        What about do consumers get to sit at the negotiation table for electricity, tolls road operators, public transport services outsourcing amongst many others.
        What about consumers having a say that public works in Australia cost more than many other countries? Are we being duped here? For example, a speed jump cost $80,000, a small roundabout cost nearly a million or a raised platform tram stop cost $800,000.
        Are we being duped? Why did our Myki ticketing system cost $1.6 billion and counting. And yet we can pay on public transports?

        And most importantly I wholeheartedly agree with all et al that pharmacists are being under-paid. We work our hearts out and consultants and administrators get paid thousands to write theories to try on human lives.

        • M M

          Mr Rhodes explaining the core of the problem. PBS spend heaps on medicines. The reason for price disclosure agreements and accelerated agreement. References : Kordamentha report 2014 (2nd highest). http://bit.ly/2ucODfV page 9 🙂 on the same page check gvt target growth profit per dispensed item just to give you and our colleagues an idea how sustainable our pharmacy system is; 27% Gross Profit whilst actual was 70%+ in Gross Profits.

        • Mick Rhodes

          Sir – You ignore the facts that it is POLICY at the base load generation level not competition at the retail level that has inflated electricity prices. Simple fact is had that competition not existed, electricity prices would even be MORE expensive today – but this is not relevant to this debate. Thirdly your cynicism around the public works in Australia is incorrect. All public works; local, state, territory and federal are tendered for and allow for public submission and commentary. Whether the price is expensive or otherwise can be argued, but I can assure you it is very competitive. As for your Myki system in Victoria I’d argue that’s an implementation issue because the Go Card system in Brisbane and the Opal Card system in Sydney function as intended. And yes, many consultants and academics often get paid a bomb for what they do. In some cases rightly so and in others they’re milking the financial cow. But on this occasion no. While I do not agree with all of The King Review recommendations for example I can also assure you it is an exceptional piece of work. For the record we were NOT paid anything for our reports and this is clearly stated in both of them.

          • Willy the chemist

            I’m not ignoring POLICY as you say. The high electricity prices are the result of deregulation and privatisation, and governmental policy.
            But you can’t ignore nor explain away the fact that the golden child example of deregulation is failed here. In a way, one can say the golden child of deregulated healthcare, the USA has failed too.

            Or are you suggesting I’m reading articles such the one below wrong. Maybe I need more post nominal letters?

            The retail mark up by electricity firms adds much more to power bills than green schemes such as the renewable energy target on which the Federal government has focused, and is handing them profit margins that other sectors can only dream of, according to a report by the Grattan Institute titled “Price pain: Has retail competition failed to benefit consumers?”

            Read more: http://www.afr.com/business/energy/electricity/agl-origin-and-energy-australia-are-gouging-electricity-retail-prices-20170313-guwrpi#ixzz4mV5h9yWK
            Follow us: @FinancialReview on Twitter | financialreview on Facebook

    • M M

      And how can we relate your comment to the contents of the actual reports?

  2. Mark Jacobs

    Hi Mr Tassone,

    I hear what you’re saying and you’ve been very consistent with the Guild’s position, which is good.

    I am however interested in a response regarding this point Mr Rhodes raises:

    Consumers are NOT represented. Employee pharmacists are NOT represented. Makers and distributors of drugs are NOT represented,” argues Mr Rhodes.

    How does the Guild and the CPA function to benefit employee pharmacists specifically?

    This is one of many issues but I feel it is a topic often dodged by the Guild, yet is a primary concern amongst all the non-owner pharmacists out there.

    Many thanks

    • M M

      Basically, any agreement should be between consumers and government because pbs system is for patients not pharmacies. It’s interesting to see it the other way round.

      • Willy the chemist

        Let me just say that consumers don’t get the representations that they should get. For example GPs, specialists, consultants, councillor fees? Or a say in deciding how to regulate / deregulate utilities, the terms of engagements for public utilities etc

        • M M

          Why just “say” consumers must be the ones to sign the agreement with govt not guild.

          • Willy the chemist

            Why stop with just the guild. substitute guild with Doctors, Specialists, Consultants, etc

          • M M

            Guild will self select at some stage, either reform or quit.

          • Anthony Tassone


            The infrastructure that enables the delivery of the related services in terms of PBS medicines and related medication management services must have a say in such a significant agreement in order to deliver National Medicines Policy for the consumer’s benefit.

            Anthony Tassone
            President, Pharmacy Guild of Australia (Victoria Branch)

          • M M

            This is the CORE PROBLEM – PHARMACY OWNERS WANTED TO BE A PART OF PBS – THEY APPLIED FOR PBS APPROVAL – SO they are committed to deliver PBS Services. In Business World we do it different. If You want to be a part of a government system, you pay to earn this licence .. It is not the other way round. CPAs do not agree a framework. All business consultants including myself support NO CPAs there is no POINT. If a pharmacist Applies for PBS approval then they MUST by LAW comply with their licence. If NOT they can be PRIVATE.

      • Mark Jacobs

        Excellent point. I agree with this. I posted a lengthy reply to Mr Tassone regarding the initial question.

        The summary is:
        – Guild negotiates funding to deliver health services to public via pharmacies, using the professions skillset as leverage
        – Government grants the $$$
        – Services delivered
        – Payments are not distributes to the professions core (i.e. individual pharmacists), whose skillset was used to negotiate elements in the first place
        – Risk involved in opening/running a pharmacy cited as reason for this arrangement

        There is more but honestly, I feel I could write a paper on the bizarre nature of the whole CPA arrangement. But why would I need to when it’s been said time and time again.

        Related anectodal experiences:
        When I speak to national sales/marketing managers in the pharmaceutical industry (a few big company names I could count), we have a laugh about how poor MOST pharmacy owners are at business and running a business.
        We joke about how they are lucky for two reasons:
        – CPA gives them a licence to print $$$
        – Location and location rulew

        Even the worst owner on a bad day will still make money.

        But maybe they aren’t making 500k, it’s now only 450, and that’s terrible of course /s

        • Anthony Tassone

          Hello Mark

          These are my views and I won’t represent necessarily as those of the Guild.

          The vast majority of registered pharmacists are employed in community pharmacies, with various workforce surveys and other analysis (including from previous government agencies such as Health Workforce Agency) have found that approximatley 65% of the pharmacist workforce work in community pharmacy.

          Non-proprietor pharmacists benefit from community pharmacy agreements as it helps provide certainty to the sector and remuneration for services through the community pharmacy infrastructure. The viable and sustainable the community pharmacy sector is, the greater likelihood of job security for the workforce.

          Remuneration for services through community pharmacy agreements can help expand the role of pharmacists and community pharmacy for consumer benefit.

          Individual pharmacists who have particular skills and attributes who can help deliver excellent patient care and help pharmacies appropriately access remuneration under the program guidelines for patient benefit are an asset for any proprietor and could negotiate terms accordingly.

          Whilst Community Pharmacy Agreements are a very significant funding pool for our sector, they are not the only source of reform for role expansion and practice change going forward. At a State and Territory level there has been significant role expansion through pharmacist immunisations and other initiatives are soon to be piloted such as Chronic Disease Management in Victoria that will involve pharmacists working collaboratively with GP’s for dose-titration, anti-coagulation monitoring and early intervention with chronic disease treatment under a GP-led plan.

          There could be a variety of reasons and factors why wages have stagnated over the past decade, but a significant one would be the impacts of price disclosure and PBS reform. Many of the proprietors I speak to want to recognise their staff as best as they can, but their business may only have a certain capacity to do so.

          Your comments elsewhere in this thread about community pharmacy agreements being ‘a license to print money’ are unfounded based on the most recent results of the Guild Digest survey 2017 (for the 2015-16 financial year). Of the 321 pharmacies surveyed, the average net profit/loss was approx $103K after proprietor’s salary. This is at similar levels to around 2009-10.

          I don’t believe that the Guild has necessarily implied they represent non-proprietor pharmacists, but rather state the number of pharmacists and pharmacy assistants that are employed in the sector.

          Anthony Tassone
          President, Pharmacy Guild of Australia (Victoria Branch)

          • Mark Jacobs

            Mr Tassone,

            Thank you for sharing your view with me.
            I agree on some points and disagree on others but I didn’t want to prolong the discussion here as it seems two of my posts have been deleted. Not sure why but the tin-foil-hat me has a few theories.

            The overarching point of the question is that the Guild, as an organisation, (with all due respect to your work and effort in that sector) is an outdated organisation that needs restructuring.

            There are several angles here that includes pharmacist pay rates, location rules, ownership limits, and accessibility to approval numbers. Either that or deregulate the whole industry.

            As Mina points out through this whole thread, Mr King and Mr Rhodes point are approaching this sector from an economics perspective with some serious recommendations.
            I would imagine that any group representing a profession that lobbies for patient outcomes would utilise their expertise in business and economics, take these recommendations and work with them. As opposed to just categorically dismissing them.

            On a final note, you quote data from the Guild Digest that pharmacies are making on average $103k after proprietor wages.
            I would like to point out some statistical and analytical issues:

            – Guild Digest compiled by the Guild to serve its own purpose… Reporting bias

            – Data quoted reflects 321 pharmacies… There are well over 5000+ pharmacies in Australia .. sample size?

            – Perhaps the proprietors best kept secret is that net profits often don’t find their way on P&L statements, as in a “regular” business… We can call that clever accounting

            – My pharmacy turned over 3.3mil and net profit was approx 400k .. I sold this about two years ago now. Well into price disclosure.. I consider I was an efficient operator

            In short: i believe that the 100k figure is a fabrication. If it is true for a pharmacy, then it would go to support just how inefficient pharmacy owners are. We are trained in the sciences with half a semester of business, but we are allowed to manage multi-million dollar entities to deliver health outcomes… Isn’t that just the strangest thing??

            Many thanks

          • Sheshtyn Paola

            Hi Mark. Your previous posts were neither deleted nor censored. Sometimes Disqus incorrectly filters very long comments, believing they are spam. I have approved your previous post and it should be published now. Kind regards, Sheshtyn (Journalist, AJP)

    • Anthony Tassone

      Hello Mark

      During the lead up to the negotiations for the 6CPA there were extensive consultations with a range of stakeholders that included organisations both within our industry and external to it. Organisations that were involved in the consultation included those that aim to represent employee pharmacists.

      The level of consultation and engagement with a range of stakeholders prior to the agreement being signed for the 6CPA was unprecedented compared to previous agreements.

      Regarding consumers, the Australian government representing ultimately the taxpayer has an obviously influential and important role in representing the ultimate consumer.

      Anthony Tassone
      President, Pharmacy Guild of Australia (Victoria Branch)

      • M M

        And? Will you reveal consultation data and meeting minutes with stakeholders? Freedom of informaion and transparency?

        • Anthony Tassone


          The consultations and engagement with stakeholders were hosted by the Department of Health on behalf of then Minister for Health Sussan Ley.

          Any ‘data’ or ‘meeting minutes’ would be held by the Department of Health as they provided the secretariat services for these stakeholder forums.

          Professional Pharmacists Australia (PPA) ran an article by well known pharmacy critic and News Ltd health reporter Sue Dunlevy at the time (February 2015) on their website welcoming this collaborative engagement approach leading up to 6CPA negotiations via the link below:

          “Health Minister Sussan Ley shines light on 6CPA negotiations”


          The PPA’s preamble into Ms. Dunlevy’s article is below:

          “Health Minister, Sussan Ley, wants to consult more widely on the next Community Pharmacy Agreement (6CPA), a News Corp Australia article has reported.

          “I want to hear from a range of voices about the best ways patients can continue to access medicines when and where they need them at a price both they and taxpayers can afford,” she told News Corp.

          In what has been labelled a ‘shot across the bow’ in other media, the Minister’s comments reflect a movement in the government toward a position that PPA has long argued is necessary.”

          Anthony Tassone
          President, Pharmacy Guild of Australia (Victoria Branch)

          • M M

            Yes Anthony, this is the story behind the data. From your comment I get the impression that guild doesnt have any data or meeting minutes (re consulting other stakeholders) yes or no?

          • Anthony Tassone


            As I said, the Department of Health provided the secretariat services for these forums.

            Any of the stakeholders present would most probably have kept notes of their own account of the meeting.

            I’m not sure of the point of the line of questioning. My point was that the Federal government consulted widely and the Department of Health provided secretariat services for these forums.

            Anthony Tassone
            President, Pharmacy Guild of Australia (Victoria Branch)

          • M M

            The point is clear – We dont know what happened in these consultations – We DONT KNOW who agrees or disagrees on WHAT. So, please do not just post any general reply that distracts the public. The lack of transparency is evident. Like i advised you before, if you do not have a clear YES or NO answer – It is better to say “I DONT KNOW”

          • Mark Jacobs

            Hi Anthony,

            Thank you for a comprehensive reply.
            I must point out however that the initial question I was asking was not answered. I believe M M also reiterated this point.

            I don’t necessarily disagree with what you’re saying. Actually, you raise very valid points, along with those raised by Willy and M M in the comments section.
            The central issue, to put it more bluntly:

            – How do I, as a current non-owner pharmacist (and ex-owner) with 10+ years experience, benefit from the Guild negotiating professional services renumeration with the Government, in an agreement that does not benefit me financially in any manner at all
            Put another way:
            – How would I be able to access this pool of funding to deliver the professional services I have been trained to do?

            Put another way:
            – How much input did PPA have in these negotiations? Did they ask for renumeration directly paid to pharmacists? And I’m not talking about HMR’s which are not a time-valued return on investment, in my opinion.

            Reworded another way:
            – How do the CPA negotiations translate to better non-owner pharmacist working conditions, specifically pay rates, that isn’t left up to each owners discretion?

            Why does the Guild imply that it is representing the profession with the CPA negotiations when realistically, it’s representing pharmacy owners? (Which is fine, but why not call a spade a spade)
            Why are we all pretending and if we aren’t, then why does the Guild not come out and advocate for better non-owner pharmacist representation in these negotiations?

            My question is specifically aimed at distinguishing between the implied illusion that pharmacists=Guild. It seems as though no one is bluntly saying that when the Guild needs to utilise the collective experience and knowledge base of the profession for negotiation of renumeration, it is ok to group owners and non-owners as “pharmacists”.

            My questions are loaded, I know, and I appreciate your time constraints. But I would love to have answers. I would also love to have answers not centred around the ‘risks’ pharmacy owners must carry. Let’s be clear (and to all those young pharmacists reading this), pharmacy is high risk, but with a great safety margin. You can be the worst owner/operator and STILL make decent money.

            It seems to me that the pharmacist is a pawn to the Guild for negotiations and that’s really it. Meanwhile, pharmacists are stuck on a measly $30-45/hr pay rate (if they are lucky).

            This to me seems to be an element of what Mr Rhodes explores in some aspects of his report.

            Apologies if I have jumped around a fair bit.

            Many thanks,


          • John Smith

            Hi Mark,
            The PGA makes it clear, it works for the favor of its members and protection of their interests. That was outlined in kings review and Mr Rhodes papers.

      • John Smith

        Hi Anthony,
        your comment didn’t answer the main question of : How does the Guild and the CPA function to benefit employee pharmacists specifically? I would appreciate a straight answer please …

  3. Willy the chemist

    Mina, with regards to your reference on the KordaMentha report 2014, this report is out of date. Australia for a long long time was one of the lowest relatively priced pharmaceuticals and it deteriorated up to the point of the report year 2011 shown.
    Remember, as Mick Rhodes is at pains to say, it is POLICY.
    And this time, in my humble opinion, it is really POLICY that our relative pharmaceutical prices were then in 2011.

    Below are some of the random items I quickly looked up after work tonight. This is based on my stocktake report in April 2011 and actual current cost.

    Description ,Apr-11 , Jul-17
    Caduet 5 40mg ,$70.78 , $4.69
    CoPlavix 75/100mg ,$56.14 , $5.10
    Crestor 5mg , $33.08 , $3.74
    Dilatrend 25mg ,$55.62 , $13.36
    Lipitor 80mg , $89.67 , $5.20
    Norvasc 10mg , $18.56 , $8.72
    Plavix 75mg , $52.44 , $4.76
    Reminyl 16mg ,$225.22 , $30.39
    Spiriva 18mcg , $60.83 , $47.93
    Teveten Plus 60.. ,$21.21 , $17.08
    Zofran 8mg 10 ,$110.20 , $55.18

    As you can see, there has been a marked reduction in prices to the government.

    And please be impartial in reporting.

    Prices to PBS medicines are NOT because of location rules or ownership regulations. It has nothing to do with competition. It has ALL to do with POLICY, as Mike Rhodes is adept at saying except that he was wrong on electricity.

    Rather if you had read the entire KordaMentha report, you’d known that margin is falling for the foreseeable future. PBS expenditure continues to grow but once you delve deeper into the matter, one would see that it is the new drugs that are quite often dispensed from hospital that are taking the bigger proportion of the PBS. Mate, if you are impartial, this should be disclosed….there are many ways to skin a cat.

    In fact the savings from PBS reforms were higher than the forward estimates, this savings is a “windfall” for the government.

    • M M

      Revise my comments re: why do we need CPAs or why we need price disclosure or price disclosure agreements. Simply, we dont need any of them.

      We need an efficient model that doesnt put pharmacies nor pharma companies, consumers or taxpayers under pressure.

      The report gives you an idea why pharmacy industry is facing challenges. And 27% Gross profit for dispense medicines is the projected government target. (CAN YOU SURVIVE?)

      This is what the guild has been hiding from the VAST MAJORITY of PHARMACY owners.

      THE report is CLEAR ENOUGH.

      Discounters are way too smart, they started their own market a while ago. If the government decided to STOP PBS system, they are the one who will survive, DOESNT this RING THE BELL?

      You need to rethink the whole thing in terms of ECONOMICS, This is what KING’s or RHODES reports are all about. AND the questions raised or solutions provided are good, can be discussed further or improved BUT CPAs? NO WAY!

    • M M

      RE: Prices you have listed, is the government doing the right thing by PUSHING prices down or PUSHING Pharmacy PROFITS DOWN?

      • Willy the chemist

        Mina, your statement now contradicts your ardent support of the Rhodes report.

        The PBS Price Reforms is pushing prices down, yes. This is working as intended.
        We all want a sustainable PBS and a universal healthcare system.

        I don’t want to see a fully deregulated, privatised ( PROFIT for SELF ) healthcare system. I believe that a pillar of advance & inclusive society is universality of primary healthcare and the right to healthcare. Yes, it is a privilege, and hence individuals within society should be respectful of this rights which our forefathers worked so hard for. And we worked so hard to maintain.

        I wrote the prices to show evidence that the PBS reforms through the Guild Government negotiation has worked a treat. Yes, it has been very successful. Yes it is putting some pharmacy operators under financial strain and the rest of the pharmacy industry under pressure from being able to pay stakeholders better wages etc but it is working. It is running lean, maybe too lean some might say. But it is working.

        How can I make this clearer? It is working as intended. It is running very lean, and community pharmacy has been a collateral damage in some aspect. Yes, it is good time for the government to think about some targeted re-investment into pharmacy.

        Can we still achieve more savings from the PBS, yes absolutely. But do we need to rejig some of the components, yes absolutely.

        I lived overseas for a number of years and I experienced living in a country with user pay system and privatised healthcare. You DON’T WANT a system like that. People only complain once it is gone.

        Government job is to govern (that’s why there is an election), and the consumers and et al all get consulted all the time. But to ask for seats at the table (esp. when it is only a call for CPA) smacks of tall poppy syndrome. No work will get done and we will all consult, liase and defer.

        Ps: For the rest of the consultants and advisers and journos who choose to obfuscate and lie, they churn my stomach. Journos who write sensational pieces that imply that the entire PBS spending is profit to pharmacy. Yes, the filthy greedy rich pharmacy owners…that’s just so wrong on so many angles.

  4. Willy the chemist

    Mick, regarding privatisation of electricity and retail prices rising ….here is the link in case some of our readers don’t have access to AFR link in my previous reply.

    Electricity prices continue to rise from 2007 to 2014 by 175%….and wholesale prices dropped by half.


  5. Ronky

    Typical distorted statistics from the Guild. ““Even with pharmacy location rules in place, the number of approved pharmacies in Australia has still steadily increased over the past five years, from just over 5,300 to 5,577 as at June 2016.” i.e. barely a 5% increase in a period when the population grew 10%. And the number of pharmacies is still less than it was when the location rules were introduced, although the population has increased by 65% since then.

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