‘Change pharmacy laws’ petition launched

A Chemist Warehouse storefront. Image: AJP.

New online campaign to “bring discount pharmacies to regional towns” linked to Chemist Warehouse

A new online petition calling for changes to Australian pharmacy laws has been launched.

The website, changepharmacylaws.com.au, lists Chemist Warehouse as an owner, as well as Crocmedia – which describes itself as a “multi-platform content and entertainment group”.

“Help drive the need for change by signing this petition to revise state and federal laws in Australia,” the website reads.

“Bring discount pharmacies to regional towns. Regional residents could be paying up to four times the price for common prescription and over the counter medications compared to the price paid by metropolitan consumers, according to a recent study.”

This echoes Chemist Warehouse’s recently published data from a survey of 325 Victorian country residents, which found two-thirds of respondents had driven to another town to save money when filling scripts, and of these, more than 85% had driven more than 50kms.

A News Corp article at the time argued that people are paying $20 for commonly used medications like cholesterol lowering atorvastatin, which is sold for as little as $6 per script by discount chemist chains.

“In regional towns, current state and federal policies prevent discount pharmacies from establishing an outlet,” the website continues.

“All Australians, regardless of their place of residence, should have access to affordable medicines and not be forced to pay inflated prices by outdated rules which limit consumer choice.

“Help drive the need for change by signing this petition to revise the law so that discount pharmacies can open in your town.”

It then calls for people to sign the petition with their name, email address and postcode.

The Pharmacy Guild declined to comment.

However last month it hit back at the News Corp article, saying it “ignored the benefits of the community pharmacy model, the availability of generic medicines, and the safety net mechanisms of the subsidised medicine scheme, the PBS”.

“The Location Rules have played an important and beneficial part in sustaining the effective network of community pharmacies in Australia – a network which benefit patients wherever they live,” said National President of the Pharmacy Guild, George Tambassis at the time.

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