Chemist Warehouse to discount all copays by full $1, claims won’t affect Safety Net

hand out for money - coins in palm

Chemist Warehouse has announced that it will discount all its PBS copayments as of January 1 by the maximum permissible discount – a move which won’t affect patients’ qualification for the Safety Net, according to pharmacist and group commercial manager Damien Gance.

In a statement released today, the pharmacy group said that while it can’t discount the patient contribution as much as it would like, from 1 January it can discount it by $1.

“Of course, Chemist Warehouse will be passing on the maximum permissible discount on all our medicines,” says Gance.

“Internally we have called this our remove the asterisk moment.

“Chemist Warehouse has always discounted every prescription to every Australian that we legally could.

“Unfortunately up until now we have not been able to discount every script as we were legally prohibited from discounting these patient copayments for subsidised medicines.

“But now we can. From now on we can proudly proclaim to discount every prescription to everyone everday. No asterisk needed.”

According to a recent AusPharm poll, 36% of pharmacies say they will not discount the PBS copayment from 1 January, while 21% say it’s unlikely but they are yet to make a firm decision, Chemist Warehouse says.

Gance says that this discounting won’t affect the safety net.

“The PBS Safety Net is a set dollar amount of money that you need to spend in a given year for you to be able to receive your prescriptions at even further subsidised pricing,” he says.

“It is a Government policy and is triggered when a non-Concessional patient spends $1475.70 in a calendar year or a Concessional patient spends $372.

“Discounting of patient copayments has absolutely no effect on the Safety Net, discounting or not you need to spend the exact same amount of money in a year to qualify and anyone who tells you otherwise is not being entirely truthful.”

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  1. MattBottomley

    Grace is not being entirely truthful herself. Each year a patient gets ‘y’ scripts. Of those ‘y’ scripts, they need to fill ‘x’ scripts, meaning they get ‘y-x’ scripts subsidised on their safety net. Based on the current concession safety net requirements a patient would need an additional 11 scripts ‘x+11’ to reach their safety net, meaning each year a concession patient will receive 11 less subsidised scripts a year ‘y-x-11’ meaning they are $67.10 financially worse off each year with the current concession. That figure will of course increase in future years.
    I do concede it is better for patients not likely to reach safety net status, but please don’t tell spread mistrust between the consumer and your fellow healthcare colleagues by implying that you are have more integrity.
    (sorry about all the algebra)

    • AboubakarSadiq

      Leave her alone. She appears to be mathematically challenged

  2. JimT

    simple fix for this situation for patients, but still going to “cost” pharmacy business in more ways than one. Dispense at full price so patients are not disadvantaged safety net wise, then take $1 discount off per conc. script at the register……..

    • Julian Ang

      And then get reported and fined and possible loss of approval number. Great plan!

      • JimT

        necessity is the Mother of invention ………..

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