Sue Dunlevy’s claim (Lifestyle, 21 Feb) that the Pharmacy Guild has been “misleading patients” about the co-pay discount is false, says Guild president George Tambassis.
In a statement released today, Tambassis rebuffs Dunlevy and her comments.
“The optional $1 discount is a budget cut with the Federal Government extracting savings as a result of Concessional patients who take the discount having to fill more scripts before they reach the Safety Net which entitles them to free medicines. The Guild and pharmacies (including some Chemist Warehouse pharmacies ) have simply been informing patients of this fact, with many of them deciding the discount is of no net benefit to them,” the statement says.
The Guild goes on to say that it has written to the editor of New Ltd to address its concerns.
The Guild adds that the $1 discount is paid for by pharmacies (not by the Federal Government) and is actually a budget cut with the Government saving money from patients who take the discount having to fill more scripts before they reach their Safety Nets.
“This is the point pharmacies have been making around Australia with the assistance of a Guild flyer. As a result, patients are weighing up the pros and cons and many are concluding that the $1 discount provides no net financial benefit over a calendar year if it simply means that their access to the Safety Net is delayed.
“Interestingly, we have had multiple examples brought to our attention of Chemist Warehouse pharmacies and pharmacies in other groups with a policy of applying the $1 discount pointing also out these facts to their Safety Net patients, which, far from being misleading, is actually the responsible thing to do. On the contrary, it would be misleading not to tell patients about the impact of the discount on their access to the Safety Net,” says the Guild in a media statement today.
“We encourage Guild members to continue informing their patients of the facts in relation to the optional $1 discount.”