Professor Ian Harper has exposed a “glaring weakness” in his prescription for a de-regulated pharmacy market – consumers may have to pay more, not less, for their medicines under his ill-founded plan, says the Pharmacy Guild.
“At a doorstop interview in Melbourne yesterday Professor Harper let the cat out of the bag – Australian health care patients may have to pay a levy on medicines because of the impact of de-regulation on the pharmacy sector,” the Guild said in a statement today.
“In other words, consumers might be hit with a new tax on medicines to fund the closure of their local pharmacy!
“Why would Government take a system which is tried, tested and working well for the benefit of all Australians, and decimate it for the sake of an economic theory with no evidence base whatsoever?”
The Guild says it presented rigorous high-level research to the Harper Panel showing the public benefit of the existing pharmacy model, including consumer survey results which show significant public support for the pharmacy network and for pharmacist ownership of pharmacies.
The independent research also identified $700 million per annum in lost consumer welfare under de-regulation.
“The Harper Panel chose to completely ignore this research, instead declaring without a shred of evidence that pharmacy regulation imposed unspecified ‘costs’ on consumers,” the Guild says.
“Now it emerges that the only identifiable threat of ‘cost’ to consumers is Professor Harper’s thought bubble – a levy on medicines to fund the decimation of the pharmacy industry.”