Deregulation proponents ‘flat earthers’

Former Pharmacy Guild of Australia national president Kos Sclavos has compared people who support pharmacy deregulation to ‘flat earthers’

Speaking at the Guild Pharmacy Assistant National Conference on the Gold Coast, Sclavos said that the Review of Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation offers community pharmacy’s friends and supporters to speak out in support of the sector, but also gives a platform to its enemies.

for example, “it’s an opportunity for us to say that the wholesalers are not properly remunerated.”

But the “economic rationalists and flat earthers” supporting deregulation fail to take into account that opening up pharmacy more to market forces would impact accessibility, he said.

He cited the fact that community pharmacy is one of very few industries still growing in rural and regional Australia.

Sclavos also took aim at discounters for offering discounted scripts that do not count towards the Safety Net.

This devalues the work done by pharmacists when dispensing and counselling and sets a low price benchmark for the service, Sclavos told delegates.

“It’s discounting the professional fee, discounting the AHI,” he said.

Down the track this could lead to Government asking itself, “Why are we killing ourselves paying the pharmacist… Pharmacists can do this stuff for nothing”.

“That’s the message they’re sending,” he said.

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