Currently there are 11 pharmacy location rules agreed to by the Department of Health and the Pharmacy Guild within the Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement, which specify where pharmacies can be opened. These regulations cover both the relocation of existing pharmacies and the establishment of new ones. While some have submitted to the recently released Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation Review panel that the current location rules allow pharmacies to provide a range of high-quality services to the community, others have argued that they limit access to, and affordability of, prescription medicines.
The reviewers ask questions of location regulations and ownership as part of their review, summarised as follows:
- How do location rules impact access to and affordability of pharmaceuticals for the public?
- Would the removal of location rules in urban areas discriminate against rural and regional consumers or benefit them?
- If any party could own a pharmacy, how should that affect pharmacy location rules?
- Is it a viable option to allow pharmacies to enter new locations subject to the payment of an appropriate approval fee to prevent excessive entry into the pharmacy market?
- Do the location rules limit competition for existing pharmacies, raising the profitability of some or all community pharmacies?
- Should a pharmacy operating exclusively in an area be required to provide a minimum level of services in addition to the dispensing of PBS medicines?
- Should pharmacists who own one pharmacy in a particular area continue to be allowed to open a second one in the same area?
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