Guild fronts media on price disclosure

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Pharmacies will be down nearly $5000 a year, starting next week, it estimates

From this Sunday 1 October the next Price Disclosure Cycle begins.

Pharmacy Guild National President George Tambassis was featured on Channel 9 this week, explaining the changes to consumers.

“You’ll see an automatic reduction in price,” he told reporter Kate Creedon in the segment Cheap Pills.

“Some medicines like anti-cancer drugs that are above the co-payment, even though those price reductions are huge, you won’t see that because the co-payment is still enough for you to actually get it at the right price, the same price at any pharmacy you go to.”

It means more money in your pocket after the government negotiated a new price cycle for drugs, says Channel 9.

“From this Sunday, top-selling statins like Lipitor will be reduced by 14%, Plavix to ward off heart disease and stroke drops 15%. Common cold sore treatment Zovirax and contraceptive Levlen will be discounted by 11%. And thrush treatment Diflucan – 17%.

“Some customers may notice they save even more on their medicine. That’s because the price of many popular pills drops below the $38.80 copayment, driving competition between pharmacies.

“And competition is good news for your wallet.”

This is the third Price Disclosure cycle that will incorporate the removal of originator brands from the calculation, says the Pharmacy Guild.

Originator brands are less likely to offer the same level of trading term discount as generics, a Guild spokesperson tells AJP.

“The exclusion of the originator [in the upcoming cycle] results in a lower average price for the drug and therefore a more substantial price reduction.

“However, the impact of this round is ameliorated in part by the existence of the Administration Handling and Infrastructure fee introduced as a floor price in the 6CPA,” says the spokesperson.

“Guild forecasting indicates that we have now passed the peak of price disclosure reductions with subsequent reductions likely to continue to trend downwards, reflecting the extent to which trading terms have already been depleted.”

The price reductions (excluding the affected combination drugs) were estimated by the Guild in August to equate to an average $0.09 per script or $4,488 per pharmacy per year in lost gross profit.

Many consumers have welcomed the price reductions, while others have criticised the system.

“Really shouldn’t have to ‘shop around’ for prescription savings,” said one commenter on the Channel 9 Facebook page. “Last thing you would do if you’re sick. If they just charged the right price then that would be great.”

Another said the price reductions were “effectively a tax break for the rich and old.”

“Slashed by what 20 cents what difference will that really make?” said a viewer.

“There are people who just don’t have the money to pay,” another responded. “I watched a woman in the chemist one day knock back medicine for her children because she simply couldn’t afford to pay. For those people this is a welcome relief I’m sure.”

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  1. Paul Sapardanis

    Have to agree with the fa cebook comment. People shouldn’t have to shop around. PBS medications should be the same price no matter which pharmacy you choose to attend

    • Nicholas Logan

      Fixed PBS prices below the co-payment would mean pharmacists can go back to having a professional interaction instead of a price negotiation.

  2. DispensingRobot

    I realize in some EU countries this is the case. Pharmacies only compete on professional service. There is no discrepancy in pricing for ethicals, however, pharmacies compete on prices for CAMs, OTC,Beauty products etc. pharmacists should only compete on professional services, this will open the avenue for different professional services and halt the growth of certain groups. Thus, it will also increase wages and pharmacist retention rates in the work force.

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