The PSA has disagreed with the Competition Policy Review’s recommendations to deregulate pharmacy, saying the current system does not require fixing.
The current system of community pharmacy has been proven to serve the Australian community well and delivers equitable access to medicines as outlined under the National Medicines Policy, it says.
Responding to recommendation in the Competition Policy Review final report that pharmacy ownership and location rules be phased out, National President of the PSA, Grant Kardachi, says the system is not broken, and so does not need to be fixed.
“The current system of location rules ensures pharmacies are well distributed across Australia to serves the needs of the Australian community and ensures that quality medicines’ use is provided to all Australians,” he says.
“I have yet to see evidence that a different system will produce greater benefits for the Australian community.
“In regards to ownership, the current limits on the number of pharmacies that can be owned are important as this ensures pharmacy owners are focused and committed on the health needs of consumers.”
Kardachi says ownership by pharmacists is beneficial as they have an absolute commitment to serving the needs of their consumers and they place consumers’ health as their priority.
“This is in line with PSA’s Code of Ethics which stresses consumer health outcomes as a priority and all pharmacists are expected to adhere to this code as part of their everyday practice in whatever sector of pharmacy they work,” he says.
“Pharmacists have evolved over time a range of professional services to better serve their patient needs.
“In addition, they provide other services such as home deliveries, usually free of charge.
“Non-pharmacist ownership would put profitability above health outcomes and consumer needs.”
“We should build on the existing system in the next Community Pharmacy Agreement by developing and implementing a wider range of professional services which consumers can access through their pharmacy.”