Little support for ownership changes


pharmacist illustration

AJP’s latest poll has suggested what many already know: that pharmacists overwhelmingly support pharmacist ownership

In our latest poll, we asked readers to tell us who, if there was to be any relaxation of the ownership rules, should be allowed to own pharmacists.

Readers were able to tick as many boxes as they deemed relevant.

The response, “pharmacists,” was the runaway winner, with 87% of the vote – representing a whopping 667 respondents.

Next in line, however, was “any fit and proper person,” on 16% (119 respondents) and “corporate entities,” at 10% and with 74 respondents.

Anthony Tassone, Pharmacy Guild Victorian branch president, says the findings show strong support for pharmacist ownership.

“I think it’s no surprise that there is such strong support for pharmacist only ownership amongst AJP readers, given the strong trust and the patient outcomes it helps deliver,” he said. “And the readers of AJP live and breathe the great value of community pharmacy and are an integral part of our primary health care system.

“There is a lack of evidence that an alternative of opening up pharmacy ownership would be of benefit beyond a self-serving agenda, and profit before patients.

“Time and time again we’ve seen the overseas experience of opening up ownership of pharmacy leading to a concentration among a few groups, less accessibility for patients in rural and regional communities, and not necessarily any benefit of outcomes, but the risk of all the downsides that come with corporatisation and profit before patients.”

He said he respected the minority view that any “fit and proper person” could own pharmacies, but “the overwhelming majority clearly feel that pharmacist only ownership is in the best interest of patients and delivers the best outcomes”.

This was congruent with the Guild’s own findings amongst the general population, he said.

Rather than looking into issues of ownership, as a Queensland Parliamentary Inquiry is currently doing, it would be useful to examine how pharmacy can address existing issues, Mr Tassone said.

“It’s almost tiring that we need to justify a highly performing and effective model. With all the issues and challenges we have in primary health care delivery in our country, we should be investing our time and energy in fixing actual problems.”

Poll results at the time of writing:

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