AJP wants to know who you think should be allowed to own pharmacies in Australia

With the public hearings held as part of Queensland’s inquiry into the pharmacy sector wrapping up this week, there’s been a lot of talk about the ownership rules.

While a number of issues are being discussed, including whether Queensland needs a Pharmacy Council and the full scope of practice for pharmacists, there’s been significant focus on who should be permitted to own pharmacies in the state.

More than 200 submissions were made to the inquiry, most of which supported the current rules. Notable exceptions were those from Ramsay Pharmacy and Chemist Warehouse.

Ramsay’s CEO Peter Giannopoulos told the hearing panel that Ramsay felt corporate entities such as itself should be permitted to own pharmacies, suggesting that economies of scale could improve access in some less economically attractive areas.

Mr Giannopoulos said Ramsay did not, however, support ownership by entities such as pharmaceutical manufacturers, as they would be “incentivised by the provision of product;” or supermarkets, due to the fact that they and related operations such as bottle shops sell products which are harmful to health.

Chemist Warehouse co-founder Damian Gance went one step further, saying that Australians don’t care who owns pharmacies, and that supermarkets such as Woolworths might offer more professional services than an independent owner.

He also said there was a case for doctor ownership of pharmacies, citing the case of his pharmacist mother, who when she passed away was unable to leave her commercial interests to her GP daughter, Mr Gance’s sister.

We’d like to know what you think. If there were to be any relaxation of the ownership rules – in Queensland as a result of the enquiry, or anywhere else in Australia – who should be allowed to own pharmacies? Tick as many boxes as apply.