‘Rivers of gold’ for pharmacy owners?

CPA characterised as lucrative deal for the Guild, while its national president’s salary revealed as one of the highest for union and employer groups in Australia

In part two of Crikey’s “investigation into the influence of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia”, reporters David Hardaker and Kishor Napier-Raman have described the pharmacy payments guaranteed by the Community Pharmacy Agreement as “rivers of gold”.

“These guaranteed payments increase on July 1 every year, in line with Consumer Price Index increases. These and other rules, such as a location restriction on new pharmacies, act as the revenue stream — rivers of gold — for the owners of Australia’s more than 5000 community pharmacies,” they write.

The article comes out as the Pharmacy Guild is negotiating the Seventh Community Pharmacy Agreement with the Federal Government.

Crikey Inq’s also said its investigation revealed that one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Guild’s lobbying “is not a battling Australian pharmacist at all” but large corporate players who have benefited from restrictions on competition such as location rules.

A Pharmacy Guild spokesperson defended location rules, saying their purpose “is to ensure a viable network of pharmacies so that subsidised PBS medicines can be available for Australians wherever they live”.

Health Minister Greg Hunt has previously reassured Guild stakeholders that the 7PCA will not include the loosening of the location rules.

This month it was also revealed that Pharmacy Guild national president George Tambassis receives an annual salary of $387,931, as disclosed to the government’s Registered Organisations Commission.

According to an analysis of salary disclosures by registered union and employer groups by The Australian, this was the third highest individual remuneration declared to the commission for 2018-19.

The Pharmacy Guild declined to comment further on the articles.

See the Crikey article here

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