Vale John Matthews

Guild pays tribute to an ‘outstanding’ life of the community pharmacist and leader

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia has noted with sadness the passing of John Matthews, who they described as an outstanding community pharmacist, businessman, mentor and community leader.

Guild national president George Tambassis said Mr Matthews had an “extraordinary” life and contributed immensely to the world of pharmacy, pharmaceutical wholesaling, and politics in NSW.

“He was in many ways a revered elder statesman of community pharmacy – a wily character with a strategic mind and a genial nature,” said Mr Tambassis.

“He is remembered very fondly by many in the Guild community.”

 “John Matthews had an enduring and significant impact on the world of community pharmacy, maintaining his influence and providing wise counsel to those he mentored for many years,” said Guild NSW Branch president, David Heffernan.

Among his many achievements, Mr Matthews is credited with being the father of the pharmacy location rules, through a proposal he developed in the 1970s that approvals to dispense PBS medicines should be controlled by the government on the basis of need in the area, providing efficiencies for government and economies of scale for local pharmacies.

It wasn’t until 1991 that the Department of Health implemented the core elements of his proposal to form the original location rules in the first Community Pharmacy Agreement – rules which continue to benefit consumers today.

Born 11 February 1928, the Hon. John Cyril James Matthews was a member of the NSW Branch of the Pharmacy Guild from 1967 until 1982, and in 2005 was made an Honorary Life Member.

A pharmacy graduate of the University of Sydney, Mr Matthews worked as a pharmacist in Bathurst, and in 1965 he was elected to Bathurst City Council and subsequently became the Mayor.

In 1973 he became a member of the State executive of the Liberal Party, becoming the State party’s treasurer in 1979.

He was elected to the NSW Legislative Council as a Liberal member in 1981 and in 1984 he became Opposition Finance Spokesman, a position he held until 1987. He left the Legislative Council in 1991.

Mr Matthews joined the board of Australian Pharmaceutical Industries in 1975, becoming Chair in 1982 and retiring in 2001.

The Guild said he will be remembered as a pharmacist, distinguished civic leader of Bathurst and servant of the people of New South Wales.

The Pharmacy Guild extended condolences to Mr Matthews’ family. A funeral will be held in Sydney on Tuesday 3 September.

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