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Is the government planning to nationalise pharmacy?

Rumours are rife in pharmacy circles that the federal government has asked the King Review panel to investigate ways to nationalise pharmacies.

It is believed that the government has decided that the only way it can effectively reign in PBS expenditure would be to have full control of the means of distribution and dispensing of medicines.

Some in Canberra are saying the extensive delays to any reports emerging from the Review of Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation (aka ‘the King Review’) are due to it being asked to investigate a range of “out of the box options” for the future look of the pharmacy sector.

Among these are throwing open pharmacy ownership to all comers, including supermarkets and foreign buyers, a government-owned franchise model and a fully nationalised sector, with many experts saying it appears to be favouring the latter option.

Details are hazy on any possible structural arrangements, but there are rumours that panel members flew to Germany to investigate government-owned pharmacies there, including one’s with largely robot dispensing.

“It seems they think that people are pretty dispensable from the dispensing process,” one insider said.     

Pharmacy sources confirmed to AJP in the early hours of 1 April that talk in Canberra among those with contacts in the Department of Health has been rife on the Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement being torn up in the near future.        

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16 Comments

  1. Jarrod McMaugh
    01/04/2017

    I expect to a lot of rigorous discussion of on this Important issue. I think it should go further and have one large centralised dispensing hub in every suburb with only one brand available for each medicine. Choice is such an inefficient part of health, the quicker we quash it, the better our health will be.

    • Greg Kyle
      01/04/2017

      Interesting thought for the city folk, but how small or isolated does a country town have to be before it is forgotten or excluded from pharmacist care in this model?

    • William
      02/04/2017

      Too small an area, Council areas at a minimum with highly mechanised and digitised processes.

  2. GlassCeiling
    01/04/2017

    It is April 1 but the joke is not far from the reality!

  3. Owen Patrick Mellon
    01/04/2017

    Why doesn’t pharmacy be centralised via Alice Springs with drones to drop medication to patients….

  4. Julian Daffy
    01/04/2017

    If this is a joke, then it is hardly very funny. To joke about the the livelihood of employees and the future of small businesses is hardly appropriate considering the current environment in pharmacy industry.
    If it is a real story, then how about some actual quotes and names rather than innuendo and suspicion. Rather rubbish journalism and I’m not surprised that there is no authors name to it.

    • TheRedShirt
      01/04/2017

      You must be an absolute blast at parties

  5. David Heffernan
    01/04/2017

    April fool

  6. Ian Bodycote
    01/04/2017

    Good Idea on the 1st April , also why not ONE drug for every condition, think of the savings.

    • Kevin Hayward
      01/04/2017

      One drug for every condition? Too expensive, how about just one single drug, a universal panacea for every condition, sold in government vending machines at every big Brother is watching you Street corner

      • chris
        01/04/2017

        Two drugs actually…Viagra and pristiq….
        no one gives a F^*!** if they don’t get a F^*!

  7. james jefferies
    01/04/2017

    Oh dear, I got to the bottom of this article and realized it’s April 1st. I was just starting to like the idea of being bought out and getting paid holidays and superannuation for the first time in years. Not having to explain why I’m $2 more expensive than the the red box down the road that has 10x the turnover I have but only 2 extra staff. Oh well back to reality.

    • JimT
      01/04/2017

      ….being bought out….in your dreams

    • William
      02/04/2017

      It is called economy of scale and why should the taxpayer fund inefficiencies?

  8. Andre Kung
    02/04/2017

    Well done! Had me going for a while there! Almost as good as the 2018 AFL Grand Final being played at the new Perth Stadium 🙂

  9. William
    02/04/2017

    Maybe it is an April Fools’ Day joke but maybe it is not.
    However I doubt it would be nationalised but could be rationalise, centralised and put out to tender.
    The push for supermarkets being able to compete has been around since the ark and also has a strong argument for it.
    One can see the start of this in federal government areas where joint offices are being created to cover all social services and in NSW and probably other States similar grouping of once separate government areas.
    Medicare claims are now being patient processed online as are other social services areas.
    Something has to be done if the country wants to remain solvent as nobody want to pay for health costs..
    As I have stated before with the advances in technology electronic prescriptions could be transmitted directly from the prescriber to centralised dispensaries for dispensing. Maybe one every Council area.
    Each Client (patient) would have a universal identity number (TFN? or Australia Card ?) then robotics would do the rest including dispensing, checking dosage, interactions etc. Clients could collect their script from that designated location or pay an additional cost to have it despatched.
    That way great productivity gains could be made and stock levels reduced immensely.
    Pharmacies can carry on selling make-up, toys and their high margin products or diversify into grocery.
    The days of pharmacy as we know it are limited I am afraid.
    I would strongly caution any student who is considering studying pharmacy in future.

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