Community Pharmacy Benefits Consumers
The Harper Review did not produce any serious empirical evidence to demonstrate that opening up pharmacy to the big supermarkets would produce any net benefit to patients.
In contrast, the Pharmacy Guild delivered a comprehensive independent cost benefit analysis to Harper which demonstrated a very large social and economic loss of more than $700 million a year would result from the deregulation of pharmacy.
The Guild and community pharmacy small businesses around Australia will continue to defend a model that has the overwhelming support of the Australian population. Consumer surveys time and again make it clear that around 90 per cent of Australians strongly support and value local pharmacies.
The current model of community pharmacy serves the nation extremely well – providing a high-quality essential health service for consumers and value for money for consumers.
The Guild’s evidence to Harper clearly demonstrated that pharmacies are delivering high levels of access, choice, competition, equity and quality for consumers. It showed that far from limiting access and choice, the community pharmacy model provides near universal access, high quality service and choice for consumers.
For example, 87 per cent of Australians live within 2.5km of at least one pharmacy. This level of access to pharmacies is higher than for supermarkets, banks and medical centres in both capital cities and in regional areas.
In relation to pharmacy ownership, State and Territory governments have consistently reaffirmed their support for the current model because they recognise the benefits and safeguards it delivers for consumers.
Australia’s 5510 community pharmacies need certainty and stability – not a constant push to dismantle a system that’s working so well.