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Gance demands end to ‘indefensible’ location rules

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Gance demands end to ‘indefensible’ location rules

Chemist Warehouse (CWH) has called for an end to “nonsensical” location rules.

CEO Damien Gance says the rules distort the market and continuing with them is “indefensible”.

He comment on the King panel’s interim report says: “Removal of these antiquated, anti-competitive and nonsensical rules will immediately free up Chemist Warehouse to bring its competitive medicine pricing to many of the communities for whom we are currently unable to serve.”

Mr Gance supports an option in the panel’s interim report that would allow qualified pharmacists to open a pharmacy in any urban location no later than December 2020.

However, he says it is “plainly incorrect” for the panel to suggest the government’s recent support for location rules had hamstrung its recommendations.

“The government is plainly asking for advice in the future direction of [location] rules, it is not seeking affirmation of the status quo,” says Mr Gance’s submission, which is described as “unanimous and unified view” of all the proprietors of CWH stores.

 “Chemist Warehouse has previously shared with the panel dozens of emails and inquiries from communities across the breadth of the nation wanting Chemist Warehouse to open in their community.

“Why should these communities’ pleas be forced to fall on deaf ears?”

Here are five points from the latest CWH submission:

  • CWH’s large PBS market share means it should have a seat at the pharmacy agreements negotiation table.
  • How and where pharmacies stock complementary medicines should not concern the review panel or government. “Leave it up to market forces. If customers don’t want to buy from a pharmacy that sells complementary medicines it should lead to the emergence in the community of a CMS–free pharmacy.“
  • There’s no evidence to suggest homeopathic products pose an unacceptable risk and shouldn’t be sold in pharmacies. There was also no support for the panel’s argument a “medicinal halo” shines upon a homeopathic product because it is sold in pharmacy. While the panel had “pursued a path of intellectual rigor” throughout the review, in this case its position was based on belief rather than fact.
  • The proposal to cap the cost of PBS medicines and prevent pharmacies from discounting except for private scripts was against the WHO definition of access and the National Medicines Policy.
  • CWH supports the move towards electronic prescription system and “unleashing” of the potential of online pharmacy to provide affordable prescription medicines to all Australians. 

 

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