News

Campaign to bring down high cost of prescriptions

BACKPEDAL: Coral Coast Pharmacy owners David Holmes and Annabelle Hirst are angry and concerned with the Federal Governments move which dishonours the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement. Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail
BACKPEDAL: Coral Coast Pharmacy owners David Holmes and Annabelle Hirst are angry and concerned with the Federal Governments move which dishonours the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement. Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail Max Fleet

THREE consumer groups have joined forces to campaign against the high prices Australians pay for prescription medication.

The Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF), Choice and the Australian Council of Social Services said Australians were paying more than 10 times the British price for the equivalent medication at a time when 15% of Australians were now struggling to afford prescriptions.

The group said it is warning consumers to oppose supporting a campaign being run by the Pharmacy Guild which it said is calling on its customers to support the guild's mission to seek compensation for the reforms.

CHF chief executive Carol Bennett said pharmacies already received $3 billion a year from the government to dispense PBS medicines and this policy decision by the government was closing a "loop hole" which the industry had to claim inflated subsidies.

"Right now many health consumers have to decide between paying for a prescription or putting food on the table," she said.

"Over and above the current high prices of medicines, pharmacies nationally get more than $15 billion collectively over five years.

"This is an average of $600,000 per pharmacy."

The organisations said independent health experts estimated if Australia was to pay the same prices as New Zealand, about $1 billion a year would be saved off the cost of the PBS which could be put towards new health services and the listing of new drugs.

A spokesman for the Pharmacy Guild said simply dividing the global total of the complex five-year agreement - $15.4 billion - by the number of pharmacies to arrive at a figure of $600,000 paid to every pharmacy per year was "facile".

Coral Coast Pharmacy founding partner David Holmes said the consumer bodies were being completely misleading.

"They talk as if all pharmacies receive discounts on all drugs," he said.

"It is surely common sense that pharmacies in big groups that have clout will get bigger discounts than little pharmacies like us in regional areas."

Mr Holmes said the allegation that pharmacies were urging political parties to "back away" from the price disclosure was untrue.

"We have always supported the agreement that was in place and it was the government that has moved the goalposts without any consultation," he said.

Mr Holmes said it was true that in a lot of cases Australians paid more for prescription drugs but it was important to understand that it was the drug companies in conjunction with the government that set the prices.

"Australia has one of the lowest pharmaceutical spends as a % of GDP in the world so we are a small player in their market," he said. "You can go buy clothes and other items overseas for a third cheaper than what you can buy them for here in Australia and it is the same with medicine."

Topics:  acoss choice pbs



How to survive a bushfire in your car

IT SOUNDS like a nightmare, but it can happen.

Eight reasons to join the RFS

SPREAD across 93% of Queensland, the Rural Fire Service has about 36,000 volunteers. And you could be one of them.

What if my insurer gives me grief?

CLAIMING your insurance cover after a natural disaster can go one of two ways. It can be a breeze, or like pulling teeth.

What's on: Saturday, December 3

Not sure what to do today? We've got you covered

Local Partners

David Attenborough on facing his mortality

Sir David Attenborough in a scene from the TV special The Death of the Oceans.

Life without Sir David Attenborough is hard to imagine

Goooodbye Hamish and Andy (from our radios)

Hamish and Andy

The pair have been on air since 2006

Saying "I do" changed Shia's outlook on marriage

Shia LaBeouf has a new outlook on marriage since he tied the knot.

Singer tunes in to first movie role

Tori Kelly voices the character Meena in the movie Sing.

Musician Tori Kelly voices Meena the teenage elephant in Sing

Cricketing greats bring Aussie mateship to commentary box

Cricket commentator Adam Gilchrist.

ADAM Gilchrist enjoys the fun of calling the Big Bash League.

The dead help solve the case

Debut novel delivers on wit, violence and shock

Chinese locked out of Australian property market

The rules are different if you're a foreigner

The buyer was from China - the trouble started right there

Morrison signs off on new affordable rental model

Australia's Treasurer Scott Morrison speaks during a press conference after a meeting of the Council of Federal Financial Relations at Parliament House in Canberra, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016.

Scott Morrison signed off on development of a new financing model

Coast high-flyer's fight back from bankruptcy, $72m debt

Scott Juniper went from millionaire developer to declaring bankruptcy in2012, now he is back on top of his game again with new developments including this one in Coolum.

'Apocalyptic lending storm' causes financial collapse.

How your home can earn you big $$$$ this Christmas

This luxury Twin Waters home rents out over Christmas for more than $6000 a week.

Home owners earning thousands renting out their homes this Christmas

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!