Shadow Assistant Minister for Regional Health Anne Webster says Labor’s announcement to bring forward the 8th Community Pharmacy Agreement is an acknowledgement their 60-day dispensing policy was going to adversely impact community pharmacies and health outcomes, particularly in regional Australia.
“All along I have advocated for Mallee and other regional community pharmacists who were worried 60 day dispensing would see them out of business and their towns without a pharmacy,” Dr Webster said.
“60 day dispensing made for a good headline for Labor, but in practical terms it could mean people would need to drive long distances to find a pharmacy open to fill their prescriptions – or simply go without medication vital for their health and wellbeing.
“This policy will now be dealt with under a Community Pharmacy Agreement and I stand with my Nationals colleagues in welcoming this move, but the devil will be in the detail.”
Dr Webster said while all Australians want cheaper medicines, Labor’s policy was poorly thought through and rushed and regional people would pay the price.
“Regional pharmacies are small family businesses and risked having to close. More than 600 regional pharmacies were under threat, as well as 20,000 jobs,” Dr Webster said.
“I will be watching the outcomes of these negotiations between pharmacists and the Albanese Labor Government closely, but I hope that Labor has finally listened and will get the detail right.”