Final report agrees with draft recommendations.
The Competition Policy Review final report has recommended the removal of the pharmacy ownership and location rules in the “long-term interests of consumers”.
Released today, the final report echoed the draft report’s recommendations (PD 22 Sep 14) despite submissions from several pharmacy organisations opposing them (PD 19 Nov, 08 Dec 14).
The current rules were not needed to ensure quality of advice and care, and limited consumers’ ability to choose where to get pharmacy products and services, the report said.
“They should be replaced with regulations to ensure access to medicines and quality of advice regarding their use that do not unduly restrict competition.”
As in its draft report, the Review Panel said negotiations for the Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement could provide an opportunity to start targeted relaxation of the location rules, with eventual removal as the goal.
Alternative mechanisms to ensure access to medicines for all Australians that should be considered included tendering for the provision of pharmacy services in underserved locations, and/or funding through a community service obligation.
“The rules targeted at pharmacies in urban areas should continue to be eased at the same time that alternative mechanisms are established to address specific issues concerning access to pharmacies in rural locations.”
For more, see tomorrow’s Pharmacy Daily.