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Protection For Pharmacies Has To End

Protection For Pharmacies Has To End

Progressive Enterprises wants an end to laws protecting pharmacies from competition.

The supermarket giant is promising greater access and improved services for the public if it is allowed to operate chemists inside its stores.

Current law requires a pharmacist to own the majority shareholding in a pharmacy and it prevents a pharmacist from owning more than one pharmacy.

Legislation before parliament and currently being considered by the Health Select Committee retains the monopoly but would allow pharmacists to own up to five chemist shops.

But Progressive Enterprises Chief Executive, Ted van Arkel, says it is “time to end this last vestige of an antiquated and anti-competitive regime that New Zealanders learnt a long time ago is not in consumers’ best interests.”

The company is calling on the government to consider partial deregulation by opening up the ownership of chemist shops to non-pharmacists while at the same time adopting a licensing system.

Mr van Arkel says supermarkets have security in place to ensure the public’s safety while at the same time their extended trading hours will benefit all.

“As well as improved access to medicines, pharmacists in supermarkets will have greater opportunities to assist the public with their expertise and promote primary health care,” he says.

On top of this, Mr van Arkel says the sheer bulk-buying power, reduced overheads and logistical advantages of Progressive Enterprises will deliver cheaper across-the-counter pharmaceuticals for the buying public.

Mr van Arkel appeared before the Health Select Committee in Auckland late this afternoon.

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