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Abandon Pharmacy Law Change - Greens

15 April 2002

The Green Party is calling on the Government to abandon its plans to deregulate pharmacies, and is throwing its weight behind a campaign launched by pharmacists against the proposal.

Supermarket-style chain pharmacies will push small community-based chemists out of business if the Government goes with its plans, Green Party Health spokesperson Sue Kedgley said today.

"Australia looked at the same issue and decided against deregulation because there are significant advantages in retaining community-owned and based pharmacists. New Zealand should do the same."

Ms Kedgley said the high level of health care provided by pharmacists would be seriously undermined if the deregulation, as proposed in the Health Practitioners' Competency Assurance Bill, goes ahead.

"Big international chains like Boots, who put profits first, would be allowed to open up chemist shops here if the law is changed. Most of their profits would be sent offshore, instead of going into local communities.

"Local pharmacists, who go out of their way to look after their clients, would find it very hard to compete. It's very likely that many would be forced to close as has happened overseas.

"People who rely on their chemists for one-on-one advice would have to look elsewhere for support. Extra services like dropping off medicines to people who can't leave the house, would be a thing of the past."

The proposal is ludicrous and very few, if any, New Zealanders will support it, Ms Kedgley said.

Ends

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