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Dunne: Commonsense needed in Pharmac row

Media statement

For immediate release

Friday, 6 June 2003

Dunne: Commonsense needed in Pharmac row

United Future leader, Peter Dunne, today called for commonsense to prevail in the row between pharmacists and Pharmac over the dispensing of GP's prescriptions.

"Pharmac is charged with buying pharmaceuticals on behalf of the Government at least possible cost to the taxpayer and in pursuit of that objective has decreed that chemist shops will soon have to dispense medicines on a three-monthly, rather than a one-monthly, basis," he said.

"In reply, the pharmacists have objected that this change will mean a significant loss of profits with the result that many suburban chemist shops will have to close.

"They also point out that the change could mean many unneeded pills will be thrown, at great cost, into the rubbish tin and there's a good chance that unused pills will be eaten by small children who think they're lollies.

"There are good arguments, it seems to me, on both sides yet all we are seeing is a public row with little chance of anyone actually listening.

"I hesitate to flog the concept of commonsense, but it does seem to me there's a much greater chance of a sensible resolution to this issue being achieved if Pharmac, the country's District Health Boards and the pharmacists all get together around the table and debate all the issues so that a satisfactory solution is found for the benefit of all New Zealanders," said Mr Dunne.


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