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Pharmac undermines pharmacies

Pharmac undermines pharmacies

Green MP Sue Kedgley is incredulous Pharmac has ignored the views of most of the 2500-plus submissions on bulk-dispensing, and returned to three-monthly dispensing of pharmaceuticals.

Pharmac announced today that 71 per cent of prescriptions will be dispensed three-monthly, rather than one-monthly.

"The move is short-sighted and deeply flawed," Ms Kedgley said.

However, Ms Kedgley was delighted Pharmac had conceded to the Green Party demand that prescribers should be able to determine the frequency of dispensing, without the patient losing their pharmaceutical subsidy. "This is good news for consumers.

"But the overall move back to three-monthly dispensing for most prescriptions will result in wastage of medicines, reduced compliance and therefore, significant increases in inappropriate and incorrect prescribing. Inevitably, there will be overdoses, misuse of medicines and increased hospitalisations."

The change would also strip about $60 million from pharmacists nationwide, many of which were now in danger of closing. "This will inevitably impact on the viability of pharmacists and will cause closures, particularly of community-based, rural and suburban pharmacies," Ms Kedgley said.

"What exactly is the Government's agenda here? Is its ultimate aim to decimate community-based, rural and suburban pharmacies in New Zealand?

"Will a legacy of this Government be that the local community pharmacy becomes a thing of the past, as local post offices and banks became under a previous Labour Government?

"Pharmacists around the country are angry and confused about what they perceive as sustained attacks on their sector and indeed their professionalism by this Government," Ms Kedgley said. "These attacks have included the Government's attempt to deregulate pharmacies so that multinational chains and supermarkets could take over (which the Greens successfully fought), and the 18-month delay in signing pharmacy contracts that caused huge distress and anxiety in the sector."


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