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Labour Backs Pharmacists Into A Corner

Labour Backs Pharmacists Into A Corner

ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy today accused the Labour Government of backing pharmacists into a corner, thereby forcing them to pass any added costs onto the public.

"Health Minister Annette King and her Government have said it is not their job to provide a profit for pharmacists, but neither should the Government expect pharmacists to work for nothing - or worse, suffer a loss because of a change in Government policy," Mrs Roy said.

"While Pharmac's move to three-month dispensing - sanctioned by Ms King - is a positive one for many customers, it has forced pharmacists to re-evaluate the services they provide. For many pharmacies, this includes home delivery of medication to elderly patients - a service the pharmacies offer free of charge, but which costs them in terms of paying for a delivery person and petrol.

"But, like any other small business, pharmacies must make ends meet. If their margins are such that their business is no longer viable, then they must either make themselves so, or face closure. Businesses must constantly re-evaluate the services they provide for viability, and pharmacies are no different. That re-evaluation becomes more urgent when they have the rules changed on them.

"If, in order to survive, pharmacies must introduce small charges for services they previously provided free, then this is something the public will have to accept. Pharmacists are not in a position to work for nothing. With Labour having backed them into a corner, they must now step back and consider what they can offer for the money coming in," Mrs Roy said.

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