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Labour Must Vote For Consumers On Pharmacies

Labour Must Back Health Minister And Vote For Consumers on Pharmacy Ownership

Thursday 28 Aug 2003 Rodney Hide Press Releases -- Health

Labour MPs are being urged to ignore the special pleading of chemists and to put the health of their constituents first when they vote in Parliament on ACT MP Rodney Hide's SOP to end the chemists' monopoly on owning chemist shops.

Part 9 of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Bill (currently in its committee stages in parliament) retains the ownership monopoly for chemists, requiring a chemist to own a 51% share of a chemist shop.

"Parliament last night showed the confusion politicians have experienced for the last 20 years over the ownership of chemist shops, Mr Hide said.

"Health Minister Annette King last night supported my SOP to remove chemists' monopoly on the ownership of their retail businesses.

"Like me, the Minister knows that it is in the best interests of consumers to remove this last monopoly so that people needing medicines can get improved access to a chemist and buy across-the-counter medicines at cheaper prices. She gave my amendments her full support, but sadly she hasn't got the full support of her caucus.

"The monopoly is no doubt good for chemists who have lobbied MPs hard, but it is doing no favours for their customers who have to pay higher prices and receive poorer service as a result. It's the elderly, the poor, and the sick that are paying the price of the chemists' monopoly privilege.

"We should put an end to the privilege enjoyed by the chemists at everyone else's expense. The Bill has been shifted to number three on today's Order Paper. When we do get to the Bill, I will be calling on Labour MPs to back their Health Minister and vote for my SOP," said Mr Hide.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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