Today, the Government has announced a significant change to access to medicines.
Although the Coalition supports affordable access to medicines, this change could force the cost of other items to increase so that Australians end up paying more at the Pharmacy.
Until we see the Budget papers, we cannot be confident that this is a legitimate cost-of-living measure or merely the Government forcing community pharmacists to pay for relief that they couldn't manage to deliver themselves.
All Coalition MPs and Senators have been listening to the genuine concerns of community pharmacists.
There are many questions that need answering from the Government, including:
• How will they ensure that regional and rural communities are able to access the required supply of medications?
• How will they ensure that small pharmacists are able to access the required supply of medications?
• How will they ensure that medicines are not stockpiled?
• Can they guarantee that community pharmacies will not be negatively impacted or forced to close because of this announcement?
The Albanese Government must provide a strong guarantee that this change will not harm the viability of community pharmacies and is therefore not another broken promise.
Community pharmacists play an integral role in the provision of primary healthcare in Australia, particularly in rural and regional Australia, and we do not want to see any community pharmacies closed as a result of this government's actions.
The Coalition acknowledges the current cost-of-living pressures faced by Australian patients with chronic diseases and we want to make sure that this is a policy that does not have perverse impacts.
Budget relief must not come at the expense of threatening the viability of our trusted community pharmacists.