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David Littleproud with Maranoa pharmacists Lucy Walker and Chris Owen

Regional pharmacies under threat from Labor’s proposed PBS change

At some stage in our lives, all of us will need the expertise of our local pharmacist to help support us through an illness or an injury.

They are there for us during the height of flu season, when we need advice about a bad back, and even when we just need someone to talk to.

For many of us, our local pharmacist may be the only medical professional in our local communities due to a shortage of general practitioners in the bush.

So, the Labor Government’s proposed changes to the PBS’ dispensing model are deeply concerning as they pose risks of unintended consequences, such as rural medicine supply shortages and country pharmacists being forced to shut down or reduce hours.

Recently, I’ve heard from many pharmacists from across the Maranoa electorate, all of whom have expressed their concerns about Labor’s proposed changes.

  • Many of them outlined the potentially devastating financial impacts these changes would have to their businesses.

Annual losses worth hundreds of thousands of dollars could be the reality of some bush pharmacies should these changes come into effect and the prospect of closing their doors could be a real possibility.

  • During a recent sitting of Parliament, a group of more than 60 members of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia visited Question Time to let the government know their objections to its proposed changes.
  • Their united stand sent a powerful message to the Labor Government that these changes are not supported by those on the front line.
  • We saw during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic that when there is a product shortage it’s regional areas that are the first to feel the impacts.
  • Many industries are still dealing with shortages as the world recovers from the pandemic and these proposed changes only threaten to plunge us right back into those shortages experienced in recent years.
  • It is important that we continue to stand by our local pharmacies and do all we can to ensure that they are not adversely impacted by this proposed new model.
  • We all want cheaper medicines, but Labor is forcing community pharmacies to foot the bill.
  • Rest assured, I and The Nationals will continue to fight to ensure the long-term viability of regional pharmacies and do all we can to ensure the push for cheaper medicines doesn’t come at the expense of our locally run and operated pharmacies.

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