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Staples handling of PBS a disaster for patients & pharmacists



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P A R L I A M E N T O F A U S T R A L I A

H O U S E O F R E P R E S E N T A T I V E S

P.O. BO X 1206, BOORAGOON. W.A. 6164 SUITE 8, GATEWAY MELVILLE CITY CENTRE BOORAGOON T E L (09) 364 5554, (062) 77 4169

FAX: (09) 364 9971

PETER SHACK, M.P.

FEDERAL MEMBER FOR TANGNEY SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH

MEDIA RELEASE

25th October 1989. 65/89

STAPLES HANDLING OF PBS A DISASTER FOR PATIENTS & PHARMACISTS

The handling of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) by the Minister for Housing and Aged Care is an absolute disaster, according to Peter Shack, Shadow Minister for Health.

Addressing the Women in Pharmacy Action Group Rally outside Parliament House today Mr Shack said, "The Minister is totally lacking in credibility and appears to neither know nor care that his policies will drive pharmacies out of business and pharmacists and pharmacy assistants out of work.

"It is truly ironic that the Minister should accuse pharmacists of telling lies when he has shown himself to be guilty of careless handling of the truth.

"For example, in his leaflet on the PBS, entitled The truth and nothing but the truth about the cost and supply of prescriptions medicines, the following statement appears:

'This year the PBS will cost Australia more than $1500 million and more than $600 million will go straight to chemists.

'This means that the average chemist will receive over $100,000 from taxpayers for handling prescriptions.'

"What the Minister cheerfully ignores in massaging the facts to imply that this $100,000 is all profit, is that he's dealing with a gross income figure.

"It seems he's an advocate of the school of thought that says you should never let the facts stand in the way of a good story.

"But the real story here is that all the pharmacist gets from this so-called 'bonanza' is what's left over after paying the wholesaler, the handling and storage costs, the rent, the phone and electricity bills, the staff wages and superannuation

contributions, the interest on the bank overdraft which buys the stock, plus a host of Federal and State Government taxes and charges, and other expenses incurred in operating a business.

"To say that the Minister has been less than truthful on pharmacy remuneration is an understatement.

"It is high time that he realised that the direct consequences of saddling pharmacists with a 60 per cent loss in net profit will be a huge reduction in services to those most in need, the aged and the sick whose lives often depend on prescription medicines.

"The Government is being neither fair nor reasonable and stands condemned by the Liberal and National Parties and the community for failing to fulfil its duty of care."

Contact: Peter Shack (062) 77 4169