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National Competition Policy Review of Pharmacy

Productivity Commission submission

This submission was released on 4 November 1999. This published version replaces an earlier version of the submission presented to the review in August and previously available from this website. In this published version, the treatment of price advertising in the pharmacy sector has been modified in the light of input from the Review and other interested parties.

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  • Media release
  • Contents

The Productivity Commission today released its submission to the National Competition Policy Review of pharmacy regulation.

The Review is looking at legislation governing:

  • pharmacy ownership
  • licensing of pharmacists
  • the location of pharmacies approved to dispense medicines subsidised under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

It is being undertaken in accordance with the requirements of the Competition Principles Agreement.

In discussing the regulatory arrangements for the pharmacy sector, the Commission has not made judgements as to whether particular regulations are in the public interest. Rather, the Commission has sought to:

  • discuss the benefits and costs of the regulations for consumers, pharmacists and the wider community
  • canvass alternative ways of meeting the underlying objectives.

In this latter regard, the Commission has explored two broad options which would encourage greater competition in the provision of pharmacy services, while still addressing the health and safety, quality and access objectives of the current regulatory regime. These options would offer the prospect of lower prices for many medicines, as well as giving consumers a wider range of outlets from which to purchase those medicines.

In putting these options forward, the Commission is providing the Review with some indicative benchmarks against which to assess the current arrangements. The submission also looks at ways of addressing social and adjustment issues in moving to a more competitive pharmacy market.

The Commission presented an earlier version of this submission to the Review in August. The treatment of price advertising in the pharmacy sector has been modified in the light of input from the Review and other interested parties.

Background information

Leonora Nicol (Media, Publications and Web) 02 6240 3239 / 0417 665 443

Preliminaries
Cover, Copyright, Foreword, Contents, Overview

1 Introduction

2 The Community Pharmacy Sector
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Functions
2.3 Structural characteristics
2.4 Mail-order pharmacy

3 Current Regulatory Arrangements
3.1 State and Territory regulations
3.2 Commonwealth regulations

4 Benefits and Costs of the Regulations
4.1 Licensing requirements
4.2 Ownership restrictions
4.3 Scheduling restrictions
4.4 Advertising of drug prices
4.5 Commonwealth regulations associated with the PBS
4.6 Concluding remarks

5 Some Alternative Approaches
5.1 Modest reforms
5.2 A pro-competitive reform package
5.3 Adjustment and social issues

References

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