Pharmacy customers are being given a flyer with their purchase which outlines their case against the Woolworths push to have pharmacies operating within their supermarkets.
Of course any battle like this is about perception and perception is built by spin. While pharmacists have been slow to mount their case, this flyer serves the purpose well.
The flyer notes that Woolworths is a big seller of cigarettes and then asks how committed the company is to public health. It then notes that treating smoke related illnesses costs 20 billion dollars a year.
In another win for pharmacists the flyer says that Woolworths claims that it will sell medicines cheaper. The Pharmacists claim that 60% of all pharmacy sold medicines are “fixed in place ” by government. [While I note this is a win to the pharmacists their claim is spin since they have a dispensing fee which they can adjust. They would have been better served being clearer in their claim.]
For me this is a matter of how big the government wants big business to get. The answer to that ought to be not much bigger – particularly in the case of Woolworths and Coles/Myer. Their dominance in retail is a barrier to new entrants and a barrier to new suppliers.
Keeping the current pharmacy arrangements in place keeps them in check.