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Pharmacy face off: Chemist warehouse’s push to provide free prescription medicine

Australia’s largest pharmacy retailer, Chemist Warehouse, is offering to provide free prescription medicine, if restrictive rules are changed.

The scheme has already been introduced in New Zealand.

But, it all lies on whether the Pharmacy Guild of Australia agrees to make changes to its community pharmacy agreement.

Mario Tascone, Chief Operating Officer at Chemist Warehouse, says they want to make prescription medicine more affordable for all Australians.

“There are number of restricted rules, we want them loosened so that we can operate freely and give more value to Australia with affordable medicine,” said

“Relocation laws stifle competition.

“If we could free up the pharmacy system, free prescriptions are definitely an option we’d like to put on the table.”

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia has rejected the idea of offering free prescriptions for common medicines.

Anthony Tassone, President of the Victorian Branch of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, says the pharmacy group is acting like a super power.

“Here we have a pharmacy group behaving like a big corporate, they don’t like the rules as they are because they don’t suit their agenda or growth pattern,” said Mr Tassone.

“Why should we be unraveling a system that has produced equitable access to Australians.”

Click PLAY to hear both sides of the argument