Govt and doctors blast pharmacists for running down stock

A spokesman for Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said more than 60 medicines will have prices reduced but the government was “disappointed by the action of some pharmacists and wholesalers, and any unnecessary alarm their customers might experience”.

“Pharmacies have an obligation to maintain adequate stocks of PBS listed medicines, and by law pharmacies must keep in stock enough medicine to meet reasonable demand,” the spokesperson said.

“The new arrangement is not a surprise. Pharmacists have had more than three months to factor in the price reductions into their business models.”

But a Pharmacy Guild of Australia spokesperson said pharmacists were simply trying to avoid losing money when the value of their current stock dropped overnight.

A guild communiqué to pharmacists warned the price reduction would create market incentives by wholesalers to delay purchasing stock until after the price cut,