Meg Pigram

Meg Pigram – Pharmacy News Journalist

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Steve Campbell Grant – Owner, St James Pharmacy

A recent article by Ms. Meg Pigram in the online magazine Pharmacy News suggested I had “criticised the $1 PBS co-payment”  Ms. Pigram went on to elaborate on my statements, claiming I had said the “co-payment will give power to
the discounters in winning consumer hearts and minds.”

My criticism is largely a result of the confusion and frustration surrounding the impact of measures implemented at the behest of the 6th Community Pharmacy Agreement between the Pharmacy Guild and the Australian Government, or at least my impression of it.

Consecutive Pharmacy Agreements – 4th and 5th – have introduced both increases and reductions in payments and prices, drug costs and remunerations claimed.
Maintaining a pharmacy operation is difficult at the best of times – so predicting the effect of the change resulting from the 6CPA is nigh on impossible.

My criticism amounts to a salvo, fired across the deck of the HMAS Pharmacy Guild – rather than into it – merely as a tactic to gauge the Guilds reaction.

With George Tambassis at the helm, the Guild replied with a timely and appropriately assertive response.

Within an hour of posting my “criticism” on the interwebz, Mr Tambassis had called and furnished me with such a well worded clarification of the process of the AHI I actually rejoined the Pharmacy Guild. (true!)

I firmly believe the Pharmacy Guild has the interests of Pharmacy owners at it’s forefront, and continues to work tirelessly to maintain the highly valued role of the local community pharmacy within the well regarded consideration of the public at large.

I embrace the Sixth Pharmacy Agreement in the spirit of that belief.

I do not believe the discounters Ms. Pigram refers to in her comments will gain any additional benefit from the 6CPA. The Pharmacy Guild works in the interests of all of it’s members, and not just the discounters

One thing the business behaviour of the discounters has reinforced though is the need for pharmacy owners to introduce a new, more streamlined operating model.

Increasingly, a community pharmacy will not succeed in maintaining any sort of longevity if it continues with an uncompetitive, unreasonable pricing policy.

Put simply – the time to take a long hard look at the cost of rent is now!