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Chemist Warehouse to lose discounted price of prescription medicine after Albanese government caves to pharmacy pressure

The price of prescription medicine is set to rise after the influential Pharmacy Guild won a bid to strip Chemist Warehouse of its ability to offer customers $1 off medicines.

The federal government made the decision after negotiations with the pharmacy Guild came to a head.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Government caves to pharmacy pressure to end a $1 script discount.

Often offering the lowest prices, Chemist Warehouse had previously used a policy allowing them to knock $1 off government-set prices on the cost of scripts to create competition — a policy that other pharmacies did not use.

The discount policy was first introduced by former health minister Sussan Ley in 2016, but now, the Albanese government has bowed to pressure from the Pharmacy Guild to end the days of discount scripts.

After the intense scrutiny of this year’s budget due to the rise in the cost of living, the Pharmacy Guild welcomed the decision — saying it will help Australians “struggling with the cost of healthcare”.

The lobby group fought for the change to the discounted scripts, saying it would keep costs down in the long run and “restore universality” to prescription prices but result in the binning of the $1 discount.

“The freezing of maximum medicine co-payments via the staged application of the discretionary $1 discount will help Australians struggling with the cost of healthcare and will restore universality to the PBS,” The Pharmacy Guild’s President Trent Twomey said.

The Pharmacy Guild said the measure will provide “much-needed relief” for those struggling to afford their essential medicines amid inflationary pressures and a cost-of-living crisis.

“Freezing indexation of co-payment means patients won’t have to foot more of the overall cost for their medicines come 1 January each year,” Twomey said.

“On behalf of our members, the Guild has a strong track record of fighting to bring down the cost of medicines — I’m pleased the Guild secured anti-inflationary relief for patients by phasing in the universal application of the $1 discount as part of our 8CPA negotiations.”

Chemist Warehouse has been contacted for comment.

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