The great Pharmacy rort must be stopped

The greatest rort in Australian business is the multi million one given to the pharmacy owners- the Pharmacy ‘Location Rules’:

You are not allowed to set up a new pharmacy within 1.5km of an existing one. (There are exceptions for Pharmacies moving from one location to another; but of course such relocation doesn’t increase the overall number of pharmacies).

This rort, which was granted to existing Pharmacy owners who had licenses in 1990, is the greatest protected racket in the Australian economy. Imagine being in small business and being able to block anyone setting up a new business within 1.5km of where you already are!

Note this rule restricts Pharmacists from opening within 1.5km of an existing Pharmacy. This is important, because one of the biggest lies of the defenders of the 1.5km location rort is that they are trying to stop non-pharmacists owning/opening pharmacies. In fact, nobody is arguing for non pharmacists to own/operate pharmacies, they are saying that the location rules prevent employee pharmacists from opening their own businesses (unless they have the ten million bucks required to spend on an existing phamarcy license, of course)

This is why Pharmacy licenses cost many millions of dollars, and are only owned by greedy older pharmacists (most don’t even bother working anymore in the pharmacy). Why should they? They’ve got a guaranteed multi-million protected income stream, for life, and can object to any new pharmacy within 1.5km.

It also ensures that the employee pharmacists, the younger ones, are stuck working for $20 per hour (or less) for their laughing, greedy pharmacy owners. These young pharmacists will never be able to own their own pharmacy- as the licenses are worth many millions of dollars.

So we have an industry with a protected set of multi-multi-multi millionaire pharmacists at the top (who probably haven’t even worked as a pharmacy in thirty plus years), laughing at all the millions they are making, the customers they are ripping off, and above all the poor vulnerable young staff who will never be able to work for themselves, but only as slaves for their awful, greedy owners.

Naturally the Pharmacy Guild has lobbied all sides of politics carefully to keep this rort going. It is a complete scam. The politicians have all received (cough) ‘donations’ to support it; and, naturally, the press gallery never writes about it (as it involves a policy in the real world). The ‘free market’ thinktanks like the IPA etc of course haven’t written a word about it (they only believe in free markets for labor, unfortunately- business monopolies are fine).

If Pharmacy was liberalized the same way other businesses were (ie not giving greedy license owners the right to block competitors coming within 1.5km) its estimated every family in Australia would be better off by $10,000 annually. So that’s the equivalent of someone coming in, and stealing $10,000 annually from your netbanking by the pharmacy owners (and the coward corrupt politicians who let them do whatever they want).

This monopoly MUST be stopped NOW. Right now. No more 1.5km rule. Any qualified pharmacist who wants to open a pharmacy should be able to, the same way any qualified doctor can open a medical clinic. No talk of ‘compensation (oh please!) to the existing lazy license holders. In fact the existing license holders should be forced to pay compensation to the rest of us for the loss they have caused us due to this outrageous anti competitive rort.

Remove the 1.5km location rort now! It is a simple, criminal, act of theft against every Australian.