Image of Richard Di NataleGreens' spokesperson for health, Senator Richard Di Natale, has today called for a Senate inquiry into the way medicines are dispensed in Australia.

"Pharmacies play an extremely important role in Australia's healthcare system," said Senator Di Natale.

"The Greens are calling for a Senate inquiry into the Community Pharmacy Agreement to make sure that the interests of pharmacists, consumers and taxpayers are being met."

"The interests of pharmacists themselves are not sufficiently represented in the agreement with groups such as the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia and APESMA locked out of negotiations."

"The interests of consumers should be front and centre in the negotiation process, but unfortunately consumer health groups aren't given a seat at the table."

Currently the Community Pharmacy Agreement, worth over $15 billion over 5 years, is negotiated exclusively between government and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, which represents over 5000 pharmacy owners.

"Financial deals between the Pharmacy Guild and companies such as Blackmores and Pfizer have the potential to compromise healthcare advice and allow commercial interests to override the integrity of the healthcare system."

"We need an Inquiry into the agreement and how the interests of taxpayers, consumers and pharmacists themselves should be better represented in the negotiation process."

Media contact: Andrew Blyberg 0457 901 600