Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

Pharmacy fights budget cuts

The 2015 federal budget cut more than $500,000 in funding to Australia’s only integrated not-for-profit pharmacy. The cohealth pharmacy located at the North Yarra Community Health Centre in Collingwood (Melbourne) serves 4700 people and delivers 24,660 prescriptions in a year.

By Mike Naismith, Socialist Party

Eligible patients can opt to pay an annual subscription fee rather than pay per prescription. In this way disadvantaged people can stagger prescription payments over the year.

The pharmacy provides a cost effective and efficient service. It delivers prescriptions at 30% less cost than the national average under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). This model delivers a top quality service that should be replicated across the nation not slashed.

The cohealth board is committed to saving the pharmacy and called a community protest meeting to launch a social media campaign. Subsequently the government has committed to ensure the continuation of the service but the exact model is to be worked out.

This small example of a community taking action to maintain a quality service should be applauded but pressure needs to be maintained to preserve the not-for-profit model. We must fight to maintain all of our public services and oppose moves to undermine the not-for-profit sector.