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  • Writer's pictureThe Local Times

Pharmacy Needs PBS Approval

An online petition stating that 'affordable and accessible medication is critical to the health and well-being of the citizens of Newport' has attracted over 500 signatures.


Newport residents are seeking the support of Federal Health Minister TheHon. Mark Butler to approve a full-service PBS-approved Community Pharmacy for operation next to the recently opened Newport Medical centre and surrounding Allied Health facilities in Newport Marketplace.


“Recently, I visited the Levande retirement village opposite Newport Marketplace, where 200 retirees reside, and an elderly resident shared with me their difficulties with access to medication in Newport.

An online petition stating that 'affordable and accessible medication is critical to the health and well-being of the citizens of Newport' has attracted over 500 signatures.


Without PBS approval, Watsons Chemist Group must open as a non-PBS pharmacy resulting in pensioners and concessional healthcare cardholders paying the total non-Medicare subsidised price for their prescriptions. General patients would pay over the maximum Medicare co-payment of $30.00.


"Prolia, a common osteoporosis medication, will cost approximately $252, Paxlovid and Lagevrio (COVID-19 treatments) will cost $1,150, and insulin will cost $300-400 for diabetics instead of $6.30 for pensioners or $30 for everyone else. These are high costs that Newport and surrounding residents should not incur, particularly during these times with many people battling extremely high living costs," the petition reveals.


According to the 2021 ABS Census, Newport's population is nearing 6,000 residents. Yet, there isn't a PBS-approved pharmacy to provide critical healthcare infrastructure, forcing citizens of Newport to travel nearly 2km to the nearest PBS-approved pharmacy. Sometimes, this requires walking or catching public transport, which can take about 30 minutes each way.

"Recently, I visited the Levande retirement village opposite Newport Marketplace, where 200 retirees reside, and an elderly resident shared with me their difficulties with access to medication in Newport," shared James Galligan, Pharmacist Manager at Watsons Chemists Newport.


"Unfortunately, over a weekend, with no local delivery services available, they had to pay $28 in return cab fares to travel to the nearest pharmacy to have their prescriptions dispensed. I was shocked to hear this, and it demonstrates that the residents of Newport, particularly those who are elderly or with mobility impairments, do not have reasonable access to affordable PBS medications."


This is impractical, especially for residents of surrounding aged care and retirement villages located next door to Newport Marketplace, making quality public healthcare inaccessible for seniors, retirees, and those with mobility impairments and disabilities.


Watsons Chemists are encouraging community members to sign their petition found at www.change.org/p/approve-a-community-pharmacy-at-newport-marketplace.

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