LORRAINE Thomas suffers severe arthritis that leaves her spending $50 a fortnight on medication.
She has to take 12 magnesium supplements a day – a box of 100 is $20 a pop.
Ms Thomas is one of many Wagga locals calling for a Chemist Warehouse to come to town in a bid to ensure a greater variety of discounted medications are available.
Health advocate Craig Hesketh has previously purchased medication for family members at the discount chemist chain when in Albury.
He said the savings were “significant”.
“Sometimes they can be as great as 30 to 40 per cent.”
Mr Hesketh said he feared that by not having shops such as Chemist Warehouse locals would be forced to purchase online or travel – acts he said would be counterproductive to the Wagga economy.
In 2011 Chemist Warehouse announced plans to come to the city, these were ultimately derailed.
Mr Hesketh said location regulation rules – prohibiting new pharmacies from opening up within a certain distance from existing chemists – should be revised to allow more to open up.
“I do not support the big supermarkets getting their claws into this market but there is no doubt that we should have a Chemist Warehouse,” Mr Hesketh said.
“Total deregulation will destroy the industry but regular competition from current big players in the market should be allowed.”
The recent Harper Review recommended changes to pharmacy location rules to encourage competition.
Last month Member for Riverina Michael McCormack said Wagga residents should support local pharmacies that provided expert customer service.
Mr Hesketh slammed these comments.
“There’ no doubt that they (Chemist Warehouse) do offer good service. Chemist Warehouse didn’t get to be such a big national brand by offering second rate service.”
Minister for Health Sussan Ley said the government was investigating options.
“The Harper Review’s findings on location rules are still being assessed and running alongside the government’s current negotiations towards a 6th Community Pharmacy Agreement,” Ms Ley said.
“We’re seeking input from a broad range of stakeholders, with a focus on ensuring patients can continue to access medicines when and where they need them, at a price both they and the taxpayer can afford.”
In April a Chemist Warehouse spokeswoman said there were no plans to open a Wagga store.
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