ESTABLISHING a Pharmacy Council in Queensland to enforce ownership restrictions and regulate pharmacy premises would cost up to $11 million over a 10 year period and would not provide any net benefit to the Qld community.
That is the key conclusion of a report by the Queensland Productivity Commission which was tabled late last month as part of the current Parliamentary Inquiry into pharmacy ownership in the state.
The economic evaluation looked at a cost-benefit analysis of establishing a pharmacy council in Queensland.
Costs were based on the direct institutional requirements of setting up such a body, but the report also noted there may be other costs as a result in terms of consumer choice and prices.
A range of possible benefits were considered, including service quality and availability, improved policy advice and education and training by pharmacies.
“Based on the available data, the Commission found no evidence that other Australian states with pharmacy councils have better outcomes..than Queensland,” the report summarised.
It also found there was no evidence that existing premises regulation in Qld was resulting in unsafe conditions within pharmacies, nor that more intensive enforcement of the ownership restrictions would provide greater consumer benefits.
“The Commission has found that any of the possible impacts it has identified from forming a pharmacy council are unlikely to produce a material benefit,” it concluded.
A range of regulations are already operating to achieve the objectives sought from the ownership rules, the report noted, saying administering things more intensively – such as by creating a pharmacy council – “is unlikely to produce material benefits…rather it simply adds to the general cost of regulation.
“Overall the results suggest the Queensland community will be unambiguously worse off,” the report summary states.