GRIFFITH’S established chemists have hit back at claims of price gouging as out-of-town discount pharmacists continue to muscle into the local market.
The entry of Blooms, Chemist Warehouse and, more recently, Cincotta Discount Chemist into Griffith has dramatically altered the commercial landscape for pharmacists, with the new players consistently undercutting the competition on price.
Former Griffith kebab shop owner Safex Khan said he was stunned when he went to fill his weekly script for heart medication at a new chemist this week and found a huge price disparity.
“I’ve been going to my chemist for the last 15 years and I need five different tablets and it costs me about $100 every three weeks,” he said.
“The last time I needed my script filled I couldn’t get a car park near my usual pharmacy so I went up the road.
“At my chemist I was paying $26.75 but at the new chemist the same tablets cost me $17.95. That is a difference of $8.80. If I hadn’t have gone to the other pharmacy I’d never have known.”
Pharmacists have strongly denied the claims of profiteering, saying the buying power of the larger chemists gave them an edge.
“They do have bigger buying power and at times sell for under cost,” John Dodd from John Dodd Pharmacy said.
“Our prices are set by the government but if need be, I’m always happy to match prices of our competitors.
“People also need to remember we put money back into community and sporting groups.”
Robin Salvestro from Robin’s Priceline Pharmacy and Soul Pattinson Drive-Thru Pharmacy said the small amount his chemists charge in additional costs was more than offset by the service they provided.
“We charge anywhere between 50c and $2 more per script than some of the others and I don’t hide that fact,” Mr Salvestro said.
“But my customers come to me regularly and say as long as my prices are within reason, they will stick with me.
“That’s because of the service and advice we offer.
“We’ve been here for years and their (the discount chemists) intention is to send the rest of us broke.”