News Corp’s tabloid attack on medicine pricing in community pharmacies has scored a shameful trifecta – unethical, unfair and inaccurate.
The prices attributed to community pharmacies in News Corp newspapers have been shown to include blatant errors, exposing the journalists’ lack of understanding of pharmacy businesses and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
In one case, Blooms the Chemist in Orange NSW was listed as charging $28.99 for two forms of the antibiotic amoxicillin 500mg. In fact, the pharmacy’s listed price for the two forms is $9.99 and $11.95 respectively.
In another error, the News Corp ‘exclusive investigation’ has mixed up the quantities of the medicine Cefalexin 250mg, comparing the price of 40 capsules at Blooms the Chemist Orange, with 20 capsules from other pharmacies.
A spokesperson for the Pharmacy Guild said: “What a schemozzle. If they are so wrong on three prices from one pharmacy, how reliable is the rest of the information in this muddle-headed phoney investigation?”
The owner of Blooms the Chemist in Orange, Melanie Moses, said she was telephoned by a person seeking information about her medicine prices a couple of weeks ago. The caller did not identify himself as being a journalist, nor from News Corp.
Ms Moses is adamant that the caller asked for some medicine prices listed in the News Corp stories, but did not ask for the pharmacy’s price for any amoxicillin product. Yet an incorrect price was published. The Pharmacy Guild has sighted sales evidence of the regular price of the medicines at the pharmacy. The pharmacy is seeking a correction and an apology.
“What sort of unethical, tawdry show are they running at News Corp?” the spokesperson said.
Questions also need to be asked about the conflict of interest and dubious ethics of News Corp spruiking the merit of one of its larger advertisers in the pharmacy sector.
“Aren’t advertorials meant to be identified as such?” the spokesperson said.
“Across Australia, community pharmacies have gone above and beyond to serve patients during the COVID pandemic because they are connected to their communities and committed to the health needs of their patients. They shouldn’t be subjected to this kind of inaccurate and unfair attack based on shoddy research,” the spokesperson said.