Federal election 2016: The drugs aren’t working for our economy as reform lags

 In Australia, NewZealand, Pharmacy
Australians have to fork out less than $10 to buy a pack of 30 painkiller tablets that are banned over-the-counter in most developed nations because they partially convert into morphine after taken.
Futile attempts to regulate the sale of codeine pain killers such as Panadeine or Nurofen Plus despite addiction risks, and the lack of debate on the issue in the run-up to next month’s election, serve to show the strength of the pharmacy lobby. It’s also an example of a wider impasse on structural reforms that’s put a brake on the the nation’s productivity.
Changing the rules on codeine sales would be a small step compared with the broader overhaul of the industry that economists say would boost competition and spur the kind of efficiency gains that the economy needs. Pharmacy-ownership restrictions, along with protection within the taxi, shipping, medical and legal industries, have been cited as priorities for reform by an independent government-chartered group. Sydney Morning Herald – Read more…

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