The Safe Way?

When new drugs are approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, they are only allowed to be sold in chemists. But while the chemists close early, my local Safeway is open until midnight. And it’s decided that if it can’t stock approved drugs, it’ll stock herbal remedies instead. There’s something rather disconcerting about facing a wall of cold and flu “cures”, suspecting that the only thing all of them have in common is that they failed a randomised trial.

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8 Responses to The Safe Way?

  1. Bruce Bradbury says:

    I was very pissed off recently when I purchased a container of ‘melatonin’ tables – hoping to get some assistance with jet lag. Only when reading the fine print later did I discover that these tablets were ‘6X homeopathic’ – which I pretty sure means diluted 10:1, 6 times. That is, they contained next to no melatonin.

    Now, some might argue that both melatonin and homeopathic melatonin have the same effect as placebo. But I don’t think this can excuse this sort of misleading advertising.

  2. Matt Cowgill says:

    I agree with your point, but do you not have any 24-hour chemists? There is one around the corner from me, and Perth is generally pretty backward when it comes to trading hours.

  3. Matt Canavan says:

    Pharmacy restrictions are an absolute farce. Why would we want to restrict the availability of medicine? Bruce you may have a 24 hour chemist but there’s none close to where I, and many Australians, live. (There is a late night Woolies though).

    Some of the restrictions make you laugh. You can’t buy a 100 pack of panadol in a supermarket but you can buy as many 24s as you want!

  4. Matt Cowgill says:

    See that’s what puzzles me… Coles and Woolies close at 6pm sharp in WA (except for Thursdays), whereas Chemists seem to be a lot less restricted. In addition to the 24-hour chemist, there are two others that are open ’til midnight within walking distance of my house. Which brings me to another point…

    What are the exemptions for the “1.5km rule” on pharmacies? There are four pharmacies within 1.5km of my house, with a few more just beyond. I’ve always wondered how this is permitted under the guidelines.

  5. Matt Canavan says:

    Matt, there are a few ways this could occur:

    1. The Australian Government regulates pharmacies through the PBS. If a pharmacy does not receive PBS funding it is not constrained by the location restrictions. (This is probably unlikely.)

    2. The location restrictions were not introduced until 1995, so if these pharmacies were already there they could have remained there.

    3. Pharmacies can relocate 1km without regard to the location of other pharmacies, providing they have been in their current premises for at least 2 years. This is known as ‘leap frogging’.

    For more detail see

  6. Ben says:


    Wow, judging from the last post it looks like your blog got spammed. I didn’t realise the clever buggers could/would do that. Mongrels.

  7. shuanna says:

    Pharmacists oppose the sale of certain medications in supermarkets because of their exaggeration of the “abuse potential of them”, yet 20 tablets of Panadol are capable of killing an adult and can be bought in generic form at a supermarket for less than a dollar. yet we don’t have high deaths from paracetamol abuse.

    The regulations on sale of pseudoephedrine-based OTC cold and flu medicines are a big wank too, put them back in their old place.

    All OTC analegsics containing a combination of Codeine/Paracetamol, Codeine/Ibuprofen should be placed on our supermarket shelfs. This means lower prices as the local chemist does not hold a monopoly over the product. Realistically, as someone who has taken anumber of illicit substances, the abuse potential of codeine is “low” and if you want to “get out of it” there are plenty of other ways. Because these OTC analgesia are combined with other non-opioid drugs lethal or dangerous in overdose, that further reduces the imagined “abuse potential” of combined OTC analgesics.

    Just who’s being fooled here.

  8. Laura says:

    as an asthmatic i would really love a 24 hour chemist but instead if i have run out and it happens to be late at night i have to waste the time of poor hospital staff for somehting that could easily been fixed if a chemist was open. They are also starting to limit the amount of asthm a pumps sold well some chemists are so i cant buy them to stock up or i will look like im abusinmg the medicine this sux maybe woolies should sell some asthma pumps

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