Profiteers seek to make things hard on Swine Flu Victims

Pharmacists have sought to Profiteer over the Victims of Swine Flu, of asking from $6.50 to $20- a pill of Tamiflu in Australia.

FEARS have emerged that pharmacists are trying to cash in on the shortage of the one drug experts say can treat swine flu.

A pharmacist in Sydney’s northwest has been found selling a course of 10 tablets of Tamiflu for $68.85. That is about $20 more than his four competitors who are within walking distance.

Customers are paying the price after finding that other pharmacists have run out of the tablets or do not realise they are paying too much.

“He is taking advantage of people because a lot of people need this,” the mother of a nine-year-old boy who was prescribed Tamiflu said yesterday.

“I went there after another chemist had none but I didn’t realise I was paying more. He has hiked up the price because there is not enough around.”

Even one of his competitors expressed surprise yesterday at how much the pharmacist was charging, saying it was “a bit steep”.

The pharmacist refused to speak to The Daily Telegraph yesterday, hanging up four times before calling police to complain.

A check revealed that prices for Tamiflu vary from $45 to $55 and many pharmacies had run out of stock. Tamiflu remains the main anti-viral drug being prescribed by doctors inundated by patients presenting with flu-like symptoms.

While customers are being unwittingly ripped off, a spokesman for the Pharmacy Guild of Australia said it was just competition.

He said that Tamiflu was not on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and therefore “the price isn’t regulated and it is open to competition”. “There’s nothing wrong with people shopping around to get a competitive price,” he said.

However, the angry customer said she, and many others, did not want to spend the day shopping around when their children were sick. “I just wanted my nine-year-old son better,” she said. Source