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Bargain Chemist’s commitment to Kiwis: make healthcare more affordable

Locally owned pharmacy Bargain Chemist is giving away $1,500 throughout July to remind Kiwis, that even in light of government changes, its prescription fees will always be free.

Starting from today, the government has reinstated the nationwide $5 co-payment fee in pharmacies for customers picking up a prescription.

Last year, the previous Labour-led government scrapped the fee, giving Kiwis a short-lived reprieve to collect their medications for free from any pharmacy across the country.

In light of the latest change from the coalition-led government, Bargain Chemist, which operates both online and multiple sites in the North and South Islands, says it’s sticking to its guns – it has been covering the $5 cost for customers since it opened in 2018 and will continue to do so.

In a month-long campaign, the pharmacy chain is attaching $5 notes to flyers and handing these out to Kiwis in key locations, including Christchurch, Dunedin, Wellington and Auckland.

The idea behind the campaign is giving Kiwis “$5 back in their pocket”, as symbol of its support for local communities, as well as to raise awareness, both about the fees being reinstated and the benefits of Bargain Chemist’s free prescriptions.

Bargain Chemist’s Co-Founder Peter Shenoda says the pharmacy’s primary goal is to enhance the well-being of the local community by making healthcare more accessible and affordable.

“By offering free prescriptions, we aim to alleviate the financial burden on individuals and families, ensuring that no one has to choose between their health and other essential needs. As a 100% Kiwi-owned local business, we are proud to support New Zealanders with their cost of living across our 21 stores.”

Australian owned pharmacy chain Chemist Warehouse, which operates on a similar model in sites across New Zealand as well as online, also offers free prescriptions for customers, as does Woolworths pharmacies.

While these large chains have the ability to absorb the government’s co-payment for their customers, time will tell what impact reinstating the prescription fee will have on community-owned pharmacies.

With many pharmacies unable to alleviate the $5 fee for their own customers, in the past this has seen them lose customers and ultimately their businesses.

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