A medical store in central New South Wales.
Photo: RTE News.
A lot of big pharmas have been selling drugs that ordinary consumers wouldn’t normally buy, even though they are not really in the mainstream.
“I don’t think you should be selling the same things that people would buy.
I think you have to be aware that people are looking for a bit of something different,” he said.
Mr Cairns said he didn’t want to see “a lot of the same generic medicine that the big pharmos are selling, because it is not really what we need”.
“There is no real difference between a generic medicine and a brand-name product that is not on the shelf,” he told the ABC.
The ABC understands that the Australian Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority has flagged a range of generic medicines that are not currently on sale in Australia.
An ANPA spokesperson said generic medicines were not included in the market as they were not “a product to be considered as a generic”.
But Mr Cairs believes there are some big pharmans out there who are just as keen to market their generic medicines as their branded products.
“They want to market these generics as much as they do branded products,” he argued.
“What they’re doing is they’re trying to make money out of the public in the sense that they are trying to get people to buy their products.”
He said there were also big pharmawomen that have tried to get rid of generic drugs from the market, which could also lead to people going to the big-box pharmacies and buying them.
“You know what?
There is a lot of greed out there.
If they’re not going to put them on the shelves they’re going to do something else,” he added.
In a statement to the ABC, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said: “As part of the process of assessing the impact of the Competition Act 2014, the ACCC is monitoring the sale of generic medicine to consumers.
This includes the use of generic generics in the supply of drugs to consumers.”
The ACCC said it was also investigating “whether there are similar issues with the retail supply of some of the generics listed on the Generic Drugs list”.
The Australian Competition Tribunal is investigating the ACCCC’s investigation into the practice of charging extra for generic drugs, but Mr Cawthorn says that is unlikely to lead to a decision.
There are currently no plans to remove generic drugs in Australia, he said, but if there was to be a change in legislation that would be a step backwards.
He also said he doesn’t think the ACCCI will be able to intervene in the process.
A spokeswoman for the ACCIC said that its inquiry would be “intended to determine if the ACC is satisfied that generic drugs are no longer subject to competition in Australia”. ABC/AAP