You can’t expect to find the same products in a pharmacy today as you did 20 years ago, when pharmacy stocking was much more tight.
But you’ll still find a wide range of products that are often the same as they were when you started buying them, as well as new ones that will keep you going long after you stop using them.
“I think it’s good to look back at the past to see what’s been good and what’s not good,” Dr Michael Gourdek, chief executive of pharma research and advisory firm Merrion, said.
“For example, if you look at how many products we have now, it is pretty well balanced.”
The reason we have so much of it is because it is the way it is, because it’s been around for so long, and because people are still using it.
“Dr Gourdsons research suggests that the use of medication is a key driver of health spending, with one in five Australians using prescription medicines and another one in four having a prescription.”
We’ve got to look at what the health needs of the people are,” he said.
Mr Gourdinks data also suggests that consumers are more likely to use expensive brands that have been in the market for decades, such as Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca and Johnson &afltr.”
They have the best quality and are the cheapest, so they’re the cheapest choice,” he explained.”
But they’re also expensive, and that means they’re not as good as alternatives.
“So the consumer is going to make decisions based on price.”
It’s a lesson the pharmaceutical industry is trying to take advantage of.
While the majority of medicines are generic, some medicines can be expensive to make and require specialized manufacturing techniques.
“It’s an area where we have some opportunities to invest in,” Dr Gourda said.
“The key thing is to understand that a lot of medicines have the same technology in common, so we can apply that to different products.”
Pharmaceutical companies are also looking at developing cheaper alternatives to traditional medicines, such to probiotics and plant-based products.
“In my experience, if we do that right, we will be able to offer the same or better quality,” Dr O’Sullivan said.