Former ACCC chief Graeme Samuel has slammed governments for bowing to the Pharmacy Guild’s "political blackmail" at the expense of consumers, calling for deregulation to open the sector to competition and deliver cheaper medicines. Professor Samuel, now an academic at Monash University, backed demands from discount chain Chemist Warehouse and convenience stores for Health Minister Greg Hunt to loosen the rules that protect small local pharmacies. Graeme Samuel says pharmacies should be deregulated.Credit:Peter Braig He said Australians were paying far too much for their PBS medicines due to the "anti-competitive regulations" in the sector, maintained over decades of "unashamed" lobbying of all levels of government by the powerful Guild. "Pharmacists have been protected for so long, they’re the most powerful union in Australia," he said. The Pharmacy Guild, which represents the nation’s 5700 small community pharmacists, remains fiercely opposed to proposed changes that would allow chains like Chemist Warehouse […]