Chemist Pricing - Caveat Emptor

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The partner was crook and got a script for 500mg Amoxicillin. We normally shop Chemist Warehouse but it was late and convenience won the evening.

She stopped into the local chemist who dispensed a generic (origin India) for $14.95.

Today the refill (generic, origin also India) from Chemist Warehouse was $5.30.

We expected to pay more, but 2.8 times! Our Chemist Warehouse do provide advice and have never pushed a product on us.


The $14.95 is most likely the full cost, did your partner show their concession card at the dispensing Chemist? Your Chemist Warehouse probably have the details already stored on their system about your concession details… $5.30 is the subsidised cost on the PBS if you hold a DVA, or Centrelink concession card and after the $1.00 extra rebate. If you have a concession card you should be able to get a refund from Medicare for the extra cost you paid.

See here about the refund process:

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Recently on holidays in country Victoria and collected a script for a usual medicine - $20.00.
The usual price in our NSW city is $9.60. I think a lot depends on the chemist and how much competition they face.


@grahroll, no concessions involved. That is the full asking price for two chemists.


We have 3 Chemists in Eltham, all high priced. The Chemist Warehouse is about 7 km away in Greensborough. There are actually 2 Chemist Warehouses, one in the shopping centre and one on the street, and 2 relatively “traditional Chemists”. The traditional Chemists are only a bit more expensive, not multiples.

How about those effects of competition? :slight_smile:


Our local chemist will match the Chemist Warehouse price for a script if one asks…have forgotten to do so a couple of times and we have paid dearly.

Might be worth asking at your own chemist.



Thanks for that, Well worth dealing with them with those prices!

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As an older person, I have to take plenty of medication. I recently closed my account with Priceline and moved to Chemist Warehouse, who were, on average, 15% cheaper. The argument from Priceline was “a better service” and the pharmacist was probably right because I have not yet spoken (after 6 months) to a pharmacist at Chemist Warehouse (but I have also not asked to.) The price difference is too much to stay loyal to a pharmacy that charges too much.


I agree with you Jon about the price, though I have found other chemists who charge the same as Chemist Warehouse for prescriptions without the extended waits to get the medicine. It’s worth shopping around.


And sometimes we are bound by geographical considerations. My pharmacy isnt the cheapest, but the nearest chemist warehouse is several suburbs away. The difference in meds cost would be consumed by the need to drive there and back to acquire what I need. I also have my scripts stored at my pharmacy, and use an app called Medadvisor to keep me on track (I find that without it, I forget to get scripts renewed, and when replacements are due, never mind actually having the scripts filled… its a brilliant app).

I have a great relationship with the pharmacist and the staff… and all of that counts for a lot, with me.


Another thing to do before moving if one is happy with one’s existing pharmacist, is to see if the pharmacist will price match another pharmacy such as the Chemist Warehouse.

Our local pharmacy matches the Chemist Warehouse when one asks…and if one is a regular customer, they will make a note on ones customer account and automatically match for prescriptions.

Asking and receiving gets the best of both worlds, cheaper medicines when they are cheaper at the Chemist Warehouse…and using a pharmacy with potentially better personalised service.


Never had much of a wait at a CW unless they were really busy, and then about 15-20 minutes that has not happened often. I leave my scripts on file and reorder refills on their app, and used to ring in before that, and those waits were from 0 to a minute or few for those in front of me in the queue to pick up theirs.

That seems like an ongoing moving target. Do you keep track of CW prices to keep the them honest?

It is a curious cultural thing where in some cultures it is an affront not to ask for discounts and to negotiate everything, while in others most people are embarrassed to do so and thus do not.

I would be put off discovering my chemist was charging me more than the person in front of me just because that person asked for a discount while I respected the chemist’s business needs for a fair profit. Perhaps the profit at CW prices is the fair one and the friendly services come at the premium, although it is more likely both customers receive the same service.

In some business sectors most people know they can ask for a best price, in others not so much even when they can.

Maybe we should try negotiating prices at our petrol stations? After all with the price cycles surely it should be possible. Surely it should be :rofl:


As we don’t have a smart phone, our chemist checks the price in front of the customer online when handing in the prescription…they also confirm on collection of the meds/script indicating how much cheaper it was. (I must also admit, we usually check the price at home before going to the local pharmacy).

Having lived in a country where most things (with exception of multinational/government owned department stores) are negotiated/bartered, I don’t have any issue asking. Sometimes do it in tongue and check knowing that a discount won’t be forthcoming, but it doesn’t hurt in asking.

I also don’t have any issuing getting a discount when others don’t, as they can likewise ask for a discount to receive one. It is there choice not to ask for a better deal.


Thanks to everyone for their comments. I initially obtained price matching but, over time and when the main pharmacist wasn’t there, prices were back to normal. I checked CW prices over about two years and found they were consistently the cheapest.


Ah yes the chemist warehouse wait! “Excuse me sir, we could give you your prescriptions immediately but we’d like you to look around the store and hopefully make an impulse purchase or two.”
Using their app solves this problem as it allows you to order your medicine on line and collect it without the wait. It’s also quite useful in helping keep track of ones multiple medications, with daily reminders.


I find that aspect useless. It thinks I still have a 3 months supply of A and 5 weeks of B and a week of C, all long term meds, even though all run out next week. Getting on their case over time has demonstrated they are unable to competently correct it.

As for using it to order refills or chat to the pharmacist - yes! I don’t use nor like reminders and it took a while to understand how to turn them off permanently. Still not convinced I have, but not had one is months (I think they will restart when I submit new scripts).


Could not be worse than our local Chemist Warehouse this week.

There was a new employee when I dropped some scripts off the other day, and I said I would collect them the next day except for one that had to be refridgerated which I said I would pickup the day before my GP appointment in a fortnight.

The next day the same person hands me the items including the refridgerated one.

After I got home, we found that she had not done one of the 2 scripts for my wife but had done one which was not required.

My wife is going back there today to get the missing item.



I have been patronising CW (Greensbourough Vic, and then Eltham Vic when it opened a few years later) ever since and have not had any worries with them in any way, excepting for their inability to reset my remaining stock on their app.

Seems like you have an underperformer up your way. Perhaps a kind mention to the proprietor may be in order.


I was referring to the daily reminders for medication to be taken at different times of the day. The reminder about dosage and the ability to record what has actually been taken for each individual medication is a useful feature particularly for those who struggle with memory issues. There are issues with the way the app records the remaining supply of different medications. The app is not perfect but neither is it useless.


HA! Wait til you start getting cognitive decline. You’ll change your mind, I promise.