Doctors have issued a warning to people who use pharmacy health checks.

The health checks are often performed at chemist chains such as Priceline, Amcal and TerryWhite. They can include a heart health check, diabetes risk assessment, cholesterol test and anaemia screening.

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners is urging the public to stay away, saying pharmacies are “motivated by money”, reports SMH.

“They’re making health a commodity and further fragmenting Australia’s healthcare system,” RACGP Victoria chair Cameron Loy said.

“Health checks are not comparable to buying toothpaste, hair dye or vitamins, but part of the ongoing continuity of care, the long-term engagement, that general practice delivers.”

Dr Loy said sure there were no immediate dangers for participants, but they must consider the long-term risks.

“If you’re asking if there is a long-term danger for somebody not being across their healthcare needs and not having a GP reviewing them regularly and understanding their health needs over time, then yes, there are dangers,” he said.

“These pharmacies are motivated by money, the opportunity to have more people in the store to buy other things.”

The pharmacies argue that they are providing a service to customers that can no longer afford (or find the time) to visit the GP.

Share your comments below.

Image via Priceline

  • My pharmacist always offers very helpful advice and has got to know my family very well mainly due to the medications we buy from him. He was also able to notice a problem with our scripts and phoned our doctor to see of he really wanted us to have this particular medication due to other medications we were taking. The prescription was changed instantly with the comment ‘I forgot he was on that medication too’. So simple tests with him would be accepted knowing we would go to the GP for further evaluation if it was found to be needed.


  • I would always go to my GP, but I understand there may be people who for someone reason cannot get there or afford it. I would always go to my GP though.


  • Has anyone here tried to live in Tasmania? There are no bulk billing doctors here unless you are on a healthcare card, and even then there is only one here in Launceston and they have a huge waiting list to the point where they don’t accept new patients. Our wages here are a lot lower and yet our living expenses are the same if not more than mainlanders and yet we are expected to be able to afford a doctor? I confess to just going to the pharmacist if I’ve got something minor wrong as they can often give you over the counter medicine rather than forking out for a doctor.

    • Incredible that nobody bulk-bills in Tasmania. Not fair at all. :-(


  • I think a lot of people see the pharmacy as a quick fix.


  • Our local pharmacist is terrific and quite the opposite as they always offer advice and the cheapest alternatives. They take the time to talk to us and no request is ever seen as difficult. They know us and our history and they have been as valuable as our GP. I see them as both useful and helpful in managing health and wellbeing. One is no better than the other and of course they do different things.


  • I think it is fine to use the pharmacy, but if you get a bad result then of course go to a doctor. I think it is a joke they are saying that pharmacies are in it for the money, they make more money out of selling the prescription medicines that doctors prescribe, and I think doctors these days are more worried about making money, considering you can only get 15 minutes of time with them, they write a script and you are out.


  • I wouldn’t take the results as gospel, but at least they would give you a general idea when you get them done. This article even says it’s talking about longer term use of these services. I just wait for my GP as the medical centre where we go are awesome and stick to appointment times!


  • Haha this is laughable coming from a profession who is all about the money. So a pharmacist hooks up a little machine and you get an indicator. Everyone knows it’s not a replacement for medical care but it’s certainly cheaper and less k evasive to just get an idea of where you stand at that time!

    Everyone seems to have forgotten that it wasnt that long ago doctors said midwives were useless and responsible for baby deaths.

    Just because a doctor says it, doesnt always make it legit.


  • would be just the same as asking the facebook experts :/

    • Pharmacists have a huge amount of knowledge and are a valuable part of the community. Our healthcare system is under pressure and Around here the Drs do not bulk bill, you never see the same dr, and they are difficult to get into so people only go if they are sick – they are not going for regular health checks. This is an incredibly valuable service the pharmacy is offering and I think this article is ridiculous. My local pharmacy has been able to alert people to potential health problems which has resulted in them making a Drs appointment for further investigation, one of them was able to get an early detection of bowel Cancer and another was alerted to incredibly high blood pressure. These people would not have seen the dr if the pharmacy nurse (again, trained and qualified) had not urged them to get tested. I have never met a pharmacist who tries to be a dr – when it is out of their scope they will always refer you to a dr.
      How about a postitive story on what pharmacists do in our community??

      • Sorry, wasn’t ment to be a reply to your comment, rather a separate comment! Not sure what I did wrong there!


  • Hmm.. not sure about this. I would always go to my gp as first point


  • The only machine I’ve ever used at a pharmacy, is the blood pressure machine. For the rest I prefer going to my GP. I am completely bulk-billed for these exams. Is not this way for everybody then?


  • I used one the health check machines at Priceline and they didn’t charge me anything. I wouldn’t forgo visiting the doctor if I had serious medical concerns, but if the machine said I was at risk of something I would get it followed up by a visit to my gp. So it might be a good starting point for some people and I certainly don’t see the harm in it.


  • There is nothing wrong seeking advice from a pharmacy .


Post a comment
Like Facebook page

LIKE MoM on Facebook

Please enter your comment below
Would you like to include a photo?
No picture uploaded yet.
Please wait to see your image preview here before hitting the submit button.
Your MoM account

Lost your password?

Enter your email and a password below to post your comment and join MoM:

You May Like


Looks like this may be blocked by you browser or content filtering.

↥ Back to top

Thanks For Your Star Rating!

Would you like to add a written rating or just a star rating?

Write A Rating Just A Star Rating