Supermarkets and health care don’t mix

Date: 19 December 2013

We all know that tobacco and alcohol are among the two most prevalent causes of preventable illness, chronic health conditions and unnecessary deaths.


True health professionals don’t compromise when it comes to health outcomes. They don’t pursue profits at the expense or to the detriment of good health outcomes. They certainly don’t retail products like tobacco and alcohol with such known damaging health impacts.
The same cannot be said of Australia’s big supermarkets.
These grocery businesses are effectively underwritten by their massive reliance on cigarette sales.
They are also the largest sellers of takeaway alcohol with in excess of 60 per cent of the market.
Thirteen of the top 20 selling grocery items are cigarettes (five of the remaining seven are soft drinks).
All twenty of the top 20 selling non-food grocery items are cigarettes.
The supermarkets’ addiction to cigarettes is one of the reasons why there is no political support for allowing community pharmacies to operate from within supermarkets.
The big two supermarkets have no genuine interest in helping Australians become more healthy.
If they had any real interest in health, they would stop selling cigarettes. But they won’t, because they are addicted to their massive tobacco profits.
Recently, Woolworths started advertising basic health checks and health advice under a new ‘health & wellness’ banner.
This is the height of hypocrisy.
The company that profits so much from retailing tobacco and alcohol products which are the biggest preventable causes of ill health and death is claiming to be interested in health care.
For health professionals like pharmacists with a genuine interest in delivering better health outcomes, Woolworths’ shallow move into health care advice and information is absolutely galling.
Pharmacists are, first and foremost, health care providers. This is their profession, their core skill set and their passion. Pharmacists put patients first.

For PDF click here.

Contact: Nikki Watson

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