Who benefited from Pharmacy Guild’s deep pockets?

2 minute read

Each year, the pharmacy owners body ranks among the top political donors in the country. This year’s winner was Labor.

The Labor party was the biggest beneficiary of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia’s wealth last year, receiving a total of $187,650 in donations across its various branches.

Not one to hoard its pennies, the politically powerful group of community pharmacy owners also donated $105,130 to branches of the Liberal Party and a further $63,000 to the Nationals.

All told, the Guild gave $355,780 last year, making it the ninth biggest corporate donor and the thirteenth biggest donor overall.

According to Australian Electoral Commission’s transparency register, which was updated with 2023 data today, the organisation’s single biggest donation of $121,000 went to the federal arm of the Australian Labor Party in March.

Just a month later, Pharmacy Guild president Trent Twomey was brought to tears on live television following the announcement that 60-day dispensing would be a cornerstone of Labor’s May budget.

Other big spenders with interests in the health space were embattled consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, which donated a total of $369,973 and Medicines Australia, which gave $255,096.

Non-profit private health insurers group Members Health Fund Alliance gave $64,965 in donations, with around half going to federal Labor and the rest going to the Liberal Party in Victoria. 

Big pharmaceutical companies also made contributions: Bristol-Myers Squibb gave $97,000, Roche gave $84,700, Sanofi gave $79,485 and Johnson & Johnson gave $69,000.

Novartis and Pfizer both gave around $57,000 and Merck gave $22,000.

Among the smaller donors were vitamins magnate Marcus Blackmore, who gave $25,000 to conservative lobby group Advance Australia, tobacco company Phillip Morris Limited, which gave $75,000 to the Nationals Party and private hospital provider Ramsey Health, which donated $18,000 to Labor.

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