Open ownership of pharmacies reduces the quality of pharmaceutical care for the consumer.
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South Africa is currently grappling with amendments to a number of laws relating to the supply of drugs. One of these amendments removes the requirement that only a pharmacist may own an interest in a retail pharmacy. While this may be opposed by retail pharmacists, the question is really: Will this measure benefit consumers by improving the access to drugs by bringing to this sector a measure of competition and hence reduced prices or will this measure reduce the quality of pharmaceutical care for consumers due to a lack of a relationship based on trust? The emergence of brands such as HealthPharm (Pick 'n Pay), Purchase Milton & Associates- PM&A (New Clicks), and the Checkers (Shoprite Group of Companies) are becoming increasingly popular among consumers (Andy Gray, 1997). This study investigates the impact of these changes on the consumer receiving affordable quality pharmaceutical care. It aims to establish a relationship between consumers and their pharmacist that is based on trust. Quantitative analysis of consumers and pharmacists revealed that there is a relationship based on trust between these parties. Statistical analysis of these samples also reveal a consumer trend suggesting that consumers and pharmacists require a relationship based on trust to achieve the goals of pharmaceutical care. Open ownership of pharmacies will not provide the consumer with an opportunity to develop this relationship with their pharmacist and thus reduce the quality of pharmaceutical care received.