Should we care about pharmacists throwing a tantrum in Parliament House? Seriously, a pack of complete d--kheads. That's not just the view of the people who witnessed pharmacists go wild at Parliament House earlier this week. That's even the view of other pharmacists who say there are better ways to get your message across. What happened? On Monday, an eruption of those pharmacists disrupted Question Time - an estimated 200 badly behaved supposed professionals, including some who shouted obscenities at the government and heckled the Prime Minister. Turns out that some members of the Coalition signed them in. Ah, how very vibes of January 6, storming of the Capitol. What was the reason for the protest? From September 1, patients can now get two scripts for the price of one, a real boost for those struggling with the cost of living. Which is just about everyone. The way pharmacies in Australia operate now needs to be overhauled to protect patients. In 2018, a review of regulations governing pharmacies by Productivity Commissioner Stephen King recommended a raft of proposals which would increase competition and reduce cost. The then-government knocked them all back. As health economics guru Stephen Duckett wrote back then, "The government's response to the King review shows, yet again, that the pharmacy industry in Australia is a classic example of what economists call 'regulatory capture': the regulator acts in the interests of the regulated, rather than the public interest." And now, the government has acted in the interests of the rest of us so a bunch of pharmacists threw a complete tanty in Parliament House, frightening staff, shocking other spectators and generally being awful. How did they get in? Every politician has two tickets to the gallery every day. The Speaker Milton Dick gets a daily report as to who has used their allocation that day but does not get a report as to who the allocation was given to (this seems weird to me). Love Speaker Milton DIck's word to the unwise, that is, those Coalition members who signed in the protestors: "It is unacceptable for people to enter the public galleries in an attempt to protest or express their views or disrupt proceedings," he told parliament on Tuesday. "If you invite a guest into the gallery, I consider their conduct to be a reflection on you. I want to be clear, if this behaviour continues, that privilege may be revoked." And this all happened not five minutes after the Pharmacy Guild of Australia came to an agreement with the government that it would call off its campaign against the changes if the government brought forward its new funding agreement with pharmacists. The badly-behaved pharmacists turn out to be a breakaway group, called the Community and Pharmacy Support Group. So what will the changes be like for pharmacists? I spoke to one rural pharmacist who says she doubts her pharmacy's experience will change much. It's the doctors who sign the dual scripts - and she says the doctors in her area are unlikely to change their prescribing practices unless they see it is really warranted. Some GPs, she says, insist they see particular patients on a very regular basis. "It will impact pharmacies in different ways," she says and predicts bigger urban pharmacies will be harder hit. Another rural pharmacist, Mark White, has played cricket with the Henty Cricket Club for over 20 years. Now, the cricket lover is concerned about the changes but says the behaviour of the pharmacists in Parliament House on Monday is no way to improve the situation. "As frustrated as people are, these things have got to be voiced properly," he says. He's had the added surprise of customers coming in to his shop and saying they want to know how to avoid getting the double script. He's very sympathetic to the government's desire to get the cost of living down but is deeply concerned about what he sees as a lack of consultation with pharmacists before the changes were announced. White says he has heard of an epilepsy drug which is not on the PBS ($60,000 a month). Naturally those who need it are distressed about the cost. "I keep that in mind when people talk about their incomes being cut a little bit and now my colleagues are whingeing about nothing. "Let's behave a little bit." And that's advice ANU's political marketing expert Andrew Hughes agrees with - 100 per cent. "I was surprised by what they did in terms of disrupting question time and then the walk out. "I haven't heard of too many poor pharmacists," he said. "It's just stupidity really. They have had it really good, particularly since the pandemic." Hughes reminded me that during the pandemic, if you hadn't had the foresight to buy masks in bulk, you ended up paying $25 for a pack of three. And sometimes we paid $20 just for one RAT. So, yeah, nah. Not much sympathy. MORE JENNA PRICE: As the Health Minister Mark Butler has said many times during the pharmacists' campaign, pharmacies are a highly profitable busines. Even the Pharmacy Guild's commissioned report confirms that pharmacies are in excellent shape financially. Butler says it's 30 per cent revenue growth in the last four years, average gross profits of 34 per cent. And as for whether the pharmacists can overturn the government's desire to assist with cost of living, as Hughes puts it: "United you usually win, divided you usually fail." That's good for the rest of us. In the meantime, the Speaker knows exactly which Coalition members enabled this mayhem. He won't name names. Yet.