CM debate still simmering: this week’s best comments

AJP takes a look at the last week’s best reader comments

AJP readers responded with interest to Manya Angley’s opinion piece this week, looking at whether it was time for MBS funding for pharmacist professional services.

“Some very valid points Manya,” wrote Jenny Gowan.

“How to progress this – is the question?

“Prior to the caps and regulation changes I saw a number of challenging patients in the clinic where I work, and gained some valuable insights to assist with medication management issues.

“I work in a lower socio-economic area with many drug, alcohol and mental health issues, as well as the need for interpreters.”

“Whilst aspects of the current system are good, the caps and location rules are not serving the needs of the most needy well; and moving outside of a funding system as part of the CPAs should be our objective,” wrote Angus Thompson.

Kevin Hayward was not optimistic. “I can see nothing to suggest that either potential governments would change the current status quo with regard to HMR,” he wrote.

“I believe that until we can prove beyond doubt that HMR is a costing reduction model nothing will change.”

The debate over natural medicines continues to simmer, with our article covering Complementary Medicines Australia’s reaction to the Labor plan to cut the rebate to natural therapies if elected next month.

Reader Melissa told us that Labor isn’t really interested in health outcomes, and smarter solutions are needed: it’s spending time with patients to help them make healthy diet and lifestyle choices which can reduce their likelihood of developing chronic disease.

“Tax payers continue to pay much more for invasive medical procedures such as IVF for women over 40 (for a whopping 2-3% success rate) which costs tax payers 250million in Medicare rebates annually,” she wrote. “It’s much harder to clean that up. CM is the ‘canary in the coal mine’ (not my words).

“I’d happily get rid of all the CM ‘products’ out there without evidence but cutting rebates to CM practitioners doesn’t do that. It simply compounds the problem as people help themselves to whatever is on the shelf in pharmacies or health food stores without supervision.”

Professor Ken Harvey agreed, citing data to back Melissa’s assertion about interventions.

“I also agree that well-trained CM practitioners, such as some naturopaths, could have a role to play in such collaborative care models,” Prof Harvey wrote. “But, given the huge variations in the training and treatment modalities used by CM practitioners, I still argue that providing a PHI for all of them is not good public policy.”

Sue Ieraci wrote that “as there is no good evidence that taking supplements (in the absence of measured deficiency) or using homeopathic ‘remedies’ prevents any disease, there should be no concern about any impact on preventive health.

“The observation that people who spend on expensive placebos also tend to eat well, exercise and avoid smoking only signifies that they have the means to follow good lifestyle behaviours – not that the expensive placebos promote good health.”

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