The week in review

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COVID-19-related issues like hydroxychloroquine were still making headlines this week, but the sector was also looking to the post-pandemic future

The Pharmacy Guild‘s Suzanne Greenwood wrote about the issues the Guild has with therapeutic substitution by pharmacists as it stands: substituted products won’t attract the PBS subsidy, and the current system does not allow community pharmacists to apply their professional skills. And we discovered that the RACGP has its own concerns about therapeutic substitution. At least the Guild’s fears about the “token” system for paperless e-scripts have been addressed, Ms Greenwood wrote.

The Guild’s George Tambassis told members that negotiations for the 7CPA have been heavy going. Marjorie Weiss, Professor of Pharmacy Practice at Cardiff University in Wales, argued that there’s room for greater acceptance of pharmacists in prescribing. We discovered how many Australians shop at Chemist Warehouse.

An important Federal Court decision, WorkPac v Rossato, has decreed that work which is regular, ongoing and permanent is not genuinely casual, and PPA’s Dr Geoff March said in response that while the ‘permanent’ casual employee classification was deleted in 2014 for the pharmacy sector, many eligible casual employees have not been transferred to permanent status. Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter is reportedly considering options for intervention in the matter. PPA also provided information on safety in the pharmacy workplace during COVID-19.

Also in industrial relations news, a petition is calling for hazard allowance and tax-free income for “bombarded” pharmacists and pharmacy staff.

The hydroxychloroquine controversy continues, with US President Donald Trump revealing that he is taking the medication in the hope of preventing his contracting COVID-19; this moved RACGP president Dr Harry Nespolon to urge Australians not to seek it out for this purpose.

We took a look at what you need to know about the telehealth changes for pharmacy; we also investigated out-of-stocks during the pandemic, with the Small Pharmacies Group and the National Pharmaceutical Services Association airing their differences over the issue and at the future of telehealth post-pandemic.

And congratulations to Lucinda Kenny from Capital Chemist Calwell in the ACT, who was named Intern of the Year for 2020.

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