The week in review

Jack Gance, Chairman and co-founder Chemist Warehouse Group, and Tommy Huppert, CEO Cannatrek.

There’s been a lot happening in pharmacy this week, with COVID-19 vaccine and scheduling news coming to the fore

Pharmacist and ALP MP for Dobell Emma McBride called in Parliament for the adequate funding of non-PBS services by pharmacists; and several politicians aired a variety of opinions over medicine substitution by pharmacists during debates about the TGA amendment bill.

We took a look at which political parties the Pharmacy Guild and other organisations of interest donated to in 2019/20. We heard new details from Queensland Health about the upcoming Queensland COVID testing pilot. And the PSA‘s Dr Fei Sim had some advice for pharmacists as WA went into lockdown, with a person testing positive to the novel coronavirus visiting several locations—including a Chemist Warehouse and a Pharmacy 777—while infectious.

We also heard new details of pharmacy’s involvement in Phase 2A of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout, with pharmacy proprietor John-Paul Daggian appearing at a media event with Health Minister Greg Hunt and Guild president George Tambassis to tell reporters that “If it was anything like the 2020 flu vaccine, it’s going to go crazy” in pharmacy.

In further vaccine news, a pilot led by the University of Western Australia, in partnership with SmartVax, MedAdvisor and the Queensland University of Technology revealed significantly fewer adverse events overall reported from participants immunised in pharmacies compared to those immunised in non-pharmacy sites. And we also found out how our readers feel about pharmacy’s readiness for the COVID-19 vaccine in particular.

There was also scheduling news, with a proposal to downschedule the asthma combination medicine containing budesonide and formoterol rejected by the Advisory Committee on Medicines Scheduling, as was a proposal to allow general sales of azelaic acid. However a new S3 listing for the anti-histamine bilastine was approved. The Government expanded the PBS listing for Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine).

While there’s no such product listed on the ARTG as yet, after a TGA decision to downschedule certain low-dose cannabidiol products to S3 came into effect this week, Chemist Warehouse and medicinal cannabis company Cannatrek Limited made an exclusive deal to create products available through the discount giant.

And congratulations to TerryWhite Chemmart pharmacist Irfan Hashmi, owner of the Aussie Discount Chemist chain, for being recognised as a local hero by News Corp.

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