Delaying the inevitable

Prof Stephen King

Pharmacists worried about what a late running report may recommend

Four out of five community pharmacists have concerns about or fear disaster from the recommendations of the overdue draft report of the Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation Panel.

The release of the report, which was initially due in mid-April, is believed to be imminent. But as yet there is no firm indication from the Department of Health as to when it will be released.

Most respondents to an AJP Daily poll expressed concerns about what may be recommended by the panel, which contains two members who have been publicly critical of current pharmacy regulations.

In total there were 252 respondents to the poll. Of these, 32% feared the report would be a ‘potential disaster’ for community pharmacy.

Another 25% said they thought the report’s recommendations would be ‘negative’. Another 23% said they had ‘concerns’ about the report.

Only 5% (12 voters) said they were ‘confident’ about the outcome.

Review panel chief Professor Stephen King generated a lot of press following his provocative insights into the panel’s review process and objectives at APP2016 in March.

Among other comments, he said pharmacists should be compared to other retailers when they are looked at in a business sense.

“You are retailers. So why shouldn’t we consider you as retailers and compare you to other retailers?” he asked.

Both Professor King (pictured), a health economist at Monash University, and fellow panel member Jo Watson of the Consumers Health Forum have gone public in their prior critique of aspects of pharmacy regulation.

Former Pharmacy Guild of Australia (Victoria) president Bill Scott is the third member of the review panel.

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