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The community pharmacy model is “lining up at the abattoir”, prominent GP tells his colleagues

Leading pharmacy critic, Dr Evan Ackermann has continued his critique of the current community pharmacy model, telling a GP audience that the “pharmacy industry” pursues “business gains over patient safety”.

Dr Ackermann was interviewed by Australian Doctor magazine this week, after winning the Royal Australian College of General Practice’s highest honour, the Rose-Hunt Award.

Asked why he had been such a vocal critic of pharmacy, he responded by saying “it’s been sad to watch a profession deteriorate”.

“The response of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia to criticisms of homeopathy and complementary and alternative medicine sales, and the risks of codeine are good examples,” he said.

He went on to say that pharmacy was “big money”, but that most of this did not go to the front-line pharmacists “whose professional reputation the business trades on”.

“Sacred cows of protected business practices eventually get made into burgers,” he said. “And the community pharmacy model is lining up at the abattoir.”

The Guild told AJP its position on homeopathy was that “pharmacists should not recommend or supply homeopathic products to patients to treat serious or chronic conditions”.

It also acknowledged the statement by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) that there are no health conditions for which there is reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective.

“In circumstances where a patient is requesting a homeopathic product, pharmacists should exercise their professional judgement and inform patients regarding other treatment options including referral to another health professional if required”, a Guild spokesperson said.

In its recently updated position statement on complementary medicines, the PSA also said that it does not support the provision or promotion of homeopathy products by pharmacists given the findings of the NHMRC.

Dr Ackermann, who earlier this week said the Guild had “undue influence” over politicians, was given the award for his contributions to general practice.

“He has also been a continuous advocate for the college on a number of topics, such as the up-scheduling of codeine,” the RACGP said in a statement.

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6 Comments

  1. William
    25/10/2018

    The AMA is the strongest trade union in the country which is fighting to protect its trade. It is under threat from the nurses and just trying to protect its patch.
    On the other hand pharmacies have only themselves to blame for the attach of selling some rubbish homeopathic products.

    • Thomas Lake
      25/10/2018

      I just wonder. Why do customers keep coming in asking for Rescue remedy?
      I tell them it can’t work as the AMA told me so and no science explains it therefore I don’t sell it.

      “But it works for me” the customer says.

      We continue to argue, and I end up looking like the idiot… (try telling someone that something doesn’t work for them despite their successful experience with it)

      But at least I’m a ‘Professional’ Idiot, right!

      • William
        25/10/2018

        I think it is the placebo effect mostly, however with botanical extracts there may be some chemicals that exert a pharmacological effect. The problem with proving what , if anything, does have a pharmacological effect is very difficult due to isolating those chemicals.

  2. Thomas Lake
    25/10/2018

    Asked why he had been such a vocal critic of pharmacy, he responded by saying “it’s been sad to watch a profession deteriorate”.

    Is that it?

    So, as other professions “deteriorate” does Ackermann feel sad about that too?

    What about refugee’s? AMA had an opinion on that too on the ABC this week. How do you feel about greyhound racing, AMA? Or, the medical profession for something new – or is that too trivial for your opinion?

    Why does pharmacy gain his interest?

    Surely he hasn’t that much time in his career to worry about us!

    Or, is he a ‘rubbish Dr’ and just a good politician so he focusses on this instead? Or, does his corporate practice structures and private hospital backers want a piece of the pie?

    Again, Ackermann, please worry about your own profession. We will take care of our’s. But, thanks for the sentiment anyway and your so important opinion.

    • William
      25/10/2018

      It is just trying to protect their patch. Self interest and greed.

  3. Paul
    25/10/2018

    GP’s – the taxi drivers of the medical professional – with their seedy unwashed waiting rooms & 1980s magazines – giving ‘customers’ 45 minutes of above appointment waiting for 6 minutes of their out of date knowledge clock watching metered time – while the ‘Uber’ of always on / integrated customer focussed health rapidly descends despite the pseudo authority of their antiquated union

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