Guild ‘only thinking of business profits’, say docs

The RACGP has “called out” the Guild over script lengths, and again attacked pharmacists over the timing of flu vaccinations

Last week, the Government decided it would not go ahead with a proposal to double dispensing quantities for some drugs, which was widely reported to have been a Budget measure to be introduced on Tuesday.

The decision followed an ad taken out in The Australian by the Guild urging the Government to support community pharmacy in the Budget; and a communique from Guild national president George Tambassis letting members know the organisation was in “dispute” with the Government over the measure.

The RACGP issued a statement saying it had “called out the Pharmacy Guild’s latest successful lobbying move to restrict the amount that can be dispensed at any one time for 143 common medications, saying the Guild was only thinking of business profits”.

“The public needs to be aware that when it comes down to pharmacy profits or patient benefits, the patient comes second to the Guild,” RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon said.

“This issue is particularly concerning for me at the moment, as a GP going into flu season. When you see a pharmacist trying to administer flu vaccinations too early, you do have to wonder why patient safety is not the first priority.”

Last week Dr Nespolon had told Nine News that consumers “might be confronted with, ‘do you want a bottle of perfume with your flu vax,” if they sought vaccination in pharmacy.

The RACGP said that the Guild’s lobbying had eliminated the potential to reduce patients’ out of pocket costs, improve access, and improve medication compliance.

“The Guild’s successful lobbying means a patient in a rural area taking a basic medication responsibility will now be required to travel into their nearest town more frequently to fill a simple script. Most patients just do not have time for this,” Dr Nespolon said.

“Any patient who is not in the position to manage a 60 day dispense instead of 30 days would have been able to be easily managed by their treating professional. Removing the benefits from other patients is simply short sighted.”

The RACGP said that there was “no way to confuse what has happened behind the scenes of the Guild’s lobbying”.

”The Pharmacy Guilds’ own email to its members it noted its concern on how 60-day dispenses would affect pharmacy profits,” Dr Nespolon said.

 “What I want to see from the Pharmacy Guild is a refocus on what can bring benefits to both the patient and the pharmacist, unfortunately this has not been the case in this decision.”

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