‘He has no intention of ever working with his health professional colleagues in pharmacy.’

doctor makes "stop" gesture with hand - ama

Comments about pharmacist prescribing from a prominent critic were “abhorrent,” says the Guild’s acting national president

Writing in Medical Observer, Dr Evan Ackermann, a Queensland GP and chair of the RACGP’s national standing committee on quality, said that there would be “regulatory incompetence on a grand scale” if pharmacist prescribing were permitted.

He compared the concept to a “Pandora’s Box,” and said the risk-to-benefit equation seemed “very bleak”.

Acting National President Anthony Tassone said the comments by Dr Ackermann were not surprising given his public views about community pharmacy and his stated position of trying to minimise the role of this critical health sector.

“Nevertheless it is an abhorrent position to take because once again he has failed to examine the facts and rather has presented a distorted and biased view to support what I believe is a somewhat spurious argument.

“He only looks at the one model of pharmacist prescribing and quite conveniently ignores the fact that there are other models including those which include close collaboration with GPs.

“In fact if he is serious about this he should point out to his colleagues in the RACGP the opportunities that exist to take part in the current Victorian pilot chronic disease management.

“This pilot specifically looks at how pharmacies can work with a GP so that the pharmacist can assist with chronic disease management in a GP-led plan that can include dose titration of prescription medicines within a defined range set by the treating GP for chronic conditions such as; hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, asthma and in use of anti-coagulants.

“Dr Ackermann also criticises screening programs in pharmacies and claims they have failed but in the next paragraph acknowledges there is ‘positive evidence for pharmacy smoking cessation’.

“He also ignores the pharmacy diabetes screening trial which has been recently concluded. The report of this pilot, which was conducted under the 6CPA Pharmacy Trial Program, is due to be released in the near future.

“Dr Ackermann can’t resist the temptation to attack pharmacy and is a case in point of the barriers to closer collaboration between pharmacists and doctors. It is no secret that the Pharmacy Guild has been advocating for such collaboration for many years but such collaboration does not sit well with the narrative of the likes of Dr Ackermann and he opposes it at all costs.

“His selective narrative also very neatly avoids any mention of the fact that patients are finding it increasingly difficult to get into to see their GPs, often having to wait days before they can get an appointment. I have no doubt many of Dr Ackermann’s colleagues would welcome working with pharmacists – the most accessible of all health professionals – to ensure patients get timely and appropriate care.

“And let’s not forget that this is the same man who has pushed for cashing out pharmacy and just having pharmacists in general practice. I believe he has no intention of ever working with his health professional colleagues in pharmacy in the interests of patient health.”

PSA president Dr Shane Jackson also expressed frustration yesterday at Dr Evan Ackermann’s remarks.

He told the AJP that it was a shame to see collaboration efforts undermined by “rock-throwing” by Dr Ackermann and other critics of pharmacy.


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  1. PharmOwner

    Does Dr Ackerman’s views on pharmacist prescribing extend to other health professionals with prescribing rights such as optometrists, nurse practitioners, dentists et al? These allied health professionals have had prescribing rights for many years and guess what? The sky hasn’t fallen in.

  2. David Lund

    How long does it take to get into the doctors if a patient has run out of preventative medicine already prescribed by a GP. On average, It’s about 1-2 weeks in the practice I work next to. How many referrals has a GP Practice had due to pharmacy screening of blood pressure and blood glucose checking??

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