MAS would support role that already exists: McMaugh

health services: pharmacist talks to patient

A Minor Ailments Scheme would fund and recognise the pharmacists’ existing role in the community, a Melbourne pharmacist has written in MJA Insight, rebutting a recent opinion piece stating an MAS was just a push for drug sales.

Jarrod McMaugh, a pharmacist based in Melbourne with an interest in asthma and a regular commenter on, wrote in response to an opinion piece by Dr Evan Ackermann that McMaugh called “disappointing”.

“This article was heavily focused on negative attitudes and unsubstantiated claims of improper dealings by pharmacists, the larger issue at hand is that the article failed to address a more relevant issue: the perception by a small but vocal minority of GPs that pharmacists have a conflict of interest in the supply of medication,” he writes.

“The Minor Ailments Scheme is a proposed funding model that would recognise the role that pharmacists in community settings have provided on a daily basis since the inception of pharmacy degrees.”

Pharmacist advice is not new, and the pharmacist version of “six-minute medicine” does not represent the profession accurately, McMaugh says. Pharmacists already provide minor ailment services, often foregoing sales when the purchase of pharmacy products is not in the patient’s best interest.

The MAS should not be mistaken for a way to generate sales, he says.

“While some commentators regard pharmacists as little more than shopkeepers who sell any trendy, unproven product that enters the market, this misconception fails to recognise that advice provided by pharmacists focuses on the best outcome for the patient.”

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