A Minor Ailments Scheme similar to that in the UK or Canada would be an evidence-based program aimed at improving the health of Australians, industry stakeholders say.
On Monday prominent GP Dr Evan Ackermann wrote in MJA InSight that a MAS would be “a push by the pharmaceutical industry and pharmacy business to increase drug sales under the guise of health innovation”.
PSA National President Joe Demarte told the AJP that the PSA supports what is best for consumers, “and there is evidence showing the success of health systems that enable individuals to take responsibility for their own minor ailments.
“An innovative strategy, which has worked internationally to promote access to primary care, is better utilisation of general practitioners and community pharmacists to offer structured minor ailment services,” he says.
“The success of this strategy has been demonstrated in the United Kingdom and Canada as an affordable and rapidly-implementable solution.
“The adoption of a structured, minor ailment model in Australia – using collaborative protocols for referrals – would facilitate access to essential, cost-effective primary care solutions.
“It’s estimated that an enhanced minor ailment model in Australia could produce a cost saving of up to $260 million per year.”
Deon Schoombie, CEO of the Australian Self-Medication Industry, which was criticised in the Ackermann piece, says that “an innovative strategy employed internationally to promote access to primary care is the use of community pharmacy and pharmacists to offer minor ailment services.
“These services aim to provide people with rapid access to cost effective primary care services for minor self-limiting conditions.”