No ‘turf war’ AMA claims

The AMA says it is not engaging in a ‘turf war’ in its calls for pharmacy deregulation and a restriction of the extension of pharmacy professional services.

An article in AMA magazine Australian Medicine rebuffed what it said would be criticism over the group’s submission to the Review of Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation.

“The AMA is often accused of engaging in a ‘turf war’ when it warns against pharmacists and other healthcare practitioners expanding their scopes of practice – for example, into prescribing,” the article claimed.

“I expect we will attract similar criticisms following our submission to the Review of Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation”.

In its submission, the AMA had claimed that it supported “high-quality primary health care services that are convenient to patients, enhance patient access and improve collaboration between healthcare professionals”.

“Co-location of medical and pharmacy services would clearly facilitate this.”

The submission also stated the AMA’s view that it had “no concerns” about locating pharmacy premises within or adjacent to supermarkets, as long a registered pharmacist remains responsible for dispensing.

The AMA also restated its opposition to the expansion of pharmacy professional services, except in areas that support medication management and adherence, such as HMRs and DAAs, and programs that enhance improve rural and remote and ATSi health.

The Australian Medicine article says “our submission to the Review emphasises that the AMA fully supports pharmacists undertaking roles within their scope of practice. That means those activities and clinical services that are covered in their core education and training”.

“However, over the last few years the Pharmacy Guild has pushed for a range of pharmacy services to be funded under the CPA as an extra source of income, which represents an expansion of pharmacists’ scope of practice”.

The services it listed include: prescribing Schedule 4 medicines; providing advice on nutrition, weight loss, smoking cessation, pregnancy and baby care; and managing chronic diseases such as asthma and diabetes.

“If, in the future, pharmacists’ core education and training covers medical services, and pharmacists wish to have those services attract Government subsidies, then those services should be assessed for safety, efficacy and cost effectiveness in the same way as other health practitioner services. That means evaluated and funded under Medicare,” the article states.

“In the meantime, the AMA will continue to defend against profit-driven and unevaluated expanded scopes of practice”.

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