‘If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys’ – the week’s best comments


AJP takes a look back at this week’s best reader comments

Several readers responded to our report that the TGA has advised of a shortage of metformin extended release tablets: the TGA advised pharmacists to order minimum stock quantities to avoid further shortages.

“It seems like the frequency of product out of stock situations is accelerating compared to say 15 years ago when it was relatively rare for a product to go out of stock,” observed PharmOwner.

“I have around 30 product lines on back-order at the moment. It’s not good for business and it’s not good for our patients.”

Anthony Klinkatsis had a theory: “Perhaps we wouldn’t have such a problem if pharmaceutical companies weren’t forced to keep bare bones inventory due to ever diminishing prices and therefore profits.

“In other words, if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys!!”

Our story on the uptake of naloxone included mention of difficulties with supply; reader Russell Smith highlighted these further.

“Didn’t we get a letter from the main/original supplier to the effect they couldn’t be bothered – (or was it maybe just unable) to continue supplying the stuff this year?

“That, of course was merely an acknowledgement of having been ‘unable’ to regularly supply for the previous year or three and no desire to do so.”

And discussion on Manya Angley’s opinion piece, published last week, continued. Angley asked whether it was time for pharmacist professional services to be MBS funded.

Reader Oscar Klass highlighted the excellent quality of service he recently experienced at an optometrist and wondered why a similar system did not exist for consultation within the pharmacy profession.

“My interaction with this primary healthcare provider was VASTLY different to that of a member of the public seeking the help of a community pharmacist,” Klass wrote.

“There was no time pressure, there was adequate staff in the store, the consultation was private and electronically documented, the Optometrist was focused on my episode of care free from external distractions, there was no suggested selling of retail products, and the cost was covered by Medicare.”

“I believe a mechanism of renumeration, independent of retail community pharmacy and GP referral, is a step in the right direction.”

Angley replied with further thoughts: “Your experience certainly is in stark contrast to a consumer seeking help in a community pharmacy Oscar. In particular, the electronic documentation as community pharmacists don’t usually document details of encounters in pharmacy case notes which I think can compromise the care that community pharmacists can provide, especially when a community pharmacy employs multiple pharmacists. Why not?”

And Chris Freeman said that while he supported the concept of funding for pharmacists to perform services outside of the community pharmacy setting, he isn’t sure the MBS is the way forward.

“Ask most GPs how they think the MBS is working for them – my guess is that they are not happy,” he wrote.

The MBS is a fee for service model which has several issues, including restricting the range of services delivered, promotion of quantity not quality, enabling “six minute medicine” and opens the funding system for over-servicing.

“Why would we be advocating to enter into a broken system?” he wrote.

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