Pharmacist prescribing by 2020: Jackson

PSA president says prescribing rights for pharmacists are imminent and it is a “travesty” they don’t have them yet

Pharmacists may soon be extended prescribing rights if all goes to plan, and PSA National President Dr Shane Jackson is positive it will.

“In my view, pharmacist prescribing is imminent. There’s no reason we can’t have pharmacists prescribing,” he told AJP at APP2018.

“Most likely the first step would be collaborative prescribing, so in partnership with medical practitioners and within hospital institutions and others, by 2020. So prescribing by 2020 is absolutely achievable.

“We see that the Pharmacy Board is going to conduct a consultation forum in the middle of the year.

“There’s a number of processes that need to be undertaken, but it’s well within the scope of practice of pharmacists and under our competency framework to be able to prescribe so, there’s no reason we shouldn’t have it pretty shortly.”

This includes opportunities for S3s with certain conditions attached, for example, the oral contraceptive pill, medications for erectile dysfunction and triptans for migraine, he said.

As medicines experts, “it’s actually a travesty that pharmacists haven’t had prescribing rights,” he added.

The Pharmacy Practitioner Development Committee says it is currently working with the Pharmacy Board of Australia to canvass options for prescribing by pharmacists, which are consistent with the Health Professionals Prescribing Pathway and taking into account the Prescribing Competencies Framework.

Consultation with interested stakeholders is expected to take place in the first half of 2018.

A 2017 study on pharmacist prescribing showed that a clinical expert panel comprising GPs, general medicine doctors and doctors specialising in hypertension management, rated the vast majority of pharmacotherapy recommendations by pharmacists to be “appropriate”.

The Australian study concluded that there was potential for pharmacist prescribing with the necessary training and within the appropriate context, especially for health scenarios that were not complex.

It also identified the potential for pharmacist prescribing to provide seamless care, particularly around continuation of maintenance therapy or therapeutic adjustment (e.g. adjustment of doses).

“With an ageing population and under-resourced health system (GP shortages), the absence of a prescribing function is a contributor to poor patient management and specifically poor medication adherence,” said the authors, Associate Professor Beata Bajorek and Professor Ines Krass from UTS and the University of Sydney.

Dr Jackson thinks the decision just makes sense.

“Pharmacists are the most trained of any healthcare professional around medicines, so why shouldn’t we have pharmacists prescribing?” he says.

“We have optometrists prescribing, we have physiotherapists prescribing, and other groups.

“It’s a matter of showing the policymakers and the key decision makers around why having pharmacists prescribing will improve access to care and actually improve the quality of care.

“And that will come over time, but to my colleagues in the profession it’s imminent and there’s no reason it shouldn’t be in place by 2020.”

Previous AJP chats with... Stephanie Meiklejohn, Pharmacy Assistant of the Year 2017
Next Scope of practice 'contentious' but must grow: King

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  1. Gemma Collett

    Fantastic. Practical, sensible, simple, affordable and very bloody helpful. Bring it on! Please can we have more great changes like this across health, education, politics, everything?!

    • Red Pill

      🤣🤣🤣🤣 Gemma you’re being sarcastic right!
      Make sure you get the Guild to confirm this as a new scope of practice for pharmacists before you get so emotional. You’ll still be classified as a pharmacist and will be remunerated accordingly….ROFL

  2. Johnny Boy

    Be careful what you wish for? If Pharmacists start prescribing then Doctor’s can start dispensing medications. So I’d exercise some caution.

    • Jarrod McMaugh

      They do now.

      Not sure why this is always seen as a reason for pharmacists not to prescribe. Seems a very uninformed statement to make.

      • Johnny Boy

        Doctors don’t dispense medications. Why would you want to prescribe in the Pharmacy? Why would you want to take that extra responsibility? The pressing issue that needs round addressed is wage growth. The Guild has just made a case for Pharmacists not to be paid more than they are worth.
        Honestly if you want to prescribe medicines like a doctor then go take the GAMSAT and study medicine.

        • Jarrod McMaugh

          Oh wow now you’ve brought out all of the cliches.

          Not only doctors prescribe.

          Plenty of doctors dispense medcations

          There is plenty of precedent for it. Look at the evidence.

          You certainly seem very insecure.

          • Johnny Boy

            What evidence? Do you know what are writing about? Before making accusations about insecurity explain how Pharmacists should prescribe like doctors. Also why are you so keen to prescribe?

          • Andrew

            Pharmacists already prescribe, Johnny. It’s why we’re so often accused of conflict of interest.

          • Jarrod McMaugh

            There is plenty of evidence for the role of pharmacists as prescribers in jurisdictions outside of Australia, including in New Zealand, United Kingdom, and Canada.

            I am very familiar with what I am writing about.

            Doctors do dispense – there are a number of doctors where I am that currently dispense medications, plus complementary products. Perhaps they don’t in Roxburgh Park?

          • Johnny Boy

            Explain why you want to prescribe? You still don’t get it. Doctor’s don’t dispense. Giving out a few packets of medicine including complementary drugs doesn’t count as dispensing. What benefit is there for Pharmacists to prescribe? The case hasn’t been made.
            The Remuneration made in the Jurisdictions you have mentioned other than Canada is actually lower than in Australia. We should be looking at the US model for pharmacy. The future of Pharmacy is in retail not in prescribing new medicines.
            As I mentioned earlier if you want to prescribe go sit a GAMSAT.

  3. Raj Khatri

    $15 medical certificates
    $10 flu vaccines
    $5 prescriptions?
    Can’t wait 😈

  4. United we stand

    You’ve got to be kidding! What a joke this profession has become! Cancel your PSA membership people. Vote with your pockets. That’s the only language these people undrestand.

    PSA has turned into the Ghetto Police for the Guild, facilitating them to milk every dollar from their $28 monkeys. They keep on piling on more work for us without recognising the amount of training, professional responsibility and the time required to conduct these types of complex practices.

    It’s all great until you ask for appropriate remuneration. One says “We have no say in the matter”, the other says “But you’ve been trained for this! Off you go”. Absolutely ridiculous.

    Anyone with half an IQ can see right through these nasty tactics. If you’re excited about this and are merely an employee, you’re the biggest fool there is. Period

  5. Philip Smith

    Health minister Hunt has said we won’t be getting provider numbers anytime soon.
    So will be private/user pays system.

    We currently do prescribe, just not like doctors do in a private room, records kept, paperworks handed to the patient and paid for the consult. We hand it out over a counter, normally no records kepts and only paid when a product is sold.

    • United we stand

      Discount prescriptions will be the price war of 2020s… Cant get any better than this… .Smh

  6. Ian Carr

    The really good news is: Thanks to the government’s rejection of almost every King recommendation together with a complete lack of motivation by the supposed defenders of our professional status (AHPRA, state boards etc), we are unfettered in one area of prescribing: homeopathy. With a fee and a massive markup on distilled water, what’s to stop us? Ethics???

    • Andrew

      The bed has well and truly been shat –can’t really blame owners stepping up their CAM game.

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