It’s been a busy week for reader comments, with hot topics including our report on prescription overdose deaths, Ramsay Health Care looking to operate community pharmacies, and whether or not pharmacists are “greedy and capitalistic”
Many of our readers reacted with suspicion to our report that Ramsay Health Care is set to launch a big push into the operation of community pharmacies.
“How do they plan to get around the ownership rules for community pharmacy?” asked David Haworth.
“They are a publicly listed company. They are not able to own community pharmacies. If they are allowed to do so, then we have deregulation.”
Alison Claxton suggested that Ramsay intends a “Banner group with ‘franchise’ model – individual Pharmacist owners under their name?”
But Pharmacist wasn’t particularly convinced by that, suspecting that the model might look different: “Each store has a ‘pharmacist’ owner under a company. Their staff never see this owner, just a head office person who runs around and keeps the stores in check. All purchasing is centralised.”
We also reported that on Wednesday’s Overdose Awareness Day, health stakeholders were again calling for a nationwide real-time monitoring system.
Reader Andrew highlighted the evidence to support legalisation of medicinal marijuana, citing a 25% reduction in opioid overdoses in US states where it is legally accessible.
Simon O’Halloran cheekily asked, “But what about all of the marijuana overdoses?” before explaining that while “not without harms, it is that far down the harm scale compared to alcohol, prescription opioids and benzodiazepines that it raises the question why Australia is dragging the chain re: legislature of medicinal cannabis.
“People still subscribe to the whole ‘reefer madness’ theory of decades ago which seems to be getting in the way of any progress in this space,” he wrote.
Readers Peter Bayly and beefarmer also queried to what extent deaths due to narcotic overdose were accidental, hinting that some of these deaths could be suicide.
We also reported on the first few publicly available submissions to the King Review, including one by retired WA pharmacist Ron Dymock, who said that since restrictions were abandoned which limited WA-registered pharmacists to ownership of two pharmacies, “several pharmacists have succumbed to GREED and OVERT rampant capitalism and are not really ‘dinkum’ practising pharmacists at all”.
Andrew said that Dymock was “spot on”.
“I’d suggest the problem is so widespread that most of us could name an individual that fits the description,” he wrote.
“Heck, I can think of at least three—like the one owner salvaging statins from the RUM bin in the early 2000’s, or the other guy who was using expired PCCA ingredients ‘because there’s half a container left and it’s very expensive’.”
And reader Still a Pharmacist said that pharmacy owners were only in it “just to make more money”.
“If this is allowed why not Coles or Woolworths? At least as big organizations, they will offer proper working environment for the pharmacist who is the in charge of their pharmacy,” they wrote.