The week in review

Cate's Chemist staff brave the wet to go to work. Image: Cate's Chemist via Facebook.
Cate's Chemist staff brave the wet to go to work. Image: Cate's Chemist via Facebook.

The pharmacy stakeholder bodies have been busy this week, with pre-Budget submissions, warnings to members and the #10YearChallenge

The Allied Health Reference Group of the Medicare Benefits Schedule Review Taskforce released a document containing several recommendations: including the establishment an item to allow pharmacists to provide medication management services to patients with complex care requirements. This move was welcomed by the PSA.

Dr Chris Freeman, PSA’s national president, spoke about pharmacy’s ten-year challenge—drawing on the recent viral social media phenomenon—and looked at how the last decade has affected the sector. Pharmacists and stakeholders are still discussing the issue of longer-length scripts; now the Guild’s David Quilty has waded in, decrying recent suggestions as “lunacy”.

The Guild has also been busy this week: national president George Tambassis warned members about recent cases of unapproved pharmacies dispensing medicines and claiming PBS reimbursement separately through an approved pharmacy; and we also took a look at the Guild’s pre-Budget submission, where it calls on Federal Government to remove the optional $1 discount and reduce PBS/RPBS co-payments by $1 for all patients across the board.

Meanwhile NSW Guild president David Heffernan spoke out against “five-minute medicine” and the out-of-pocket cost of medicines; and the Guild told members that the Department of Health Compliance team is conducting a review of PBS claiming, focusing on multiple payments for identical PBS items.

In grass-roots news, the Choice Pharmacy group attracted some media and doctor attention for offering over-the-counter pill testing kits (along with a hefty dose of counselling). And pharmacists, pharmacy assistants, medical practitioners and disaster responders all pulled together in flood-ravaged Townsville to help locals retain access to their medicines. Best wishes to all affected readers from all of us here at the AJP.

Lastly, in its pre-Budget submission, the PSA called for a number of changes, including the establishment of a role for an Australian chief pharmacist. We’d like to know what you think about that—tell us in our poll here.

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