The week in review

It’s been a busy week in the pharmacy sector.

Health Minister Sussan Ley told Parliament that she strongly supports co-locating pharmacists in GP clinics.

“I’d like to have the pharmacist more involved in my general practice,” Ms Ley said. “Where I live is a low socioeconomic area; I would like to try having a pharmacist here every day, helping people manage their medicines.”

Ms Ley also announced the imminent start of the 6CPA diabetes trial.

But where are the rest of the pharmacy services trials? The Pharmacy Guild‘s David Quilty told us this week that the health sector urgently needs to get moving on these, given the time frames set out in the 6CPA.

“It is now 16 months into the five-year 6CPA and there is an urgent need to progress these elements of the agreement, with community pharmacies increasingly concerned about the slow rollout of the $50 million Pharmacy Trial Program and whether they will be able to access the $600 million for new and expanded pharmacy programs from 1 July 2017,” he wrote in Forefront.

Remuneration, of course, remains an issue. This week PPA took aim at Chemist Warehouse, wondering why, despite its insistence in its King Review submission, the discounting giant pays its employee pharmacists less than other pharmacies despite high workloads.

“It’s up to Chemist Warehouse to explain why it pays its pharmacists less than the rest,” PPA’s Matt Harris told the AJP.

Money’s not just tight here in Australia: the UK community pharmacy sector is having its own problems, as a stoush with the Government continues over funding cuts; meanwhile a new minor ailments service undertaken by pharmacy won’t attract any more cash, we learned this week.

Doctors, meanwhile, remain worried about the MBS freeze, with one pointing out that higher out-of-pocket costs for consumers could lead to unfilled scripts.

They also defended their submission to the King Review, claiming they have no interest in a “turf war” between doctors and pharmacists.

And this week we learned that a pharmacy institution, Marie Ritchie, will be stepping down as Company Secretary of PDL and the Australian Pharmaceutical Publishing Company later this year. From everyone at APPCo, thank you for your many years of service and support, Marie—we’ll miss you.

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