The week in review

Josh Frydenberg rolls up his sleeve for his flu shot at the Scott McLaren Pharmacy.
Josh Frydenberg rolls up his sleeve for his flu shot at the Scott McLaren Pharmacy.

As the May 18 Federal election draws ever closer, politics—and politicians—were making headlines in pharmacy this week

Health Minister Greg Hunt and Shadow Health spokesperson Catherine King pitched their health policies and answered questions at a Canberra debate this week: including one about whether they would reconsider the proposal to double script lengths for some molecules.

Meanwhile the Coalition promised it would lower the threshold whereby patients can access the Safety Net, a promise matched by Labor. And one PSA councillor, Shane MacDonald, seized opportunity with both hands when he met Scott Morrison, telling the PM all about the PSA’s Pharmacists in 2023 report and the profession more widely.

And Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg was the latest pollie to head to community pharmacy for his flu vaccine… amid concerns from doctors that their free vaccines have not yet been rolled out.

In legal news, the Pharmacy Guild and Ramsay Health Care legal teams presented their arguments over the validity of Ramsay ownership arrangements in the Supreme Court of NSW in Sydney; and the largest fine ever imposed on an individual for offences under the National Law in Australia for holding out was handed to a physiotherapist.

And doctors are still taking swings at pharmacists: two weeks after the Queensland Government announced it would trial a statewide pilot whereby pharmacists could provide short-term treatment for acute UTIs as well as the oral contraceptive pill under certain circumstances, the AMA‘s Dr Tony Bartone declared that pharmacists working in community pharmacies should never prescribe. Also this week, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard rejected undertaking such a trial in NSW.

The AMA also lauded recent TGA data on codeine, saying it proves the “pharmacy lobby” wrong.

We spoke to Anthony Tassone on the use of the term “professional services”. We took a look at the results of Australia’s second ever pill testing trial, which took place in Canberra last weekend. And we looked at a new report which suggests that pharmacists can help carry the GP load.

And Monash University honoured the lives of four studentsAlan Crawford CouveEric Simson BissetWallace Gordon Jewkes and Malcolm Jones, who lost their lives fighting in World War I, by conferring posthumous degrees upon them. Lest we forget.

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