The week in review


It was a week for controversy, with vaccination and whether the location rules should be relaxed making news

Western Australia‘s Health Minister Roger Cook announced that the state would follow Tasmania in enabling accredited pharmacists to vaccinate children as young as 10 against the flu… a move not welcomed by RACGP WA Faculty Chair Dr Sean Stevens, who aired concerns about the cold chain. At the same time, authorities in NSW were trying to get in touch with thousands of patients vaccinated by two GPs, who had improperly stored their vaccines, to consider re-vaccination.

The mainstream media reported widely on the results of a Chemist Warehouse survey of 325 people, which showed rural and regional people were driving long distances to have scripts filled at discount pharmacies in other towns. One article, by News Corp health reporter Sue Dunlevy, was particularly critical of the Guild, prompting national president George Tambassis to call it a “misleading shameless beat-up”.

Meanwhile Chemist Warehouse’s Mario Tascone criticised the Guild’s stance on script prices and called for relaxation of the location rules to facilitate discounters moving into smaller towns; and former ACCC boss Graeme Samuel, who was interviewed by several journalists, told one radio show host that the continued success and market push of discount pharmacies was inevitable. The ABC also focused on Mr Tambassis, listing him among “10 of the most powerful Australians you’ve likely never heard of”.

We heard from rental expert Phil Chapman, who says pharmacy owners should be negotiating lower rents in line with drops in sales; the PSA‘s NSW branch again called for real time monitoring following the release of the state Budget; and Painaustralia launched its new national pain strategy.

We discovered that community pharmacists may lack confidence and a fully developed professional identity. And we learned how Victoria‘s new Voluntary Assisted Dying laws, which came into effect Wednesday, will involve pharmacists.

The Pharmacy Guild announced the name of their new executive director: Suzanne Greenwood, who will take over the role later this year; and Priceline Pharmacy Horsham was named Priceline Pharmacy of the Year by the banner group… congratulations to all!

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