The week in review

It’s been a week of doctors versus pharmacists, with GPs taking to the media to accuse pharmacy of bullying, profit-seeking and administering old vaccines

There was a flurry of attacks on the pharmacy sector from doctors, with the Australian Medical Association forming a working group to lobby the Morrison Government to relax the ownership and location rules, permitting pharmacies to be owned by and located in GP surgeries.

United General Practice Australia also got together to condemn the Pharmacy Guild‘s new policy paper, calling the group’s stance on scope of practice a “relentless push to increase pharmacy profits”.

While Health Minister Greg Hunt said there were no plans to change pharmacy ownership, Dr Chris Zappala, vice president of the Australian Medical Association, told the ABC that pharmacies co-located in and owned by GP surgeries would provide more convenience for patients than traditional community pharmacies. The Guild’s Anthony Tassone rejected the remarks and said that due to the location rules, access to pharmacy was already better than access to GP services.

AMA national president Dr Tony Bartone appeared on ABC Nightlife and claimed that not only was the pharmacy sector bullying Mr Hunt, pharmacists had been administering flu vaccines from a previous year—a claim soundly rejected by the Guild, which called it a slur, and the PSA, which demanded a retraction and apology.

The Rural Pharmacy Network of Australia‘s take is that both the Guild and the doctor groups need to take a “cold bath”.

Thanks to the Penington Institute, we took a disturbing look at the picture of unintentional overdose death in Australia; and the US reported its first vaping-related death, though experts are divided on its cause. We learned that PI documents for DOACs are being updated with new information about increased risk of recurrent thrombotic events in one group of patients. And J&J says it will appeal a US court decision that it breached Oklahoma public nuisance law in promoting opioid products while downplaying their risks and overstating their efficacy

In business news, MedAdvisor reported “record” revenue in its financial results for the 12-month period ending 30 June 2019; Australian Pharmaceutical Industries and SiSU Health Group announced a five-year extension to their exclusive partnership; and we discovered that Chemist Warehouse is indeed set to flat, but not likely until late 2020.

And the profession lost an “elder statesman of community pharmacy”—vale John Matthews.

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