The week in review

Greg Hunt speaks at the 2019 Pharmacy Guild parliamentary dinner

The Health Minister and Shadow Minister gave us their thoughts on pharmacy’s immediate future this week, as doctor attacks continue

The Tasmanian Health Minister, Sarah Courtney, announced the island state was expanding its measles catch-up vaccine program, including to pharmacy.

Doctors continue to tilt at the pharmacy sector, with AMA vice president Dr Chris Zappala penning a piece for the AMA’s Australian Medicine in which he said the Guild wants to “dispense/prescribe more of anything they can possibly get their hands on”. This stance was criticised by Pharmacy Guild NSW branch vice president Caroline Diamantis, who said it was “disappointing on so many levels”.

The AMA also said it will continue to lobby the Government for changes to pharmacy ownership and location rules, saying that pharmacists dispensing in general practice would be a “good outcome” for patients and that GP-owned dispensing pharmacists inside general practice clinics is world’s best practice.

One pharmacist was fined $100,000 after she was convicted of supplying “massive” quantities of prescription-only codeine to a patient on fraudulent scripts; while the TGA told us that two businesses were fined over their advertising.

AstraZeneca announced its plan to exit its exclusive-direct distribution arrangements and return supply of its PBS medicines to Symbion from 1 October.

And the Pharmacy Guild held its annual Parliamentary Dinner in Canberra on Tuesday night, where Health Minister Greg Hunt said there would be a guarantee in the 7CPA on risk share and took scrapping the location rules “off the table;” Opposition Health spokesman Chris Bowen queried the effectiveness of the controversial dollar discount; and Guild national president George Tambassis urged Federal, State and Territory governments to work together to promote pharmacists’ role, and ‘nurture’ the community pharmacy network.

Following last week’s discussion about paracetamol, we’d also like to hear what you think about the medicine. Do you support measures to help address overdose? Tell us here, in our latest poll.

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