The week in review

Business woes, legal drama and downschedule decisions… what happened in pharmacy this week?

Early in the week we heard from the Pharmacy Guild that some community pharmacies are doing it tough during the pandemic, with some even reporting a 90% downturn on trade compared to the previous year.

“The clear message we have is that some pharmacies are barely hanging on and without federal government assistance may not be open at all,” said Guild Victorian branch president Anthony Tassone.

This week, Consumer Healthcare Products (CHP) Australia called for a common ailments scheme for community pharmacies across Australia in its Supplementary 2020-21 Pre-Budget Submission.

Its recommendation was based on research that calculated over $1.6 billion could be saved nationwide by shifting up to 27.5 million combined ED and GP services for common ailments over to the pharmacy space.

We heard that, sadly, the UTS Innovative Pharmacist of the Year award has been postponed due to COVID-19. And complementary medicine giant Blackmores signalled it is to cut about 10% of its workforce in Australia and New Zealand as it responds to “unprecedented disruption due to COVID-19”.

A locum pharmacist and a pharmacy recruiter shared their stories of how the pandemic has been impacting those working between states through border restrictions and ongoing lockdowns.

There was a string of pharmacy robberies and pharmacy-related crimes in our latest crime roundup; a doctor appealed his suspension; and a British pharmacist was found fit to practise after making inappropriate comments to a trainee dispenser, though with conditions on his registration.

Ranitidine is set to remain an S3 medicine, while the TGA decided to downschedule migraine and acne treatments. Meanwhile a proposal has been made to the TGA for combination asthma inhalers to be downscheduled to S3 for ‘as needed’ use.

And the National Asthma Council Australia has launched the latest edition of the Australian Asthma Handbook V2.1  – which outlines major new recommendations.

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