The week in review

Pharmacy was left in the cold this week when it comes to support… but we also heard stories of how the sector is supporting others

The Federal Government gave its official response to Petition EN1509, which had called for hazard allowance or tax relief for pharmacists and other health workers: Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar said there’d be no additional support. Meanwhile Pharmacy Guild Victorian branch president Anthony Tassone said it was “absolutely perverse” that pharmacies have to consider the choice of dispensing high cost drugs that may impact on their eligibility for funding support.

The research team behind the 2019 UTS Community Pharmacy Barometer told us that the 7CPA could let community pharmacists down when it comes to professional services. We discovered that patients who use discount pharmacies have a poorer perception of the service there… and lower medicines compliance.

Opioids were highlighted, with the Pharmacy Guild‘s Tasmanian branch director John Dowling noting that dependence can start innocuously, following the release of figures from the Penington Institute showing they continue to be the primary drug group associated with unintentional drug-induced deaths… and a high proportion are pharmaceutical opioids. Pharmacists from the Pharmacy 777 network told the AJP some of their stories in this space.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt highlighted new data that show record GP bulk billing rates for the 2019/20 financial year, saying this and the uptake of emergency telehealth measures demonstrated a successful strategy to remove health care barriers during the COVID-19 crisis.

We looked at a new framework suggested for pharmacists to help them manage how they sell complementary medicines, from UQ‘s Dr Adam La Caze and Amber Salman Popattia.

And congratulations to everyone involved with getting electronic prescriptions off the ground, including the Alice Springs Pharmacy, which dispensed the Northern Territory’s first electronic prescription this week… which means the system is now across all states and territories.

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