The week in review

A stoush over whether pharmacists are offering the wrong flu vaccine took place this week, as the sector continues its focus on vaccination

Medical Observer columnist Dr Pam Rachootin, an Adelaide-based GP, claimed that pharmacists were giving patients aged over 65 the “wrong” vaccine and questioning their ethics… sparking a new chapter in the turf war between doctors and pharmacists. The AMA‘s Dr Chris Moy said that “this is a conflict of interest issue,” while the Pharmacy Guild‘s Trent Twomey and Anthony Tassone called for inconsistencies across jurisdictions around access to the National Immunisation Program to be addressed urgently. “Many choose to have the under-65 vaccine because they cannot make an appointment to see their GP,” Professor Twomey said.

The story was picked up by interstate media, including the Herald-Sun and Channel Seven Perth, prompting the Guild’s WA Branch President Andrew Ngeow to say that the story was misleading, as it did not note that WA has vaccine access under the NIP for pharmacists. “Quite simply, there is no weaker vaccine, only approved vaccines,” he said.

Meanwhile ahead of Tasmania‘s state election this weekend, Shadow Health Minister and former RACGP head Dr Bastian Seidel called for full scope of practice for pharmacists, and better vaccination access as Labor pledged to support after-hours pharmacy services.

Still in vaccination news, the TGA announced that there have been three new clotting disorder cases associated with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

The UTS Pharmacy Barometer 2020 found that confidence in community pharmacy is at an all-time high… but pay isn’t, with employee pharmacists feeling the pinch. The Barometer also found that nearly 70% of pharmacists surveyed said that payment for the clinical interventions program should have been retained in the 7CPA.

Roy Morgan looked at how well Australians rate 30 professions for “ethics and honesty,” and pharmacists came in third, after nurses and doctors… though almost all professions did suffer a drop in trust (journalists did not do well, with TV reporters 10th from the bottom, and newspaper journalists thirteenth from the bottom). But pharmacists, as well as other health workers facing the public, are experiencing burnout thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, a study published in PLOS One found.

Sigma CEO Mark Hooper stepped down from the job after more than a decade. Global Therapeutics was pinged $119,880 after being issued nine infringement notices issued by the TGA for alleged unlawful advertising of complementary medicines. The much-discussed possible Chemist Warehouse initial public offer might be a step closer.

And Australia’s first active scripts list was launched, by the Fred IT Group.

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