The week in review

A Project Wing drone over Queanbeyan. Image: Project Wing
A Project Wing drone over Queanbeyan. Image: Project Wing

It’s been a busy week, with several pieces of legislation affecting pharmacy

The guarantee to preserve existing pharmacy location rules was among several measures tabled in Federal Parliament this week, and voluntary assisted dying came a step closer in Victoria, as the legislation passed the lower house.

And still in Victoria, legislation passed through Parliament to allow a real time monitoring system for drugs of concern to be rolled out by 2018.

The codeine debate rolls on: the SHPA has come out in support of the upschedule, while the Pharmacy Guild has asked doctors to stop “hurling abuse” following the latest article critical of pharmacy and the Guild by News Corp reporter Sue Dunlevy. An RACP representative penned a piece for Croakey calling on pharmacists to work with doctors to “ensure that treatment optimisation and patient safety are prioritised ahead of commercial interests”. And AMA president Dr Michael Gannon said the Guild’s MedsASSIST program was “currently inadequate“.

And talking of opioids, NSW researchers have quantified the true picture of total opioid use in Australia for the first time.

The World Self Medication industry conference was held in Sydney, where it was revealed that pharmacists don’t have good awareness of continued dispensing, and where Health Minister Greg  Hunt said that pharmacists are at the front line of ensuring access to OTC medicines.

Sigma settled its dispute over product sourcing with Chemist Warehouse—which is involved in a drone delivery trial. Victoria announced that it’s almost reached the 95% vaccination target for five-year-olds needed for herd immunity. And confirmed flu notifications passed the 200,000 mark.

And new statistics revealed three million people accessed Medicare-subsidised mental health-specific services in 2015–16 alone… during which time 36 million prescriptions for mental health-related medications were provided to four million patients.

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