The week in review


This week saw one of the most talked-about changes in pharmacy history finally take place: low-dose codeine is now Prescription Only

The mainstream media reported extensively on the upschedule, with one journalist revealing a groundswell of fury in the community, and another announcing he was stockpiling—and then doubling down on the controversial statement.

Doctor groups were keen to express their support for the upschedule, with the AMA‘s Dr Michael Gannon claiming the Pharmacy Guild‘s advocacy on codeine had shone a light on the extent of the problem and saying armies of people are dependent on the drug. Meanwhile, libertarian Senator David Leyonhjelm said the Federal Government should pave the way for cannabis to fill the gap left by codeine, and Amcal revealed the vast number of people suffering pain.

We’d like to know if you’re experiencing difficulty with angry customers who didn’t know the change was coming… tell us what’s happened in your pharmacy here and check out some advice here on how to handle them.

Those representing doctors weren’t as keen on the new Pain MedsChecks announced late last week by Health Minister Greg Hunt—though one did take to The Australian to express her frustration at the “turf war” between doctors and pharmacists.

Pharmacy students wrapped up a fantastic week in Sydney at the NAPSA Congress, and PSA‘s consultation on the My Health Record has begun.

In the US, the compounding pharmacist convicted of a number of counts relating to his role in the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak was sentenced to eight years’ prison. And speaking of compounding, the Pharmacy Board reminded the sector that another change came into effect on 1 February: a revised guidance, Compounding of sterile injectable medicines, has been incorporated into the Pharmacy Board’s Guidelines on compounding of medicines.

With so much going on, it’s no wonder that 40% of pharmacists say they’ve experienced burnout in the past, with another quarter going through it right now. If you’re one of them, or you’re distressed by angry codeine-seeking patients this month, talk to the Pharmacists’ Support Service on 1300 244 910.

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