The week in review


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It’s been a busy week in pharmacy, with change on the horizon and potential changes suggested from several quarters

We heard that Queensland will look into a range of issues in the pharmacy sector, including pharmacist prescribing, ownership rules and the establishment of a Pharmacy Council; perhaps predictably, GPs aren’t too keen on the possibilities which could arise around prescribing. 

Pharmacists have been told to get ready for the My Health Record network, while the PSA launched the Australian Pharmaceutical Formulary and Handbook 24thedition (APF24) and the new digital APF.

We looked at some high-profile inquests this week, including that concerning the death of Adelaide woman Claudia La Bella, who died after ingesting huge amounts of laxatives over a long period. The coroner supported the version of events of a pharmacist who had not been consulted at all over the bulk purchases, and recommended that laxatives be rescheduled S3 in order to involve pharmacists in recommendation and sales of the products.

Meanwhile, a joint inquest into four recent deaths was held in the Coroners Court of Queensland resulting in a call to the Queensland Department of Health to “urgently consider and determine” how a real time monitoring system could be implemented “at the earliest opportunity, but certainly within the next two years”.

Flu is still in the news, with some states reportedly rationing vaccines due to unprecedented demand, and outgoing AMA president Dr Michael Gannon admitting that pharmacist flu vaccines were better than patients not being vaccinated at all. We heard that more flu doses are on their way into the country due to the shortage; perhaps it’s due to the over-65s reportedly having both the high-strength trivalent and the quadrivalent vaccines.

And stakeholders including the RACGP and CHOICE have been lobbying Senators not to pass legislation which would, they say, allow “dangerous and misleading” CM claims.

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