The week in review

Chemist Warehouse Woden, September 2013.
Chemist Warehouse believes there is not enough competition under the current pharmacy model.

It was pharmacy hunting season this week, as GPs and writers took aim at the sector

First, Fairfax media ran a piece criticising pharmacy health checks, quoting a prominent RACGP member who said they posed some “dangers” to the public and accused pharmacy of being profit-driven.

Anthony Tassone set out the case for a wider scope of practice for pharmacists, and an end to the turf wars, while Amcal and Priceline defended the checks as valuable to patients and supportive of professional collaboration.

We also discovered that a lot of bulk-billing GPs are either leaving under-served areas where most patients expect to be bulk-billed, or turning away complex patients who need longer appointments… for financial reasons.

Then the Australian Financial Review waded in, following the news that EBOS had won the tender to take over from Sigma as the My Chemist/Chemist Warehouse group’s wholesaler (which means interesting times for Sigma). First, the AFR published a piece stating that the change revealed the market power of Chemist Warehouse, as well as the “irrelevance” of the ownership rules.

A second article attacked the ownership rules as irrelevant thanks to the “supermarket duck” Chemist Warehouse, amusing the Pharmacy Guild with its repeated ornithological references.

In other news, Choice pointed out 10 items available from pharmacy that customers should leave there; Fred IT was named by the Australian Digital Health Agency to lead a new project to explore the impact of digital health records in improving patient medication safety; and the TGA set out how the new landscape looks for those advertising therapeutic goods.

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