The week in review

Georgina Twomey speaks at the Cairns public hearing. Image courtesy Pharmacy Guild of Australia.
Georgina Twomey speaks at the Cairns public hearing. Image courtesy Pharmacy Guild of Australia.

The relationship with doctors and the ongoing issue of medicines shortages were big issues in pharmacy this week…

We learned that most AJP readers support the concept of pharmacists working in GP surgeries, with the majority believing this work will help them gain respect and recognition as medicines experts. Meanwhile, one GP has written about the importance of collaboration with pharmacists… but also referred to the “ceaseless ambition of some pharmacist groups” for working to the full scope of their practice. This prompted PSA national president Dr Shane Jackson to point out that health care is “not a hierarchy”.

Health Minister Greg Hunt lauded legislation which passed earlier this week, aimed at making it easier to navigate medicines shortages, as “a hard-line approach to ensuring patients aren’t kept in the dark”.

But the legislation doesn’t go far enough according to wholesalers, who said that dependence on sole distribution due to exclusive-direct supply from manufacturers to pharmacies still poses shortage-related problems.

The TGA has announced the next steps in its consultation on strong opioids; the Board increased its fees for 2018-19; PDL warned pharmacists to pay close attention to Atropine scripts; and we learned that sildenafil will stay Prescription Only.

Talking of scheduling, a committee is considering whether some paracetamol products should go S3.

We also reported on the wrapup of public hearings being held as part of the Queensland Pharmacy Inquiry. Coming out of the hearings there was a great deal of discussion about who should own pharmacies, and we’d like to know what you think. Tell us in our poll, here.

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