‘Change the damn colour of folate tablets already’: best reader comments


AJP takes a look back at this week’s best reader comments

Our article on methotrexate, highlighting that patients have been taking the drug daily rather than weekly as prescribed, attracted concern.

“I did a HMR on a patient who had just started weekly MTX for a severe skin condition prescribed by a dermatologist in a hospital,” commented Drugby.

“She had started taking the MTX daily and was only going to take folic acid once weekly—mixed them up. Turned out she was illiterate and going on memory. Serendipitous HMR.”

Robert asked, “How can this still happen? I have had a ‘thing’ about methotrexate (and others) since the early 60s—where are we missing out in that we, as a profession, can allow these errors to reach the patient?”

And reader Kate had a simple suggestion: “Change the damn colour of folate tablets already.

“Surely having two drugs that are exactly the same colour and approximate size (even though they’re a different shape) not shared by 99% of other medications isn’t helping.”

In this week’s Wednesday opinion piece, Charnwood Capital Chemist’s Samantha Kourtis shared her opinion on the uptake of codeine monitoring tool MedsASSIST, telling us that pharmacies who don’t take it up are not only doing nothing to help patients who have problems with pain and/or codeine misuse, but also undermining the credibility of community pharmacy.

“Can’t agree enough with Samantha about EVERYONE getting on board,” wrote PharmOwner.

“If only some pharmacies use MedsAssist, it doesn’t take long for word to get around about which pharmacies to go to where you don’t have to show your ID.”

PharmOwner commented that they have already discovered a patient buying Nurofen Plus on a weekly basis from pharmacies in different postcodes.

“The purported reason each time according to MedsAssist was period pain. I’m not sure what the pharmacy prior to mine thought about a patient having weekly periods.

“I refused the sale, advised the young lady why (concerned about what that amount of ibuprofen was doing to her GIT and kidneys), offered her alternatives and contacted her GP to advise of the OTC purchases so that the GP was kept in the loop.”

William Hau Kin So commented that a regular Nurofen Plus customer, who bought the medicine from his pharmacy on the 15th of every month, was revealed by MedsASSIST to be buying them every week.

“After I offer to speak with his GP about better pain management, he had NOT SHOWED up for 2 months now.”

And David Howarth added that codeine does come through the dispensary already in Queensland. “S3 goes into a basket in the script queue and is done when is got to. Prices are decently high too.”

“Good point David—MedsASSIST is effectively achieving this now in my pharmacy,” replied Samantha.

“QLD has already demonstrated that this can be effectively managed as a S3R with MedsASSIST creating transparency across multiple purchases.”

And Jarrod McMaugh had something to say about our article on the Consumers Health Forum’s call for a single MBS/PBS safety net and the integration of pharmacists in general practice. The article also highlighted CHF’s opposition to the current ownership and location rules.

“It’s interesting the consumer groups don’t understand the purpose of regulation,” Jarrod commented.

“Too often, consumer groups underestimate the risks associated with the delivery of a professional service by businesses that aren’t qualified, and overestimate the ability of the consumer to make informed decisions about safety and actual need for that service.

“If pharmacy ownership rules open to anyone, there’ll be quite the land-rush of groups joining ownership ranks. What percentage of those in the rush are going to be doing it with ‘improved consumer outcomes’ as their top priority?”

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