Government ignores recommendations from pharmacy review

Doug Hendrie

8/05/2018 10:57:08 AM

The RACGP is disappointed at the ‘squandered opportunity’ for the Federal Government to make necessary reforms to the pharmacy sector.

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The RACGP believes the pharmacy review represents a missed opportunity for change.

The Government-commissioned Review of Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation was designed to ‘ensure that consumers continue to have reliable and affordable access to medicines’.
However, only six out of 37 recommendations by the independent review panel have been accepted by the Federal Government in its official response and, of those, three are only accepted ‘in principle’.
RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel said the Government had missed an opportunity for genuine change.
‘It’s concerning that the Government hasn’t taken up recommendations from its own reviewers  to shift pharmacies away from a retail focus,’ he told newsGP.
‘The Government response appears to support the existing retail model of community pharmacy.
‘While the RACGP is disappointed in the Government’s failure to take a stand on certain issues, there are a number of recommendations where the Government has acknowledged the importance of an efficient primary healthcare system.’  
The panel recommended expanding the role of community-based pharmacists, that these services should be remunerated equally where services are provided by multiple health professionals, such as vaccinations.
The RACGP strongly opposes this recommendation and welcomes the Government’s interest in avoiding duplication of care. The Government has stipulated multiple times that any extension of a pharmacist’s role in providing a clinical service that could potentially duplicate an existing Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS)-funded service would require formal assessment by the Medical Services Advisory Committee on the proposal’s safety and cost-effectiveness.
Both the RACGP and the review panel took the position that regulations about ownership and location of community pharmacies were stifling competition and limiting potential improvements.
‘While the Government has noted these recommendations about ownership and location, there appears to be limited intentions to address the issues,’ Dr Seidel said. 
In addition, the Government noted (but did not accept) the review panel’s recommendations that medicines should be clearly separated from complementary medicines and that homeopathic remedies not be permitted to be sold at pharmacies.
‘The RACGP believes that Government could and should do more to protect patients from being misled by non-evidence based health claims,’ Dr Seidel said.
The review panel’s recommendation that the Government should support an integrated electronic prescription system was accepted.
The review, led by Professor Stephen King, began in November 2015 and was delayed several times before being finalised and released last week.

federal-government pharmacist pharmacy-review submission

Richard Smith   25/05/2018 2:37:01 PM

"The review panel’s recommendation that the Government should support an integrated electronic prescription system was accepted"
Hence, replace pharmacists with electronic dispensing machines and use the electronic script as the instigator.


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