The new Community Pharmacy Agreement will make it easier for Australia’s pharmacists to spend time providing expert health advice to customers rather than focusing on retail revenues.
The Pharmacy Guild represents the owners of community pharmacies around the country. Their reach into every community and large political donations make them more powerful than other lobby groups.
Prominent GP and former MP Kerryn Phelps has weighed into the doctor-pharmacist turf war, saying pharmacists shouldn’t prescribe because of their financial interests. But the evidence says otherwise.
Pharmacies are paid a set amount to dispense most medicines, so the more they dispense, the greater their income. But there’s a better way to pay pharmacists and improve health care at the same time.
You no longer have to go to your GP to get your flu shot or catch up on vaccinations you missed earlier in life or have waning immunity to. But they’re unlikely to be free.
If Australia follows international trends and allows supermarkets to open pharmacies, what are the effects on neighbouring pharmacies? And when does running a business mean health care suffers?
The ‘turf war’ between doctors and pharmacists we see in current debates has a long history.
Only pharmacists can own a pharmacy and you can’t set one up within 1.5km of an existing one. But calls to loosen these rules could give health companies a green light to set up more chemist chains.
Australians make an average of 14 visits to the pharmacy for medicines and advice every year but most don’t know about the agreement that governs how we buy government-subsidised medicines from them.
Despite calls for reform to make the pharmacy sector more competitive, governments are loath to take on the quietly-powerful Pharmacy Guild of Australia, the professional body for pharmacists.