Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist October 2014 Contents Australian Pharmacist October 2014 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
Rigby returned to NPS
Former PSA national Vice President and
consultant pharmacist Debbie Rigby
from Brisbane has been reappointed
to the NPS MedicineWise Board for
a third and final three-year term.
NPS MedicineWise Chair Dr Janette
Randall said: 'Debbie has been a strong
performer for NPS MedicineWise
and continually demonstrates her
breadth of experience and widespread
knowledge of the pharmacy sector.
Her public profile and extensive
networks across both pharmacy and
the broader health sectors are of
significant benefit to the board.'
Indigenous life expectancy
Indigenous Australians have a life
expectancy 10 years lower than
non-Indigenous Australians, according
to a report released by the Australian
Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW)
last month. The report, Mortality
and life expectancy of Indigenous
Australians 2008 to 2012, shows that
the latest estimated life expectancy
at birth for Indigenous males was
69.1, and for females it was 73.7 years.
This was 10.6 and 9.5 years lower than
the life expectancy of non-Indigenous
males and females respectively.
Sigma buys DDS
Sigma Pharmaceuticals Limited has
purchased Discount Drug Stores (DDS)
for $26.7m, adding 121 pharmacies
to its network. DDS will sit within
Sigma's subsidiary, Central Healthcare
Services (CHS), itself purchased earlier
in the year and which operated as
a stand-alone business. Combined,
CHS and DDS is expected to add more
than $400m in new revenue, according
to Sigma. The acquisition was funded
from existing cash resources and is a
'natural fit' which broadens Sigma's
customer profile, Sigma CEO Mark
Debate call on pharmacists
Pharmacists, doctors and other health
professionals need a serious and
objective discussion on the future role
of pharmacists in the health system.
National Vice President of the
Pharmaceutical Society of Australia,
Joe Demarte, called for the discussion
in response to calls by the Australian
Medical Association (AMA) President,
Associate Professor Brian Owler, for the
Government to immediately rule out
any arrangement to fund pharmacists
to provide health checks, particularly for
The Consumers Health Forum (CHF) also
called for debate around pharmacists'
role in primary care.
Mr Demarte said: 'This position by
the AMA must acknowledge that
the community has invested heavily
in developing wide-ranging skills in
pharmacists but we are not fully utilising
those skills to improve the health
outcomes of people in the community.
Pharmacists as part of their core practice
have been dealing with minor ailments
for decades, and this has relieved
pressure on GPs.
'GPs are under great strain at the
moment and many patients can wait
days or even weeks for an appointment
with their doctor, while pharmacists
who have the skills and knowledge to
help are not being utilised.'
Mr Demarte said it was simplistic to
dismiss the suggestion that pharmacists
play a greater role in the health system
as a turf war between doctors and the
'What we need is mature and evidence-
informed discussion about maximising
the potential of pharmacists to
work with doctors and other health
practitioners to meet consumer
health needs, relieve the strains
on the health budget and improve
the health outcomes of consumers,'
Mr Demarte said.
'Pharmacists do not want to take over
the role of doctors, and to reduce
discussion about our future role to
that level is a disservice to doctors,
pharmacists and the Australian public'
CHF CEO Adam Stankevicius said that
it is well recognised that pharmacists
played an essential role as frontline
health professionals who provided
timely expert advice on medicines
and aspects of healthcare. Further, in a
submission to a Victorian Parliamentary
Committee Inquiry, CHF had been
broadly supportive of expanding their
scope of practice.
'CHF believes that consumers benefit
from, and appreciate, the ease of
access, and the personalised services
such as medication management and
vaccinations, that they can get from
pharmacists in the community without
waiting for a GP appointment. It is
essential, however, that such services
be provided in a safe, confidential
environment, with necessary follow
up or referral where required.'
Mr Stankevicius said.
The CHF agreed with AMA that the
transparent Medical Services Advisory
Committee (MSAC) process was the
appropriate place for the consideration
of government funding for such
services, 'not the secretive Community
Pharmacy Agreement negotiations'.
'Further discussion and analysis of this
proposal is clearly required, particularly
about whether any changes would
lead to additional out of pocket costs
for consumers. More broadly, the
professions, government and consumers
need a transparent nationwide
discussion on the best way to deliver
primary care services'.
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