Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist April 2015 Contents Australian Pharmacist April 2015 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
It would be easy to dismiss the 2015 Intergenerational Report (IGR) as an
‘us and them’ political exercise in crystal ball gazing. Judging from the
hysterical comments in the media many people have done just that.
The Treasurer, Joe Hockey said the IGR
provides the information needed to
prepare for the future and ensures we are
well placed to address the demographic
changes that Australia faces.
‘It helps us identify where the future
opportunities will be. Australians are living
longer, healthier lives and we have one of
the longest life expectancies in the world,’
Mr Hockey said.
Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen was less
positive and claimed it had more hot air
than the Hindenburg.
Writing in Crikey, Dr Richard Denniss,
Executive Director of the Australia
Institute said that Joe Hockey and Treasury
had ‘forecast what would happen in
2055 under the most implausible of
assumptions and scenarios, including, for
example, that ALP or Coalition policies
from 2013 remain unchanged for 40 years.’
Hot air or not, the IGR presents a golden
opportunity for pharmacy to be part of
The report highlights that we have an
ageing population. There’s nothing
new in that. According to the IGR in
2054–55 there will be around 40,000
people aged over 100 years, compared to
122 Australian centenarians in 1974–75.
In 2055 I’ll be 101 years old, if I stay around
that long (my grandmother lived to 104 so
The obvious message for pharmacy here
is that it should continue to shout loud
and long about the worth of medication
review services and pharmacist delivered
health services for older people.
The Report estimates that by 2055 the
population will reach 39.7 million and
there will be 2.7 people aged between
15 and 64 for every one person aged over
65, half the number there is today.
What it doesn’t spell out specifically is the
link between increasing levels of chronic
illness and an ageing population.
Australian Self Medication Industry
Executive Director Deon Schoombie hit
nail on the head when he said that the
IGR points to the need to reorient the
healthcare system towards prevention
of the many lifestyle diseases forecast to
drive spiralling cost increases in Australia’s
healthcare system during the next
And someone has to provide preventive
health support and services. Pharmacy
needs to stake its claim – again, and again.
Every pharmacy organisation official
should go and visit their local MP
(state and federal) to say – ‘I’m from the
pharmacy. I’m here to help!’ Ah... that’s
right the Pharmacy Guild did that in
The IGR provides more ammunition for
the pharmacy profession to build on the
success of the vaccination trial and other
pharmacy health services.
The second message was, according to
Medicines Australia (MA), that the IGR
joins a growing body of evidence that
demonstrates the sustainability of the
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
The Report forecasts that in today’s
dollars, health spending per person will
more than double from around $2,800 to
MA CEO, Tim James said that as
the Australian population ages it’s
imperative that universal access to
innovative medicines remains available
to keep people productive, healthy and
independent. He also welcomed the explicit
acknowledgement that new medicines and
other biotechnology has the potential to
provide further dramatic improvements in
Surely pharmacists’ role in ensuring
Quality Use of Medicines must grow as
the population ages and the incidence of
chronic disease in the community increases.
The squeaky wheel gets the oil, a point
not lost on PSA National President Grant
Kardachi who said that using pharmacists
can help contain increasing health
costs forecast by the Report and help
to maximise the health outcomes for
‘As a nation we have to stop talking about
using the skills of pharmacists better and
starting acting to ensure these skills help to
maintain a more sustainable health system,’
forward to a birthday card from someone
important, having regular medication
reviews from a friendly pharmacist and
enjoying sing‐alongs at the 100 and over
club with the other centenarians. Imagine
that – ‘do we have to sing Stairway to
heaven again... how about Highway to hell!
No way am I chair‐dancing to Nutbush City
Limits when I’m 101 years old.
Adding steps to
the stairway to
BY ANDREW DANIELS
» CANBERRA COMMENTARY
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