Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist January 2016 Contents Australian Pharmacist January 2016 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
As we roll into 2016 it is worth taking the time to look ahead at the events
and issues likely to impact on pharmacists in the coming months.
The big one for everyone, not just
pharmacy, is of course, the federal election
which is due some time in 2016. While it
looks like Malcolm Turnbull has revived the
Government’s fortunes single-handedly,
who knows what will happen between
now and Election Day.
The 2015 Pharmacy Guild dinner held at
the end of November – just over a month
ago – provided a glimpse of what is in
store for pharmacy in 2016. Federal Health
Minister Sussan Ley gave a pretty good run
down of the various reviews in the broader
health area that will impact on pharmacy
in 2016, and there is a bucket load of them.
Minister Ley specifically mentioned,
The MBS review headed by Professor
Bruce Robinson; the Primary Care
Advisory Group review headed by
Dr Steve Hambleton; the Mental Health
Commission report and subsequent
Mental Health Expert Reference Group;
the consultative review into Private
Health Insurance; the Federation White
Paper which is looking at federal-state
responsibilities including health,
and; the Aged Care Sector Committee.
Of course the one that really made
everyone at the dinner stop tweeting
and pay attention was the Independent
Review of Pharmacy Remuneration
and Regulation – or to borrow from the
real estate industry, location, location,
Yes, location rules (and ownership) are well
and truly back on the menu, if indeed they
ever left it.
While the Review was announced in the
Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement,
in her speech at dinner the Minister
announced the makeup of the expert
panel tasked with completing it.
The inclusion of veteran pharmacist and
owner Bill Scott was widely welcomed
but the other two panellists furrowed a
In a statement released after the dinner,
the Pharmacy Guild noted that the other
two appointees, Professor Stephen
King, Professor of Economics at Monash
University, and Ms Jo Watson, the
Deputy Chair of the Consumers Health
Forum (CHF), are recently on the public
record – either individually or, in the
case of Ms Watson, through the CHF –
as being critical of the present pharmacy
regulation and the Location Rules.
Coming only days after the Government
announced its response to the Harper
Review of competition policy, what
could have been mistaken for a standard
review in the context of 6CPA now has to
be seen as a real potential threat to the
community pharmacy status quo.
Some outside pharmacy certainly
Responding to the announcement of the
expert panel the CHF CEO, Leanne Wells,
said: ‘the review will consider the
pharmacy location rules which have
protected pharmacies from competition
by restricting where new pharmacies can
open. The Government has indicated in
its response to a strong recommendation
for reform of this area that it still has to
‘It has “noted” rather than supported
the recommendation from the Harper
Review on competition which found
that current restrictions on ownership
and location of pharmacies are not
needed to ensure the quality of advice
provided to patients.
One the positive side, the 6CPA Pharmacy
Trial Programme provides a $50 million
opportunity to, as Minster Ley has said,
‘offer new and innovative ways for
pharmacists to participate in the wider
primary healthcare environment.’
She said: ‘Advances in digital technology
and health information are providing
new and exciting opportunities in
the delivery of healthcare services
and the quality use of medicines.
Pharmacy’s challenge is to develop these
new solutions; address these emerging
challenges and capitalise on the genuine
potential of your profession and sector.
‘I see a vital role for pharmacy in
providing a link with the broader
health reform agenda to develop
consumer-centred care consistent with
the work being undertaken elsewhere in
All this should all make for another
interesting year dominated by
challenges and more positively,
some promising opportunities for
pharmacy and pharmacists.
Expecting a quiet
year? Think again
BY ANDREW DANIELS
» CANBERRA COMMENTARY
Andrew Daniels is Managing Editor of Australian
Pharmacist. Opinions expressed in this column are
not necessarily those of the Pharmaceutical Society,
its Board or staff.
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