Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist June 2016 Contents Australian Pharmacist June 2016 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
We are off and running in the 2016 marathon election. Get comfortable,
it will be a long and probably tedious contest.
The election has already provided one
positive for pharmacy. Remember back
in March at the APP conference, Professor
Stephen King, Chair of the Independent
Review of Pharmacy Remuneration and
Regulation established as part of the
Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement
gave a provocative presentation about
the future of pharmacy regulation
He also said a Discussion Paper would
be released in mid-April. Well, it's still
nowhere in sight. Pharmacy News
quoted Professor King on 6 May as
saying that the Discussion Paper had
been delivered to the Government
on 2 May.
An email from Canberra commentary
on 5 May to the Health Department's
media people asking when it was likely
to be released received a one word
answer – soon.
However, on 11 May a statement
issued by the Reviewers said that
‘the advice received by the Panel is
that even independent Government
advisory panels are obliged to
observe the Caretaker Conventions.
These Conventions require that the Panel
does not facilitate discussions of policy
matters during the caretaker period.’
This is probably a good thing for the
Reviewers given that Pharmacy Guild of
Australia President George Tambassis
circulated an email to Guild members
on 29 April informing them that he had,
‘recently received a reaffirmation from
the Prime Minister of his Government’s
support for the community pharmacy
model, specifically the ownership of
pharmacies by pharmacists.’
‘Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull
was responding to my request for
clarification of his Government’s position
on pharmacy ownership given its
response to the Harper Competition
Review – in which deregulation
recommendations by the Harper Panel
were “noted” by the Government,’
Mr Tambassis said.
On 10 May, a letter to the editor of
The Australian by Guild CEO David
Quilty said: ‘ The Government is not
considering deregulating pharmacy.
Both the Prime Minister and his Deputy
recently reaffirmed in writing the
Coalition’s commitment to the pharmacy
ownership model. The Leader of the
Opposition did likewise in a recent
meeting with pharmacy leaders.’
So it is probably just as well the
Discussion Paper had not been released.
The Prime Minister’s support for the
existing ownership rules pretty much
takes the steam out of any suggestions
discussion paper about deregulating
pharmacy ownership – for now anyway.
It will be as interesting to see if and
when the discussion paper does see
the light of day as what suggestions on
ownership it throws up.
Now back to the election.
Chronic disease appears to making an
early bid for hot election issue status.
On 5 May just before the election was
called the House of Representatives Health
Committee released the report on its
Inquiry into Chronic Disease Prevention
and Management of Primary Health Care.
In the noise around the 2016 Budget
and the election it was pretty much
overlooked. Of interest for pharmacists
was that for once when allied health
professionals were listed, pharmacists
were included. This is important because it
recommended: ‘Investigating an expansion
of the Medicare Benefits Schedule to allow
for more allied health treatments per year,
and to allow direct referral between allied
health professionals and specialists in
On 10 May another report on chronic
disease was released by the Australian
Institute of Health and Welfare. This one
did not disappear without a trace.
Prevention First, a alliance of the
Foundation for Alcohol Research and
Education (FARE), the Public Health
Association of Australia (PHAA),
the Consumer Health Forum of Australia
and Alzeimer’s Australia, used the report
to call for all political parties to put
prevention first in the election to reduce
the rates of chronic disease.
It will be a long haul between now and
election day on 2 July. All parties and
candidates in the election will have
to implement their own prevention
strategies to stop voters from switching
off and watching whatever football code
A pinch of prevention
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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