Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist September 2012 Contents 678 Australian Pharmacist September 2012 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
MedsCheck -- pharmacist's
MedsCheck program has the potential
to transform the role of the community
pharmacist. The service will not only
provide greater professional satisfaction
for pharmacists, but drive consumer
and general practitioner appreciation
of pharmacists' skills and knowledge
of pharmacotherapy in delivering
Early adopter Brad Butt described
the business bene ts and work ow
challenges for MedsCheck in Australian
Pharmacist (Aug, 2012, page 612).
Brad suggested that dispensary assistants
could have an administrative role as well
as taking the patient and medication
history. I believe it is absolutely critical
that pharmacists are involved in
medication history taking for MedsCheck,
and that this step is not devolved to
pharmacy assistants. MedsCheck has
the capacity to change consumer's
expectations of community pharmacy.
One-on-one patient contact with a
pharmacist in a private area is a signi cant
change for both the consumer and the
pharmacist, but one that will yield many
bene ts. Taking a medication history
is not just about generating a list of
medications. It can start the conversation
with the patient, leading to a range of
interventions to help the patient better
manage their medicines.
Let dispensary assistants do the
technical part of dispensing, and
free up pharmacists to provide
Letters to the Editor
Letters are invited from anyone
wishing to comment on articles
or issues relevant to pharmacy.
However, any letters judged by the
Editor to be potentially defamatory
will not be published. Letters should
be no more than 300 words long.
They can be emailed to the Editor at
The customer safety net
As the end of the year draws nearer,
a large number of customers have already
reached their Safety Net which entitles
them to either receive their medicines
free of charge (with the exception of
brand premium medicines) or pay for
their medicines at a concession rate.
These customers would usually prefer
to get all their medicines dispensed at
the pharmacy, taking into account that
some medicines may be too early to be
dispensed, resulting in them having to
forfeit their Safety Net prices.
Lately, I have noticed a number of
customers putting in scripts for
medications which they may no longer
be using. I have received a script for
trimethoprim, an antibiotic for urinary
tract infections which is dated 11 months
ago. Legally, the script had not expired
but I was very concerned on whether the
patient had completed her initial course
of antibiotics last year and whether
she is misdiagnosing herself. This is
worrying as it can lead to resistance
and poor medication use as it could be
used to address the wrong symptoms.
Ultimately, severe consequences may
occur if she consults the doctor too late.
On a separate occasion, a lady brought
in a script for her husband, requesting
for Coversyl. I was concerned as I am
aware that her husband was no longer
on Coversyl but had been switched to a
combination product a few months ago.
I refused to dispense the script and spoke
to the lady. She was not aware that the
script that she brought it was something
her husband no longer needed. If I
had dispensed the script without
referring to his medication history, his
cardiovascular health may have been
In summary, customer education is vital
to ensure quality use of medications
and I believe it is the role of health
professionals to uphold this. All health
professionals must always ensure that
customers have a clear understanding of
their medication and know when to shred
their unwanted scripts.
Nuriootpa, South Australia
I have some issues regarding signing
statutory declarations at the workplace.
I believe most pharmacists have come
across customers who request them to
sign a statutory declaration and declare
they are unwell and unable to go to work.
Customers come to you and say, 'The
doctor cannot back date the medical
certi cate', or 'I was unwell at night', 'I failed
to make a doctor's appointment at that
time', 'the other pharmacist in the same
pharmacy signed in the past, why can't you
Honestly, I am not personally comfortable
to sign. If you are unwell, you should get
appropriate treatment (the pharmacy does
not provide a medical certi cate service).
I have come across a few customers with
the same request in this pharmacy.
The rst customer was unwell a few days
ago. It was night time and she was unable
to make an appointment. She said the
other pharmacist had signed it before.
'If you don't sign, I can't get paid.' OK I
broke my rule -- signed it for you this time,
but I won't sign it anymore.
The second customer had an eczema rash
on the arm. She said the rash was very
itchy in the morning. Unable to go to
work, she came in during the afternoon
and asked to sign a statutory declaration.
I referred her to a doctor; unfortunately I
Another customer did not even write down
anything on the statutory declaration and
requested me to sign it. I refused.
The next day, the retail manager spoke
to me and said that people requesting to
sign a statutory declaration can declare
anything, e.g. if they declare they want
to buy a house, they are not necessarily
going to buy a house, this is their choice.
'Regardless of whether the declaration is
truthful or not, I want you to sign it. We are
here to help people and we don't want to
lose any customers.'
I was speechless at that time, yes I am here
to help customers, but I won't help people
if they are not doing the right thing.
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