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Australian Pharmacist November 2013 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
I refer to the article by Dr Betty Chaar,
RU486 --will you dispense? (Australian
Pharmacist, Sept 2013, page 71.)
Dr Chaar sets out the history, the law and
action of RU486 in the article, however
the same dire warnings as we saw when
the 'morning after pill' was introduced
concerning any pharmacist who refused
to supply the morning after pill are now
applied to RU486.
Any person has a natural right to make a
decision about anything be it a decision
to do or not to do something.
Any person who denies that person the
right to make a decision to do or not to
do something is imposing their will on
that person and forcing that person to
act against their judgment. This is a basic
denial of freedom of choice.
Here we see again the denial of a
pharmacist's basic right to refuse
to supply RU486 on moral or
Why do we see this attack on a
pharmacist's right of conscientious
objection to supply RU486?
The reason is clear, pharmacists have
been trained to provide care to their
customers/patients and prevent harm.
Yet here we see RU486 which is designed
to kill an unborn child!
Will the pharmacist assist in killing an
unborn child? Certainly not, if they have
If a pharmacist killed a new born baby
they would be charged with murder,
if they assist in killing an unborn baby by
supplying RU486 this article applauds
their action as not 'jeopardising patient
autonomy and right to healthcare'.
Really! Tell that to the unborn baby they
have helped to kill.
This article uses coercion to hinder
pharmacists from exercising their right to
refuse to supply RU486.
Mr WB Larkin MPS PhC JP
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will not be published.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
paracetamol 500 mg, or dihydrocodeine
10 mg plus paracetamol 500 mg)
because: 'they are no more effective than
paracetamol alone, and can cause opioid
adverse effects (such as constipation)'.1
Overuse of analgesics containing low
doses of opioids can also cause re-bound
headaches. Not to mention the serious
side effects of prolonged high doses
We should consider whether the
messages sent to pharmacists
through direct advertising within our
profession are aligned with best practice
recommendations. In the Australian
Pharmacist August edition, the PSA
National President stated his concerns
about codeine misuse on the first page.
In this same edition on the last page, an
eye-catching full page advertisement
stated that a combined codeine/
paracetamol product was the number 1
selling OTC strong reliever brand.
Phuong-Phi Le, PhD Candidate
The University of Adelaide, South Australia
Personality pro ling
I enjoyed reading the article in the
September 2013 edition called
'Personality profiling to improve self
staff and workplace performance'.
However, I was very surprised to see that
the author referred more than once to the
two pharmacy assistant staff members as
'girls'. I would have thought that referring
to adults as girls was a thing of the past.
I'm sure Graham, or any other male staff
member would never be referred to
as a boy. Unfortunately, calling female
pharmacy assistants girls is still quite
common in community pharmacy, and
undermines the important role they play
in community pharmacy.
I am writing in response to the PSA
President, Grant Kardachi's concerns
about the management of OTC requests
for codeine products in the pharmacy in
the Australian Pharmacist August edition
Many South Australian pharmacists
attended a presentation about
prescription and OTC medication abuse
earlier this year. Subsequent discussion
was dominated by questions about
pharmacy codeine seekers which was
a strong indicator of the profession's
concerns. Pharmacists were clearly
frustrated and wanted more guidance
on how to deal better with codeine
seekers. It is pleasing to see that the PSA
has moved swiftly to launch a range of
resources and supports for pharmacists
in dealing with codeine misuse in
The development of resources is a step
forward, but we also need to consider
the evidence behind combination
analgesics containing low doses of
codeine. The therapeutic effectiveness
of codeine in low doses is questionable.
The NICE (National Institute for Health
and Care Excellence) recommends that
patients are not prescribed fixed-dose
combination analgesics containing low
doses of opioids for mild to moderate
pain (such as codeine 8 mg plus
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