Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist Nov 2013 Contents Australian Pharmacist November 2013 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd. 19
Si Banks retires
Pharmacy Guild NSW Branch
President, Si Banks, has retired after
19 years in the role. The former Guild
National President Kos Sclavos, said:
'It is an indication of the enormity
of Si's contribution to the Guild
that he has figured in most of the
Guild's significant wins over the last
two decades. The new President
of the NSW Branch of the Guild is
Paul Sinclair, a Sydney community
pharmacist and Guild National
Councillor. Mr Sinclair said, 'Si has
been a strong and resilient leader and
leaves the Branch in a sound financial
position. Si has been a powerful
advocate for community pharmacy
and I look forward to his ongoing
support and wise counsel'.
Rural student scholarships
The 2014 Rural Pharmacy Scholarship
Round opened on 14 October.
Students from rural and remote
locations who are studying pharmacy
or intend to study pharmacy can apply
for scholarships worth up to $40,000.
Applications close 31 January 2014.
The Scholarships provides financial
support to students from rural and
remote communities to undertake
undergraduate or graduate studies
in pharmacy. Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander Pharmacy Scholarships
are also available. Applications can
be made at any time throughout the
year. To apply visit the rural section at:
www.5CPA.com.au (under 'Initiatives
& Programs'). The scholarships are
funded by the Australian Government
Department of Health and Ageing
under the Fifth Community
Avoid NZ model
Medicines Australia (MA) has warned
against Australia adopting the New
Zealand model of medicines funding.
MA Chief Executive, Dr Brendan Shaw was
speaking at a Medicines New Zealand
conference in Auckland last month.
He also lamented the focus on costs in
Australia's Intergenerational reports and
the level of ill-informed debate on the
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) in
the lead up to the recent federal election.
'While New Zealand has exported many
good things to Australia, its system of
funding medicines should not be one
of them. One of our great concerns in
Australia is that this reverence by a handful
of academics for the New Zealand model
has been entirely myopic, focussing only
on cost and not on the full package of
what the PHARMAC model brings,' he said.
Dr Shaw said that looking only at the
costs without considering the whole
system was poor policy development.
He highlighted some characteristics of
the New Zealand model that had escaped
attention in the Australian medicines
policy debate, including.
• New Zealand is consistently one of
the worst performing countries in the
OECD in international comparisons of
consumer access to new medicines --
including the lowest reimbursement
coverage for cancer medicines in
• The lack of choice and availability of new
therapies for New Zealand consumers
and doctors, with around 77 medicines
subsidised in Australia that are not
subsidised in New Zealand;
• Even with the delays of new medicines
in Australia, it takes two years longer
to get a medicine reimbursed in New
Zealand than it does in Australia;
• New Zealand doctors have at various
times complained that their ability
to treat patients is compromised by
government officials over-committed to
• The PHARMAC model is less transparent
than Australia, with New Zealand
clinicians and consumers complaining
about being left in the dark about how,
why and when a medicine may or may
not be reimbursed by the government.
'At a time when we are dealing with an
ageing population, Australia needs a
system that provides consumers and
doctors with more choice, more treatment
options and more new medicines, not less,'
Dr Shaw was also critical of the focus
on the cost of an ageing population in
government Intergenerational Reports.
He said that the extension of human
life over the past 100 years is 'one of
humanity's greatest achievements.'
'Having said that, in Australia we've
lamented the fact that up until now
Australian Governments have been
focussed almost exclusively on the cost
of an ageing population, and see health
spending as a drain on resources, without
actually debating whether, for example,
such spending could be seen as a benefit.
'They're almost disappointed people are
'We've had a series of reports in Australia
over the years, called Intergenerational
Reports, which when talking about the
growth in the use of healthcare and
medicines by an ageing population,
have focussed almost exclusively on costs
and not at all had a more balanced picture
about what benefits that spending on
medicines might provide to an ageing
population,' he said.
Dr Shaw said that much of the debate
[on the PBS] in Australia leading up to the
federal election was 'ill-informed at best'.
'For one thing, it became clear very early
on that a number of the commentators
criticising the current Australian system
didn't actually understand the policy
changes that had been put in place over
the last five to 10 years. For example,
the system of price disclosure, whereby
the Australian government's official
reimbursement price for a medicine tracks
the actual market price of the medicine.
'Price disclosure completely escaped
their attention, as did the hundreds of
medicines that had undergone 40, 50,
60, 70, 80 and even 90% price reductions
in recent years as a result of this policy.
None of this was acknowledged,' he said.
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