Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist March 2014 Contents Australian Pharmacist March 2014 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
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Editor to be potentially defamatory will not
be published.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
To call or not to call
I have just read the article entitled
To call or not to call by Dr Betty Chaar
in the January 2014 issue (page 70)
of Australian Pharmacist.
I am concerned that Dr Chaar's article
may result in pharmacists believing they
have a choice with respect to reporting
suspected prescription forgery to the
authorities. In Western Australia (WA),
the Poisons Regulations 1965 stipulate
that any suspected altered or forged
prescription for either Schedule 4
or Schedule 8 medicines must be
reported to the Department of Health.
Pharmacists are also encouraged to
report forgeries to the WA Police.
Contact with the jurisdictional health
departments in other states and
territories indicates that a requirement
to report forged prescriptions is in place
across Australia, including in New South
Wales where Dr Chaar is located.
Over the last 12 months, the
Pharmaceutical Services Branch at
WA Health has issued 17 alerts to
pharmacies in Western Australia in
relation to circulating forgeries and
known stolen prescription pads/paper.
In a number of cases, multiple reports
to the WA Police by diligent pharmacists
have resulted in the detection of
systematic forgery resulting in the
diversion of significant quantities
of prescription pharmaceuticals.
Current operational activities may mean
the police cannot immediately attend
the pharmacy in every case -- however,
this does not mean that they will not
attend in due course and does not mean
that the forger(s) will not be caught
With oxycodone reportedly selling
on the streets for $1 per mg, there is a
strong incentive for criminals to obtain
prescription pharmaceuticals through
forgery. I would encourage pharmacists
to use every opportunity to reduce
the harm caused by drug abuse and
reporting prescription forgery is one of
Reporting forgery should not be an
ethical dilemma. Reporting forgery is
part of a pharmacist's duty to practice
in accordance with the relevant law and
the decision to report should be easy --
as Dr Chaar appropriately suggested at
the end of her article: Make that call!
Manager -- Legislation and Licensing
Pharmaceutical Services Branch
More letters on page 27.
Share your thoughts
The January issue of Australian
Pharmacist introduced a new feature.
Readers can now provide feedback
-- comments, opinion, or simply add
information about the topics covered
in the cover feature article, Canberra
commentary and the President says in
each issue of Australian Pharmacist.
PSA's 2013--14 Federal Budget
submission explores where
pharmacists can really make
a difference to the lives of
Australians according to National
President Grant Kardachi.
He said the submission, while taking a
pragmatic and realistic approach in light
of tight economic conditions, presented
recommendations underpinning the
Government's desire to strengthen
today's health system for tomorrow.
The submission highlights three key
areas in which existing health resources
could be better coordinated and
targeted within a collaborative primary
health care model to improve health
outcomes for Australians. Specifically,
it identifies opportunities to better use
the skills and expertise of pharmacists
to address areas of unmet need, aligned
with the Government's policy objectives.
At-risk populations: Pharmacists are
integral to closing the Indigenous health
gap ($90 million workforce program
over three years).
PSA recommends that the Federal
Government consider an investment
of $90 million over three years to
allow Aboriginal Health Services
(AHS) across Australia to improve
medication adherence and reduce
the progression of chronic disease,
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