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Regular updates from the global world of pharmacy.
Access and click on the title links that are illustrated.
As manufacturers get pressure from funders of their products such as the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) in Australia, they will look at reducing costs in the supply chain.
Quite commonly this will take the form of direct distribution to pharmacies (and other business formats) rather than through wholesalers.
Wholesalers in turn face a series of challenges that includes developing a range of efficiencies, the battle for pharmacy numbers, manufacturer strategy, generic strategy and vertical integration. However, this may not be enough and wholesalers may need to develop a strategy involving industry dynamics.
While there will be modest industry growth over the next decade, new products will not be the major generator and research indicates that growth of branded products will be driven by primary care.
The health systems of England and Australia have many similarities.
However, one NHS rule that we have escaped here in Australia is the 48-hour waiting time guarantee for a GP appointment.
Introduced by the former Labor government, it is now being scrapped as an initiative of the new government to eliminate bureaucracy and targets that had no clinical justification.
Patients in England will no longer be guaranteed a GP appointment within 48 hours under a scaling back of all NHS targets.
Instead, doctors will be allowed to prioritise patients, affecting up to 189 million consultations a year.
Systems for dispensing prescriptions remotely have been available in Australia for some time, but have yet to gain traction.
These systems are characterised by having a TV link to a “live” pharmacist who is located remotely from the machine.
One of the first remote dispensing machines built using Australian technology and manufacture was ExpressRx.
The concept of ensuring that our workforce is competent is an excellent idea. At a time of rapidly changing clinical information, our undergraduate degree of 30 years ago (now doesn’t that make you feel old!!) is simply inadequate. For those of us that went to University we learned Knowledge, Understanding, Thinking and problem solving. The rest of us were taught on the job. Our work experience, built on this foundation, helped make us competent. The problem is – measuring that competence over time.
At the Generics Conference held in Sydney a couple of years ago, when PBS Reforms I was the Government’s latest and greatest initiative to contain the cost of the PBS, a number of speakers addressed the impending impact of WADP or Weighted Average Disclosed Pricing.
Two of these speakers had developed mathematical models to chart the revenue and gross profit dollars that would be generated in the dispensaries of community pharmacies over the following years through to 2012 and 2013. In both instances, the speakers presented data that showed the dispensary revenue and gross profit lines decreasing quite dramatically as the effects of WADP took hold of PBS medicine prices.
These soothsayers saw gloom and doom in their crystal balls, or their spreadsheets if that’s what they preferred to use.
The reaction to the little piece about Naturopathy and my doctor (published in a June i2P update) has caused some not entirely surprising flame bursting by those who believe a remedy must be science based.
Hmmm, a good point.
Well, we are past July 1 and there has been no official statement on how, when and where the 15 cent payment for electronic prescriptions materialises.
Government does not appear to have specified how it wants a pharmacy claim presented, and system vendors may not have included a module to create an acceptable audit trail as yet.
Pharmacist survival strategies have essentially remained the same for well over a century.
In simple terms when pressure is applied to dispensary margins more OTC opportunities are developed.
A conscious decision is made to expand the range of inventory items in niche markets and then key items are discounted to expand market share within that new market.
It’s probably all been said but that astonishing ascent of the Member for Lalor Julia Gillard has nailed yet another nail in the coffin of our long cherished democracy.
Again, the power-crazed toe-cutters of the Labor Party were unable to muster the restraint required to allow an elected comrade see out the full game.
The bitter hatred (which is often factional but not necessarily in this case) that lurks behind closed doors was just too much. In the end those who read from the Graham Richardson manual on dealing with personnel superfluous to current requirements acted with rare brutality and “Kevin 07” became “Kevin gone to political Heaven” in a blink.
TELSTRA'S mobile base stations and some exchanges could soon be backed up by energy efficient hydrogen fuel cells that promise to deliver a 20 per cent carbon emissions reduction compared with the diesel generators currently in use.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Claire Jackson as President-elect.
Professor Jackson is a GP and GP Supervisor in Inala, Brisbane and is Professor in General Practice and Primary Health Care and Head of Discipline at the University of Queensland. She has been chair of the RACGP Council and the RACGP Queensland Faculty. She has had significant involvement in health reform in many areas, serving on the National Primary Care Strategy Expert Advisory Group and providing a commissioned paper for the National Health and Hospital Reform Commission.
The national health report card released by the AIHW gives a pointer as to where primary health care funds are going to be directed to, and a guide as to what "specialties" will need to be invested in by pharmacists.
And following similar lines, the education that will need to be provided to back those specialties.
A systematic approach to developing and marketing pharmacy clinical services is long overdue, and leadership is stagnant.
What can be done?
In practical terms - probably nothing until after the next federal elections, but that gives a small window of opportunity for our lead pharmacy organisations to work out a plan of action and support each other in the process.
Political game playing, whether at the local, state or federal levels, is crippling initiative in all sectors of the economy - but in particular, health.
And pharmacy needs to attract some urgent funding to initiate some primary health care projects that can soak up some of the surplus graduates before it is too late, and we lose these valuable human resources.
It would also be interesting to know what impact existing pharmacy activities contribute to the report card statistics.
Renewing the code of ethics for pharmacists in the wake of the recent changes to healthcare legislation will be among the topics considered at a wide-ranging ethics conference at the University of Sydney (17-18 June 2010)
World-renowned ethics expert and Laureate Professor Peter Singer will deliver a keynote address on World Poverty: What are our obligations?
The Australian Association for Professional and Applied Ethics conference is being hosted by the Faculty of Pharmacy, under the theme Ethics in the Professional Life: Past, Present and Future.
A recently published study in the journal PLoS-One has found that more than half of older men who use antidepressant medication or psychotherapy are not responding to treatment.
Lead author, Professor Osvaldo Almeida, Research Director of the Western Australian Centre for Health and Ageing at The University of Western Australia, said the finding was surprising and alarming.
A group of tests may help predict which people with Parkinson's disease are more likely to fall, according to a study by Queensland University of Technology (QUT).
The study results were published recently in the American Academy of Neurology's online medical journal Neurology®.
High tech cling wraps that ‘sieve out’ carbon dioxide from waste gases can help save the world, says Melbourne University chemical engineer, Colin Scholes who developed the technology.
Tea tree oil may be used in future as a fast, cheap, safe and effective treatment for non-melanoma skin cancers and precancerous lesions, according to researchers at The University of Western Australia.
A three-year study by the University of Western Australia Tea Tree Oil Research Group has found solid tumours grown under the skin in mice and treated with a tea tree oil formulation causes inhibition of tumour growth and tumour regression within a day of treatment. Within three days, the tumours cannot be detected.
NPS will discontinue funding the Therapeutic Advice and Information Service (TAIS) for health professionals as of 1 July 2010.
A guide to medicines information resources has been compiled on the NPS website which can be accessed via the health professional web page. Please note that some of the listed resources are freely available and others for a subscription fee.
Follow this link http://nps.org.au/medicines_information_guide.
The following press release issued by the AACP confirms changes to the HMR model that will at last see an opportunity to professionally collaborate with GP’s and to build a relationship with hospitals.That it has taken so long to deliver the obvious is sad.
But not to dwell on any negatives, it now frees up consultant pharmacists to develop independent business models to deliver services in a more economical, timely and streamlined fashion.
It may also open a secondary market for e-document exchanges capable of quickly sharing information for intended recipients.
New research from the University of Otago, Christchurch, shows that vitamin C can help curb the growth of cancer cells.
The study, led by Associate Professor Margreet Vissers of the University’s Free Radical Research Group, is the first real evidence of a connection between vitamin C and tumour growth.
Associate Professor Vissers says “Our results offer a promising and simple intervention to help in our fight against cancer, at the level of both prevention and cure”.
The article is in the latest edition of the prestigious Cancer Research journal.
A UQ academic's research into whether nature or nurture influences the development of gut flora has been published in Nature and may hold the key to understanding obesity.
Dr Florent Angly said the fundamental research was significant since some forms of obesity could be caused by the action of microbiota.
A forum initiative developed by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) has seen discussion on the early stages of the first truly representative peak national pharmacy body.
It is presumed, when eventually formalised, that this body will be capable of generating national policies that will bind its membership and provide a cohesive single face for the "whole of pharmacy".
It is also presumed that this group will have provision to absorb emerging and new pharmacy organisations.
PSA is to be congratulated on taking the lead role in the establishment of the initial forum that is certain to win support by all pharmacists in whatever sector they work in.
In the current climate of severe political and commercial pressures on pharmacy, one wonders why it has not happened a lot earlier than this, because the disparate ambitions of various pharmacy organisations up to now has definitely worked against the best interests of the pharmacy profession as a whole.
i2P has often commented on this issue and the need for a peak body that is truly representative of pharmacy.
The ‘net’ generation, spanning 13 to 33 year olds, has embraced technology as the norm and is expected to adopt e-health as just par for the course in their highly connected lives according to several leading youth health experts.
Jonathan Nicholas, Chief Executive Officer of the Inspire Foundation, the organisation behind the web-based mental health support service for young people, ReachOut.com said, “As an organisation that uses the internet to connect with young people, we see a number of benefits for young people flowing from the proposed e-health record.
Pharmacists in Australia may be forgiven for feeling invisible as they search for roles and activities that gainfully utilise their experience and skills.
New projects and programs often mention "allied health" and nurses, but not pharmacists.
There are probably two major reasons for this problem:
* The Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGA) has allocated resources exclusively to PBS-centric activities.
This has led to a reduction in jobs for new pharmacists and a surplus human resource. This is in stark contrast to all other health professions that seek to increase their practitioner numbers.
* GP lobby groups have promoted the use of practice nurses in key areas normally in the pharmacy domain. This has had the effect of increasing the number of "short" consultations, with the GP providing evaluation and the practice nurse to complete the work.
GP lobby groups have also been active in suppressing pharmacy initiatives particularly in the concept area of medication continuance.
In the US the opposite is occurring, mainly because of the fractured health service that exists in that country. However, while it can be said that Australia's health system may be better, it seems to be dysfunctional for the moment.
This may represent an opportunity for pharmacy if it can be properly articulated to politicians.
It appears that governments only turn to pharmacy when they need bailing out.
The end result always sees pharmacy disadvantaged as policies and promises are inevitably changed.
The following story recently appeared in Drug Store News
There are many views held in pharmacy as to the efficacy and value of complementary and alternate medicines.
At i2P we endeavour to cater for all perspectives by publishing the views of skeptics such as Loretta Marron, who takes a “no holds barred” approach, and insist that the only perspective for medical professionals to prescribe/sell drugs be evidence-based.
On the other side, we recently published an article by Chris Wright (a regular i2P author), who is not a pharmacist but has a good working knowledge of pharmacy.
He opted to take acupuncture treatment from his GP instead of consuming anti-inflammatory drugs.
His GP gave him the choice.
Chris’s article drew strong comments from the “evidence-based perspective”.
(Follow this link to view comments at the end of the article)
Chris chose acupuncture because he felt it would work for him.
i2P asked Mark Coleman to make a comment which appears below the news item that originally appeared in Pharmacy News on June 24 2010.
Acupuncture is mentioned in the last line of that news item.
Keeping you up to date with PSA activities.
Information made available from the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia by Peter Waterman.
Peter Waterman is the Public Affairs Manager for the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia.
He may be contacted by telephone (02)62834782, or on mobile phone 0419 260 827.
Information made available from the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia by Peter Waterman.
30 June 2010
PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE STANDARDS UPDATED
The new revised version of the Professional Practice Standards is now available following an update to bring them into line with current practice.
The review, a collaborative process involving pharmacy organisations, pharmacists and consumer representatives, has ensured the Professional Practice Standards (version 4) is the most comprehensive to date and has ensured the standards reflect, and are appropriate to, today’s pharmacy environment.
The Professional Practice Standards is an educative resource for the self-regulation of pharmacists and the pharmacy profession which encourage pharmacists to be involved in a range of pharmacy services and to promote recognition of professional service delivery.
They also help consumers recognise and build confidence in the pharmacy profession by ensuring professional activities are performed appropriately and effectively.
Key differences with version 4 of the Professional Practice Standards include:
For the individual pharmacist, the Professional Practice Standards version 4 provides a clear framework that defines and describes the qualities required to deliver a range of pharmacy services effectively and to an acceptable level.
Pharmacists are encouraged to self-assess their professional practice annually using the Professional Practice Standards to identify areas where improvement may be required and to reassess their performance after changes have been implemented.
The Professional Practice Standards version 4 will be sent to all PSA members and all community pharmacies in Australia in early July 2010. The Professional Practice Standards version 4 can be viewed on the PSA website www.psa.org.au from 30 July 2010.
30 June 2010
5CPA - DRIVING THE BEST OUTCOME
Having been negotiated in a tough financial environment and a climate of health-care reform the 5CPA delivers a mixed result for community pharmacy, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia says.
On the debit side is a $1 billion clawback by the Government from dispensing-fee revenue, compounded by the estimated $3 billion loss from ongoing PBS reform and drop in generic pricing, on top of which is the revenue loss of $1.9 billion from the Medicines Australia/Government deal.
On the positive side, after a strong rearguard action from PSA we have increased funding for professional programs amounting to some $650 million, as well as total reimbursement for all e-prescriptions.
National President of the PSA, Warwick Plunkett, said despite the increase in professional service funding, PSA was disappointed funding had been terminated for a number of successful and unfinished programs from CPA4, including DMAS, PAMS and the Change Management Support program. The loss of HMR facilitators was also a big blow.
“On the bright side, PSA was pleased to see its lobbying efforts rewarded with restoration of adequate funding for our cornerstone services of HMRs and RMMRs along with the introduction of the important new services of clinical interventions and medicine use reviews - demonstrating recognition of the pharmacists’ expertise and potential contribution to better medication outcomes.
“However, it is important to emphasise that the only parties to this Agreement are the Government and the Pharmacy Guild - with the Guild successfully looking after the specific interests and priorities of its pharmacy owner membership.
“Such interests and priorities do not always coincide with those of the wider pharmacist population.”
Mr Plunkett said PSA represented the professional interests of all pharmacists and therefore had the development and implementation of professional services as its core business. Its submissions to Government were naturally focussed in this direction.
“The difficulty that PSA now faces as a result of its absence as a signatory to the Agreement is that it has no legislated role in the eventual roll-out of the agreed services and must therefore depend on the goodwill and common sense of the two parties to utilise the expertise and commitment within PSA to bring these programs into the marketplace in a sustainable form,” he said.
“While the Agreement states: The parties understand that the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, whilst not a signatory to this Agreement, will be an active participant in those areas of this Agreement that are related to professional practice, there is no clear indication or direction as to how this will be enacted.
“Given PSA represents more than 13,000 members across the spectrum of the pharmacy profession, nearly all of which work in community pharmacy, compared with less than 4000 within the Guild membership, it is time that this anomaly was changed.
“I would therefore encourage all pharmacists to lobby not only the Guild but also the Government through their local member to allow PSA full carriage of professional programs in the CPA whilst the Guild concentrates on the important ownership, supply and remuneration issues.
“With a Federal election to take place this year, now is the time for pharmacists in all sectors to begin talking to stakeholders and their local politicians to get this situation changed for the good of the profession and the wellbeing of all Australians
29 June 2010
PAC10 PRE-CONGRESS SESSIONS HAVE SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
Pharmacists from all sectors of the profession are being catered for in the Pharmacy Australia Congress this year, with the wide-ranging program offering topics to give delegates a business and professional edge.
PAC10 is using as its base the World Health Organisation’s (WHO’s) principle that the appropriate, efficient and cost-effective use of resources should be the foundation of a pharmacist’s work, regardless of which sector of the profession the pharmacist is engaged in.
WHO has encapsulated this approach in its Seven Star Pharmacy principles which form the basis of PAC10’s over-arching theme of Star Performance - the future for pharmacy.
PAC10 also features exceptional pre-congress sessions which include the Military Pharmacists Special Interest Group meeting, a Pharmacy in Health forum, Pharmacy Practice in Government meeting and a workshop on Mandatory CPD - Make It Work For You.
In addition, one of the highlights of the pre-congress sessions is the all-day AACP Consultant Pharmacists’ Forum, a feature of previous congresses.
National President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, Warwick Plunkett, said the pre-congress sessions were tailored to suit many of the diverse interests of the profession and were an ideal lead-in to the congress proper.
“The topics covered are designed to complement the Star Performance - the future for pharmacy theme while providing pharmacists with essential and topical information,” Mr Plunkett said.
“Attendance at the pre-congress sessions gives delegates the full PAC10 experience.”
Being held in Melbourne from 28-31 October this year, delegates to PAC10 can also earn Continuing Professional Development points which are mandatory under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for health professionals which comes into effect on 1 July.
To register or for more details visit www.pac10.com.au.
24 June 2010
DEADLINE APPROACHES FOR PAC10 POSTER SUBMISSIONS
The deadline for submissions of poster abstracts for presentation at PAC10 this year will expire on July 29.
This is the second year PAC has featured posters as part of the pre-eminent pharmacy event and follows the overwhelming success of the poster presentations last year.
National President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, Warwick Plunkett, said posters are an important method of communicating pharmacy practice and research to a wide audience of industry and professional peers.
“Being able to present at an event of the stature of PAC gives researchers and practitioners from the fields of pharmacy practice and pharmaceutical science an opportunity to have their ideas and concepts viewed and discussed by a wide audience they may not otherwise be able to reach,” Mr Plunkett said.
“At PAC10 we are particularly interested in receiving submissions from practitioners who wish to share their own work without necessarily having undertaken structured research.”
All abstracts must conform to the following requirements:
Special poster presentations sessions have been set aside during the middle of the day so delegates can attend without impacting on their other Congress attendances.
PAC10 is being held in Melbourne from October 28-31 and will feature a range of pharmacy and business specialist speakers, workshops, social functions (including the Welcome Reception being held on Thursday October 28), a trade exhibition and a range of other activities ensuring there is something to interest and educate all delegates.
24 June 2010
RECOGNISING ROLE OF PHARMACISTS AS HEALTH PROFESSIONALS
The role of pharmacists as health professionals is one that is sometimes overlooked by consumers who therefore may not take full advantage of the extensive range of services offered by the pharmacist.
Chair of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s Early Career Pharmacist group, Justin Lee, said that all too often consumers pick up their medications without being aware of the additional professional services offered by pharmacists.
“Pharmacists are integral members of the health-care team and their expertise and experience is invaluable for consumers,” Mr Lee said.
“With the growing emphasis on primary and preventive health, consumers should be more aware that pharmacists play a pivotal role in helping to achieve the best possible health outcomes for all Australians through advice, counselling and professional services – as well as dispensing medications.
“Services to be found in your pharmacy include smoking cessation and weight management programs, medication reviews, clinical interventions, methadone programs, asthma management advice and services, and diabetes services – to name but a few.
“In addition to the value of the professional services offered is the fact that pharmacists are the most accessible of any health professionals in Australia.
“You usually don’t have to have an appointment and can walk in and receive the best possible health advice available from a highly trained health professional.”
National President of the PSA, Warwick Plunkett, said the PSA’s “Future of Pharmacy Project” had recently released an Issues Paper on The Future of Pharmacy in Australia which invited input from pharmacists and other stakeholders to help plan the future direction of the profession.
“The question of raising the profile of pharmacists as health professionals is one area that we would welcome comment and suggestions on as part of the process that has been initiated by the Issues Paper,” Mr Plunkett said.
“The Issues Paper relies on the profession and those associated with it to make their views known and the perception of pharmacists and their role as health professionals is a good example of the input we are canvassing.”
15 June 2010
EARLY CAREER PHARMACISTS WORKING GROUP ELECTS NEW CHAIR
Queensland pharmacist Justin Lee has been appointed chair of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s Early Career Pharmacists Working Group.
The group, entering its second year, was established to give a greater focus on pharmacists in the early stages of their career and to address some of the particular issues facing early career pharmacists.
Mr Lee, a Medication Safety Officer with Medication Services Queensland, Queensland Health, said he aimed to build on the work of the group’s first year under the chair of Tasmanian pharmacist David Peachey.
“We want to advance the work done during the first year of the group’s operation and ensure that early career pharmacists have an influential say in their profession and its future,” Mr Lee said.
“The establishment of the group last year was an important development and recognition of the important role early career pharmacists play in the profession as a whole.
“Under the leadership of David Peachey the group has built a solid foundation from which to grow.
”On behalf of all members of the group I want to thank David for the great work he has done in getting the group to the position of strength where it is now.”
Mr Lee said that among the issues to be addressed by the group were concerns over the workforce and the number of pharmacy graduates, particularly evident in an early career pharmacists’ survey recently commissioned by the group.
“The workforce issue is one affecting the profession as a whole and early career pharmacists in particular feel especially vulnerable,” Mr Lee said.
“Another area which we will be paying particular attention to is career progression and how early career pharmacists can better advance their careers in the current environment.”
A comprehensive report on the strategic direction of the group and survey results will be published in the August edition of the Australian Pharmacist journal.
8 June 2010
PSA HELPS ALL PHARMACISTS MEET NRAS REQUIREMENTS
From July 1, the new National Registration and Accreditation Scheme comes into effect which will have a marked impact on the way pharmacists are required to record their continuing professional development activities.
Under the NRAS, all registered pharmacists (except those registered in a non-practising category) will be required to complete continuing professional development (CPD) which is relevant to their scope of practice.
The initial requirement for CPD credits will be 20 credits for the period ending 30 September 2011, increasing 12-monthly to 40 credits for the period ending 30 September 2013.
As the Pharmacy Board will audit compliance with this requirement annually, it is essential that all pharmacists record their CPD activities and to assist in this, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia is opening its CPD points recording system to pharmacists who are not yet members of PSA. This tool is available via the PSA website, www.psa.org.au
Members and non-members attending PSA functions will have their points recorded automatically.
In addition, pharmacists will be able to log on to the PSA website and manually record their CPD activities.
National President of the PSA, Warwick Plunkett, said the PSA board had decided to open the PSA facilities to non-members because of the importance of accurate recording of CDP points under the NRAS.
“NRAS will be robust in its auditing of these points and all pharmacists must comply with the CPD requirements as a condition of their registration,” Mr Plunkett said.
“PSA feels it is in the best interests of the profession as a whole to enable all pharmacists, whether members or non-members, to utilise the specially designed PSA tool for this purpose.”
Mr Plunkett said PSA members had access to the wide range of other unique member benefits that help give PSA members a professional and business edge over their peers.
“The NRAS marks an exciting new era for pharmacy and PSA is proud to be able to help ensure that its implementation is effective and beneficial to the whole pharmacy profession.”
8 June 2010
REVIEW OF PSA CODE OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT
The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia has commenced a review of its highly regarded Code of Professional Conduct.
A Code Review Working Group, chaired by Dr Shane Jackson, and a panel of expert advisors have been established which will initially be assessing gaps in the current code arising, for example, from changes in legislation, changes to the health-care landscape, or the evolution of professional pharmacy practice.
The working group also will be looking at codes of overseas pharmacy organisations as well as codes of other health professions in Australia to help inform its work.
At its first meeting the working group said it believed the way forward was to revamp the current code into a simpler ‘code of ethics’.
This ‘code of ethics’ would articulate the core values of the profession and be supported by additional guidance documents.
The working group will also be considering how a revised code can be implemented for the entire pharmacy profession.
National President of the PSA, Warwick Plunkett, said the revision was timely given the changing environment of the profession.
“The review of PSA’s code is important in the context of its inclusion in the health professions’ code which will apply to pharmacists under the national registration scheme,” Mr Plunkett said.
“The code is also one of the requirements that approved pharmacists must comply with in dispensing prescriptions for pharmaceutical benefits.
“The review of the code will complement the work currently being led by PSA through the review of the Professional Practice Standards as well as the Competency Standards.
“Further down the track there will be an open consultation period during which we will be inviting comments from interested parties within and outside of the profession.”
The current Code can be accessed at: www.psa.org.au/site.php?id=628
Further information will be provided at a later date regarding the stakeholder consultation.
7 June 2010
RURAL CONCESSIONS MUST APPLY TO ALL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS
Advice that rural incentive payments to rural doctors will not be subject to 46.5 per cent PAYE withholding tax is a welcome decision which should not be limited to doctors, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia says.
National President of the PSA, Warwick Plunkett, said the decision was clear recognition of the importance of incentives in attracting health professionals to rural areas.
“However, we would urge the Government to extend the scope of its incentive programs and tax concessions to other health professionals like pharmacists who are also critical to the health needs of rural populations.
“The Rural Pharmacy Maintenance Allowance is a very positive program but more needs to be done to build the rural pharmacy workforce.
“The decision to exempt rural doctors from the withholding tax provisions on incentive payments is a good one, but doctors are only one part of the health-care teams which service the needs of rural areas.
“The Government’s health reform agenda puts heavy emphasis on primary health care and preventive health and the teams who provide these services to work closely together to deliver better health outcomes for all Australians.
“It creates an imbalance if one member of this team, the doctor, gets tax concessions while other members of the team may not receive any such benefit.
“In fact such a situation threatens the whole structure of rural health teams and must be addressed.”
Mr Plunkett said there were already regulatory obstacles to attracting and keeping pharmacists in rural areas and these would only be compounded if one sector of the health profession received preferential treatment over other areas.
“Health professionals in rural areas work closely with one another in often difficult conditions and their commitment to their professions is second to none,” Mr Plunkett said.
“To attract health professionals to these regions where they are greatly needed requires an even-handed approach to incentives and this is not what we are witnessing at the moment.
“It is a situation which needs to be addressed with some urgency to ensure the health wellbeing of people living in non-metropolitan areas. It is time the Government matched its rhetoric on this issue with action.”
7 June 2010
PAC10 LOOKS AT THE IMPERATIVE FOR CHANGE IN PHARMACY PRACTICE
Pharmacy practice must shift its primary mission from supplying medicines to helping people make the best use of medicines in order to meet the needs of the public and ensure its survival as a health profession.
This is the view of leading US pharmacy expert Professor William A. Zellmer who will present on the topic of The Imperative for Change in Pharmacy Practice at PAC10 in October this year.
Professor Zellmer said the shift that pharmacists must make required a change in the pharmacist’s self-concept, which in turn entails the development of a strong moral compass and a deep commitment to professionalism.
“Pharmacists and pharmacy educators should discuss candidly the meaning of professionalism and the challenges of pursuing it, acknowledging the tensions between professional practice and business interests,” he said.
PAC10 will be held this year at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from October 28-31 with the theme of ‘Star Performance - the future for pharmacy’ which is based on the World Health Organisation's Seven Star Pharmacist principle.
Professor Zellmer is President of Pharmacy Foresight and Clinical Professor, Affiliate Faculty, School of Pharmacy, Virginia Commonwealth University in the United States. He is also contributing editor to the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy.
His particular areas of interest include projects designed to foster professionalism among pharmacists, which he believes will be needed for pharmacy to truly transform itself into a patient-care health profession.
He has also been involved in the analysis of issues of strategic importance to hospital and health-system pharmacy; written articles and given speeches about these issues with special emphasis on the role of pharmacists in helping people make the best use of medicines.
His work with the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists has included strategic planning, policy development and advocacy, communications, and international affairs. He has led association activities designed to advance hospital and health-system pharmacy practice, foster positive relationships with scientific and governmental agencies, and promote public understanding of the role of the hospital and health-system pharmacist.
To register for PAC10 or for more details, please visit www.pac10.com.au
3 June 2010
ROADMAP CONTRIBUTES TO DEBATE ON PHARMACY’S FUTURE
The release of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia’s document, The Roadmap - The Strategic Direction for Community Pharmacy, has been welcomed by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA).
PSA National President Warwick Plunkett said the Roadmap presents the Guild’s vision which had been understandably developed with a view to the business aspects of the profession.
“The focus of the Roadmap is clearly on the business side of community pharmacy and this is in keeping with the Guild’s membership base of community pharmacy owners,” Mr Plunkett said.
“This focus is also reflected in the professional programs which the Roadmap correctly addresses as playing a central role in pharmacy’s future which PSA had already identified in its Issues Paper on the Future of Australian Pharmacy.”
From the timing of the Guild's Roadmap after the PSA launched its Issues Paper on the Future of Australian Pharmacy, it would suggest that the Guild is anxious to ensure it has a strong voice in the forthcoming debate over the future direction of the profession and this is welcomed.
“The PSA’s Issues Paper has been developed with a view to generating wide-ranging debate on the future of the profession and provides a whole-of-profession approach and debate which unfortunately the Roadmap will not do,” Mr Plunkett said.
“It invites consultation from across the broad range of stakeholders in the profession because PSA sees significant change ahead in the flexibility and structure of the remuneration model for pharmacy which will affect everyone involved in the profession, regardless of which sector they are involved in.
“Professional services which are provided in return for sustainable fees are one of the keys to the future viability of pharmacy in Australia. The input of all stakeholders to the PSA Issues Paper is vital to ensure that the future direction we take is the right one for pharmacy and for the needs of Australian health consumers. The Guild’s Roadmap will help inform that consultation process and we look forward to further input from the Guild as the principal representative of pharmacy owners.”
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