Friday, 29 Sep 2023

Threat to your safety: AMA campaigning against pharmacists prescribing medication for minor conditions

Threat to your safety: AMA campaigning against pharmacists prescribing medication for minor conditions


Threat to your safety: AMA campaigning against pharmacists prescribing medication for minor conditions

The You Deserve More campaign from the Australian Medical Association has an alarming message: allowing pharmacists to prescribe a wider range of medicines is a threat to patient safety and undermines the health system.

Queensland now allows pharmacists to prescribe medicines for uncomplicated urinary tract infections after a successful pilot and other states including New South Wales and Victoria are developing their own pilots so pharmacists can administer medicines such as health and travel vaccinations and prescribe drugs for UTIs, skin ailments, ear infections and birth control.

Patients are "part of an experiment" if they take part, the "You Deserve More" campaign warns. "Patients deserve access to the full range of treatments and holistic doctor-led care, rather than being treated as a customer at a counter," the AMA president, Steve Robson, says. "They deserve the care of someone who has the qualifications to properly diagnose them, who can take the time to ensure they get the best health outcomes."

The Pharmacy Guild disagrees, with Victorian branch president, Anthony Tassone, saying: "Currently it may be quicker for a woman in metropolitan Melbourne to fly to Queensland to be treated for a non-complex urinary tract infection at a pharmacy than it is to book an appointment to see a local GP".

"Pharmacists are highly skilled and qualified medicines experts, who already assess, diagnose and treat common conditions every day," he says.

The chief executive of the Consumers Health Forum, Dr Elizabeth Deveny, says patients are sick of what she describes as "a turf war between the pharmacist and the doctors groups".

"What I'm not hearing from either of these groups is that they're engaging with everyday Australians to find out what they actually want and alleviate any concerns," Deveny says.

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