Cleaning up community pharmacy – and we don’t mean with soap!!

Professional Pharmacists Australia (PPA) has launched a campaign Clean Up Pharmacy in an effort to stamp out questionable practices that are alleged to be occurring in community pharmacies in Australia.

PPA President Dr Geoff March has said that programs such as Home Medicines Reviews and Medschecks are of concern, as well as the underpayment of staff, with the PPA planning to bring poor practice to the attention of the relevant authorities. Rather than this being about individual pharmacies, Dr March says that the intention of the campaign is to “collect a body of information that can be used to highlight issues of concern within the industry with politicians, Departments and regulatory bodies.”

Dr March has said that pharmacy owners who are doing the right thing have found it increasingly difficult to compete in the marketplace as the level of competition is unsustainable. PPA has said that their members, made up of non-pharmacy owners, have expressed concerns about standards being driven down in community pharmacies, causing damage to the industry and health services.

One of the reasons for the PPA’s Clean Up Pharmacy campaign has come following the revelation that one Victorian pharmacy had performed 319 Medschecks in two weeks. Considering that the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) Medschecks guidelines state that “MedsCheck consultations are estimated to take about 30 minutes”, comments made on a Pharmacy News article were that the pharmacy must have had several pharmacists on duty (which is most likely not the case), or had a full-time pharmacist doing only Medschecks and not dispensing any medications (also not an industry standard). A comment on the PSA Early Career Pharmacists Facebook group said that they had heard of some pharmacies doing 5 minute Medschecks.

The PPA intends for the Clean Up Pharmacy Campaign to allow for better wages and conditions for non-pharmacy owners, with more emphasis being on professional services and better outcomes for patients.

Click here for PPA’s Clean Up Pharmacy survey
Click here for PPA’s media release on this campaign
Click here for PPA’s advocacy page on this campaign

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  1. Another method of improving the services in pharmacy is to reduce the number of full time employees. Including pharmacists. With the owner working all the hours there will no doubt be more “emphasis… on professional services and better outcomes for patients.” When the revenue dries up – there’ll be no more work for employer and non employer pharmacists. Except perhaps at Woolworths. Or Coles.

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