The dangers of pharmacist prescribing – safety before convenience

22 Aug 2019

The latest issue of the AMA’s member magazine, Australian Medicine, is out now. Dr Richard Kidd, Chair of the AMA Council of General Practice, discusses the issue of patient safety over convenience in the ongoing pharmacy prescribing debate.

Dr Kidd outlines the current regulations and issues with patient safety that underpin the separation of prescribing and dispensing, the myths encouraged by the Pharmacy Guild surrounding access to GP services, and the important role pharmacy plays as part of a GP-led multidisciplinary team of health professionals.

“For the AMA, it is indefensible that the patient protections currently in place are trying to be circumvented by those with a pecuniary interest in both prescribing and dispensing. Given that pharmacies receive a dispensing fee from Government for each PBS medication they dispense, it is easy to see they would have a conflict of interest if pharmacist staff could also prescribe such medications,” Dr Kidd says.

“What the AMA wants to see is non-dispensing pharmacists integrated within general practice and working collaboratively with GPs and patients to enhance patient medication adherence, improve medication management and provide education about medication safety. Working within a medically-led and delegated team environment, where collaborative arrangements are formally documented and core competencies for safe prescribing are achieved and maintained, provides the best opportunity for pharmacists to fully utilise their training and expertise, within their scope of practice and without fragmenting care.”

The latest issue also features an article detailing the discussion around the Pharmacy Guild’s policy paper calling for pharmacist to operate beyond their scope of practice at the recent AMA Federal Council meeting in Canberra. AMA President Dr Tony Bartone described the paper as a stunt – but one that had the potential to place patients in danger.

Read the latest issue of Australian Medicine here.