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Pharmacy Guild Says Pharmac Decision Disappointing

Pharmacy Guild Says Pharmac Decision Disappointing

The Pharmacy Guild expressed disappointment today at a decision announced by Pharmac to greatly expand the three monthly dispensing of medicines. While Pharmac had made some useful changes as a result of the consultation process, the Guild said the new policy would mean the inevitable closure of some rural and suburban pharmacies.

Guild President Richard Heslop said it was too soon to comment on all aspects of the decision because the detail was not yet available, but it was clear that most of what Pharmac had originally proposed had been retained.

“We provided Pharmac and the DHBs with a detailed and well researched submission and recommendations that explored the needs of patients for better medicine management. The information released today does not allow us to know if patients are going to get the benefits from the move that Pharmac promise.”

Mr Heslop said there was no getting away from the fact that this was a cost cutting exercise that would have a significant impact on the ability of many pharmacies to maintain the present level of healthcare services.

“Pharmac admits that the proposal is designed as a cost cutting exercise. Sadly some communities will soon find it harder to access their subsidised medicine services.”

He said pharmacists are also surprised that Pharmac says it found no clear link between the frequency of dispensings and the incidence of accidental poisonings.

”We think that Pharmac have missed the point. Poisonings are related to the volume of medicines in the community rather than how often people pick up their medicines.”

Mr Heslop said it was interesting to note that in proposing the return to monthly dispensing in November 1995, the former health funders, the Regional Health Authorities expected to achieve:

Efficiency gains in the use of medicines Closer patient/pharmacist contact for better patient care Improved compliance for people on long-term therapy Improved home safety, and, a reduction in stock management costs.

“This was well accepted by the Minister of Health and Ministry at the time, but these points are now all being dismissed by Pharmac in their quest for quick savings. We wonder why the new health funders, the DHBs, seem to have had little to say about such an important issue for the people under their care.”

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