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Pharmac Proposal Puts Patients And Public At Risk

Pharmac Proposal Puts Patients And Public At Risk From Drug Seekers And Users

The Pharmacy Guild says Pharmac’s (the Government’s drug buying agency) plan to return to three month dispensing of prescription medicines will place patients and the wider public at risk from those seeking and using drugs for illicit purposes.

Guild President, Richard Heslop, said the courts had recently jailed a person for using a prescription medicine in the course of assaults on women.

“The list of medicines Pharmac proposes should soon be dispensed in three month lots includes medicines of this type. It’s hard to believe a Government agency could be so insensitive and display so little regard for public safety. They say they have reviewed the list of medicines to be bulk dispensed very carefully, but have they just focused on the cost and ignored the real effects in terms of health outcomes and public safety?”

Mr Heslop said the drugs concerned were very attractive to illicit drug users and those who supplied them, and bulk dispensing of three month supplies would see very large quantities of tablets being taken home by patients.

“We cannot publicly disclose details of the drugs concerned and police estimates of their black market or ‘street’ value, but three month quantities of some of the medicines on the Pharmac list would result in hundreds of tablets being dispensed ‘in one go.’ While the cost to the Government of these medicines might be low, their street value to criminals runs to thousands of dollars. If very high quantities of medicines are going to be taken home from pharmacies by patients, especially older patients, it will greatly increase the risk of drug seekers taking advantage of large amounts of highly sought after medicines in homes and shopping bags”, he said.

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