Posted November 25, 2018 11:16:55 As the supply of drugs for Australian pharmacies grows increasingly congested, pharmacists are finding that their hours of operation are often restricted, meaning they are often short of staff.
In many cases, they can’t even afford to buy the drugs they need, so the pharmacist is left to fill the gap.
Pharmacists are not the only ones affected.
In fact, the situation is so dire that some pharmacists say they have to start closing shop altogether.
Pharmacy workers are facing a dilemma because there is so little supply of medication, they say.
Read more Dr Sarah, pharmacy manager at Royal Melbourne Hospital, says her pharmacy’s hours have been reduced to four to six days a week.
“It’s been quite a difficult year for our staff,” she said.
The problems began after the Government announced a new national pharmacare scheme in April, which gave pharmacists the option of signing up to buy medicines from other pharmacies in the community, rather than just buying them from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
The pharmacist then had to negotiate prices with the wholesaler, which would then be reimbursed by the Government.
But pharmacies were not able to negotiate the prices for each package and the pharmacists were also not able pay the PBS price for the same medication.
Dr Sarita Gupta, a pharmacist at St James’ Hospital, said the Government’s decision made it harder for pharmacists to negotiate with wholesalers, and so the pharmacy needed to cut its hours.
“We are in a situation where we are struggling to pay for medication and we are not getting a fair return on our investment,” she told ABC Radio Melbourne’s Dr Phil.
Ms Gupta said she now only sells her medications at home, so she has no choice but to make the difficult decision of having to shut down.
There are many people who are struggling with this.
What’s really frustrating is that there is no one in charge in the pharmacare department at the moment.
This is the hardest thing to do, and that’s why we have to do it, she said, adding that the pharmacy is closing its doors as a result of the situation.
Drugs are now being taken off the shelves at pharmacies, so pharmacists will have to deal with increasing demand.
As a result, Dr Gupta said, she will need to stop working, and is considering closing her pharmacy.
Pharmacy workers, such as Dr Sarita, are also facing a problem.
In the past, pharmacies were often the only one who could supply medication to patients who could not afford to pay, so they did not have the luxury of a large supply of the drug in their area.
But Dr Gupta believes the current shortage will affect the pharmacists’ ability to provide the best care to patients.
A spokesperson for the Commonwealth Drug Safety and Innovation Agency (CDSA) said the organisation was aware of the difficulties pharmacists face.
They said they were currently reviewing the issues pharmacists have raised.
Topics:health,pharmacology,health-policy,drugs-and-substance-abuse,medicine,drug-use,health,healthcare-facilities,health—facilities-and_ethics,government-and/or-politics,australiaFirst posted November 25, 2019 12:48:23More stories from New South Wales