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2017: Year in review

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A year when codeine, penalty rates and mergers and acquisitions were on everyone’s lips… we take a look back at how it unfolded as reported in PS and the AJP

Jan – March

Many in pharmacy said that the benefits of the real-time monitoring system, MedsASSIST were being overlooked as a way to reduce the problem of codeine misuse/abuse.

“With tools like MedsASSIST we can offer support and help identify people who might need another pathway to assist them with their pain difficulties,” said Vic Guild president Anthony Tassone.

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Greg Hunt replaced Sussan Ley as Health Minister as her shock resignation over travel expenses. One of Minister’s Hunt’s first moves was to his support for MedsASSIST. The Guild said it would hold off its imminent shutdown. 

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Staff penalty rates cut in half for Sunday and public holidays by the Fair Work Commission.

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Lucy Walker Chemmart Goondwindi named overall Guild Pharmacy of the Year. “I feel absolutely humbled that our pharmacy has been singled out,” said Lucy Walker.

 

 

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April – June

Valium recalled over tampering fears, leaving one employee sacked and under investigation.

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Pharmacy assistant earnings were found to be less than bottle shop, post office, deli workers, and cinema attendants.

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The Government injected more than $5m into a public campaign to raise awareness of the importance of childhood vaccination.

Australia’s highest antibiotic prescribers were sent a letter about overprescribing as part of the Government’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy.

July – September

Fair Work Commission announced the Pharmacy Industry Award would increase by 3.3%.

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Fewer than 10% of consumer respondents to a King Review Survey said they chose a pharmacy to obtain the $1 copayment discount.

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Ramsay Healthcare and Malouf Group announced Malouf Pharmacies would be added to the Ramsay Pharmacy Network. The new group would operate 55 retail pharmacies.

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Seven Chemist Warehouse stores in Victoria to become Supercare Pharmacies as part of a two year agreement with the government.

 

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Pharmacy staff from Tocumwal Guardian Pharmacy were surprised when a little koala ambled through their doors. “Where are the eucalyptus drops? He walked the store, got some free pharmacy advice and then headed to the tree up the road. Only in Toc!” said the pharmacy on its Facebook page.

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Radio personality Kristie Mercer was blasted for comments she made about a 15min pharmacy wait. “What the f***! Like, I’m sorry, what is the hold up the process?”

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Chemist Warehouse places 100,000 seat cushions filled with products such as Nivea, La Roche Posay and Swisse on all seats at the AFL Grand final.

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Oct – December

Unions lose penalty rate fight in the Federal Court. The Court ruled the Fair Work Commission acted within the rules when it handed down its decision to cut penalty rates.

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Upscheduling of codeine to go ahead after the Therapeutic Goods Administration did not receive a formal submission to delay.

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Stephanie Meiklejohn from Nhill Pharmacy, Victoria, was named the Pharmacy Assistant of the Year from a record number of entries.

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After much trepidation, Amazon launches in Australia. CEO of Advantage Pharmacy, Steven Kastrinakis said pharmacy must brace itself for “massive disruption”. “Amazon’s arrival in Australia has the potential to change Australian consumer behaviour by encouraging more online shopping.”

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‘Yet’ vote a “health win, said pharmacy groups and other other stakeholders who applaulded the vote for marriage equality.

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A survey of more than 1,000 retail and hospitality workers has found no evidence that cutting Sunday penalty rates has led to more hours for workers or employers hiring additional staff.

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New Ministers appointed to health, business portfolios after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced his Cabinet reshuffle on 19 December.  Greg Hunt retained the key Health portfolio, Ken Wyatt remained Minister for Indigenous Health, and Senator Bridget McKenzie joined Cabinet as Minister for Sport, Rural Health and Regional Communications.

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A new study found that 60% of us hang onto medicines in case we need them again. Other reasons included not wanting to waste money, not knowing how to dispose of them, intending to give them to family and friends, or forgetting the medicines were there.

 

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