GPs Warn Against State Government’s Plan For Pharmacies Distributing Antibiotics

“Bit of an oxymoron”

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The State Government’s plan to allow pharmacists to prescribe some medicines has received backlash from GP’s. 

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has warned the move could worsen medicine shortages and lead to over-prescription if people take advantage of the service. 

Under the proposed reforms, medicines for urinary tract infections, treatments for skin conditions and infections and birth control will be available through pharmacists, with the NSW State Government wanting the trial to extend nationwide.

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Nicole Higgins, president of the college, said “often what seems straightforward is quite complex” and “the skill of general practice is actually knowing when not to prescribe”.

Referring to “the current antibiotic shortage” Ms Higgins said research showed “pharmacists are more likely to prescribe antibiotics”.

“At a time when we have a shortage of medications, increasing the prescribers is a bit of an oxymoron,” Ms Higgins said.

“GPs have spent more than 10 years training – they know how to diagnose and manage conditions and prescribe medicine.”

Premier Dominic Perrottet responded to those in opposition of the reform bluntly, saying the changes were needed as access to GP appointments worsens.

“The federal and state health systems don’t work alongside each other, they work against each other,” Perrottet said in an interview.

“As a result, we have a situation where people can’t get access to their GP and they end up presenting in emergency departments by no fault of their own for matters that aren’t an emergency.”

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2 February 2023

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