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Staples contradicts himself on pharmacy tribunal's independence



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P A R L I A M E N T O F A U S T R A L I A

H O U S E O F R E P R E S E N T A T I V E S

P.O. BOX 1206. BOORAGOON. W.A. 6164 SUITE 8, GATEW AY M E L V IL L E C ITY CENTRE BOORAGOON TEL. (09) 364 5554, (06 2 )7 7 4169

FAX: (09) 364 9971

PETER S H A C K . M.P.

FEDERAL MEMBER FOR T A N G N E Y

SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY M IC A H

MEDIA RELEASE

1st JUNE. 1989. 34/89

STAPLES CONTRADICTS HIMSELF ON PHARMACY TRIBUNAL'S INDEPENDENCE

"Either the Minister responsible for the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, the Minister for Housing and Aged Care Mr Peter Staples, is blessed with remarkable foresight, or he's not telling it like it is.

"In answer to a question from me in Parliament today, the Minister claimed that the Pharmaceutical Benefits Remuneration Tribunal is an "independent Tribunal", that it had submissions from pharmacists before it and that "...this Government and I are

not going to interfere...".

"This declaration on 'independence' is, however, rather at odds with statements he made in his letter to all pharmacists on 17th May 1989 about the Pharmacy Guild's rejection of the Government's totally inadequate pharmacy remuneration package.

"In this letter he said:

'Perhaps they (the Guild Executive) prefer their members to obtain less from the Tribunal...'

"If the Tribunal really is an independent body how is it that, some three weeks before its public hearing being held in Melbourne tomorrow, the Minister was able to state that its determination would result in pharmacists receiving less than under the Government's remuneration proposals?

"Does this mean that a decision has already been reached to implement the recommendations of the Data Base Inquiry and place the remuneration emphasis on pharmacists pumping out scripts rather than on their professional skills?

"Could it be that the individuals and organisations who have placed almost 1,000 submissions before the Tribunal have wasted their time?

"Or is the Minister genuine when he claims that the Government recognises that pharmacists have a very important role to play in the delivery of health care and that they should not be remunerated simply on the basis of selling more and more pills.

"If he is genuine, why does the Government's submission to the Tribunal push for a remuneration package devoid of any allowance -for-pharmacists' — ski-l-ls-in-promoting-proper— drug-usage-and-------instead continue to argue in favour of the scripts dispensed

approach?

"Clearly the Minister has failed to appreciate that the remuneration package he supports will wipe out community pharmacy as we now know it and it will take a great deal more than his new consultative council on pharmaceuticals to get pharmacy back on track."

Further information: Peter Shack (062) 77 4169.