AMA welcomes 'no' move on autonomous pharmacist prescribing

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The AMA has welcomed a decision by the Pharmacy Board of Australia not to pursue a model of autonomous prescribing by pharmacists.

The model would require additional regulation, changes to state and territory legislation, and an application to the Ministerial Council, which could only proceed following the development of a registration standard.

AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone, said the AMA "applauds" the Pharmacy Board’s position as an endorsement of the appropriate scope of practice of health professionals and in the best interests of patients and the community.

“Pharmacists are not doctors, and they should not be allowed to undertake autonomous prescribing,” said Dr Bartone.

“The Pharmacy Board has highlighted that significant issues remain with any model of pharmacist prescribing including evidence of need, conflicts of interest, and the importance of separating the prescribing and supply of medicines – all issues that were raised by the AMA.

“The Pharmacy Board position protects the safety of patients and prevents pharmacists from conflicts of interest.”

Dr Bartone said that the AMA highly values the professional role of pharmacists in working with doctors and patients to ensure medication adherence, improve medication management, and provide education about medication safety.

“The AMA supports models of care that fully incorporate pharmacists’ training and expertise, within their scope of practice,” he said.

“Safe, high-quality patient care depends on multidisciplinary teams of health professionals, led by doctors, working together within their scopes of practice.

“Autonomous prescribing of Schedule 4 and 8 medicines by non-medical practitioners poses significant risks to patient safety.”