Monday, September 26, 2011
The Pharmacy Guild Has Gone Over The Top Here. Using Health IT Help Them Up-Sell Blackmore’s Products!
I am sorry but this plan of having a dispensing system suggest complimentary medicine to take with your prescription is really just astonishing.
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has accused the Pharmacy Guild of Australia of putting commercial interests ahead of patients' health under a new deal which will see pharmacists prompted to recommend supplementary medicines to consumers.
The guild has struck an agreement with the company Blackmores to promote the company's products alongside certain prescription drugs.
Under the deal, pharmacists dispensing medicines for several common conditions will receive a prompt in their computer system reminding them to promote a complementary Blackmores product.
The AMA says it appears commercial interests are being put ahead of patients' needs.
But the association has previously been accused of doing the same, and the Pharmacy Guild says it is thrilled about the deal.
The guild says the four Blackmores products in the range have been designed specifically to offset possible side-effects of common prescription drugs.
But AMA president Steve Hambleton says the agreement is just an opportunity to up-sell and increase profits.
"We rely on our pharmacy colleagues to actually assist us in healthcare of the patient," he said.
"It is a very good relationship between doctors and pharmacists, and I'd hate to see anything undermine that.
"That sort of advice from a professional pharmacist will have a great impact on patients and they may well decide to choose those products.
"We know some patients won't even take all of their medicines because of the price - I'd hate to think that they'd substitute one of their prescribed medicines for one of these companion products."
Dr Hambleton says there is potential to sell companion products with around 58 million claims for PBS prescriptions.
"This is a big financial deal. We can't put finances ahead of the health of a patient," he said.
Talk about giving the concept of electronic Clinical Decision Support a bad name and worse using such systems to improve pharmacist and Blackmore’s revenue where there is such clear conflict of commercial interest. We need to know the pharmacist isa cting totally in the interest of the patient and not to have them conflicted by the possibility of extra and possibly un-necessary sales.
Note that the patient will not be aware that the pharmacist has been reminded to provide ‘fries with that’!
I am not saying pharmacists don’t act in the patient’s best interest but to avoid the obvious perception they are simply commercially motivated, this idea should just be dropped.
If it is important for the extra complimentary medicine to be provided it should be on the recommendation of the clinical prescriber not the pharmacist.
Posted by Dr David More MB PhD FACHI at Monday, September 26, 2011