The days of free advice and free services can no longer be sustained in community pharmacy, said Paul Sinclair, vice-president of the New South Wales branch of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, on 1 September 2014 at the 74th International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) Congress in Bangkok.
Sinclair believes patients and governments need to be convinced that the services pharmacy provides are value for money. The reimbursement model needs to evolve to one where the future workforce will be reimbursed for the professional service they provide, not just for the supply of prescription medicines, he suggested.
There is no one-size-fits-all model of care for patients, and community pharmacy needs to communicate a tailored solution of services for individual patient needs. These services should be backed up by robust research, which will allow the public and the government to see the value of pharmacists in improving the health of patients.
Sinclair listed opportunities for community pharmacy to extend its reimbursed role. These include home support for older people (personalised medication management); screening, prevention and wellness checks; minor ailment services; transitional care (post-discharge care); pain management services and vaccinations. He noted that some countries, such as the UK, are already providing some of these services (e.g. minor ailment services).