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Newspaper report 'offensive' to Australia's 27,000 pharmacists

18 March, 2015

A recent newspaper report refers disparagingly to pharmacists as "a union of men and women in white coats" who will "get to gouge the public purse for another five years".

The National President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, Grant Kardachi, said such comments were offensive to the 27,000 pharmacists in Australia who belonged to the proud profession of pharmacy.

"The author of the article seems to have taken it upon herself to try to undermine and defame the integrity of the profession and all those in it simply because she quite demonstrably does not understand this area of the health sector," Kardachi said.

"She also clearly does not understand, or has simply chosen to ignore, the difference between two of the pharmacy profession's representative bodies – the PSA and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.

"Her article is about the Community Pharmacy Agreement which is negotiated between the Guild, representing pharmacy owners, and the Government. The PSA represents pharmacists across all sectors of the profession and across all locations but clearly grouping all pharmacists together as 'a union of men and women in white coats' adheres to the tenet that you shouldn't let the facts get in the way of a good story.

"But she misses the good story. The good story is about pharmacists and the work they do in improving the health outcomes of consumers. The good story is about the trust and respect that consumers have in pharmacists. The good story is about the accessibility of pharmacists which allows consumers to walk in off the street and receive health advice and counselling."

Kardachi said pharmacists were consistently placed among the most highly trusted and respected of all health professionals in the highly regarded Readers Digest Most Trusted Profession survey.

"In addition we are the most accessible of health professions with some 300 million visits to community pharmacies by consumers every year," Kardachi said.

"Quite often these visits see consumers seeking advice from their pharmacist on health issues, advice which is freely given and often does not result in any medicine sale or financial gain for the pharmacy.

"Far from being a 'union of men and women in white coats' the profession is a grouping of committed professionals who are determined to help improve the health outcomes of all Australians."

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