Page 2835 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 5 August 2008
people authorised to receive them. This is known as the community pharmacy model, and the pharmacy model is recognised by all Australian governments as best practice for the supply of medicines.
I will not take up too much time today because, as I said, I would like to come back with perhaps some loose ends, as I see them, that have been placed before me and, I know, members of the crossbench. The government simply has not given us or the guild time to properly address the still ongoing concerns they have, particularly on the community pharmacy model.
The guild would argue that the ACT is the perfect vehicle to introduce national best practice legislation and transfer all elements of the community pharmacy model—that is, both regulation 5.2, the supermarket restriction, and regulation 5.3, the standards of premises of the health professional—into this bill, the Medicines, Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Bill. Currently the government is proposing to move these provisions into the Health Act.
If we have a look at the registration of premises, the guild has also recommended that a registration of pharmacy premises system be introduced in the ACT. This would be similar to systems which have been in place in Tasmania since 2005 and in South Australia since 2007. I understand that Western Australia and the Northern Territory are in the process of introducing registration of premises there. As rightly argued, if the premises are registered, both the location and the proprietorship of the pharmacy will be on the public record and the ability to enforce the provisions of the Medicines, Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Bill will therefore be enhanced.
I suppose, to sum up, the main argument would be: in terms of simplifying the legislation, why would the government not also transfer key aspects of the community pharmacy model into this legislation? Separating key elements like the supermarket restrictions and standards of premises to the Health Act could pose significant public policy problems on the basis that it may give the Department of Health future veto rights to allow supermarkets to sell pharmaceuticals. Hence it is appropriate, if not necessary, for the relevant regulations to be moved into the same piece of legislation to ensure the integrity of the community pharmacy model is maintained. Lastly, why not fully register pharmacy premises in the ACT, as is being done in Tasmania and South Australia, to maintain and even increase the integrity of this bill, the Medicines, Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Bill?
We were going to move some amendments but, due to a severe lack of time, we cannot. The other thing on that is that I understand that the guild were not aware that this bill was going to be debated today until I was able to tell them last week, which seems to be a bit of a shambles of a process, given that you want to bring stakeholders with you and they are the main player in this. I think there has been a severe breakdown here on the government’s side by not properly bringing along with them in the process the key stakeholder with whom they were working. It simply did not give us time for amendments. We would have liked to have done those today but, on advice from parliamentary counsel, we will be pursuing a way that we can move them, and would ask the crossbench and government to look at that very closely when we are able to do that.