The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has declared that the Pharmacy Guild’s true intentions for the future of the sector are nothing short of alarming and that the nation’s leaders should wake up to what is happening.

It comes following extraordinary comments made by Pharmacy Guild President Trent Twomey at the National Australian Pharmacy Students’ Association Congress event in Canberra this week and published by The Australian Journal of Pharmacy. In the speech Mr Twomey reportedly:

  • labelled GPs “twits” and said that greater funding was not required for general practice
  • reportedly made the unprecedented claim that pharmacists should be able to prescribe, dispense, administer, and review all medicines for all people
  • described as “bloody insulting” the idea that pharmacists should only prescribe medications when working in cohort with a medical practitioner and likened it to a “plumber needing to look over the shoulder of an electrician” when installing air-conditioning
  • stated that being able to prescribe, dispense, administer, and review medicines are not specialities and that “no one gives a shit”
  • described the nation’s health system as “stuffed”.

On his return from Papua New Guinea, Federal Member for Macarthur Dr Mike Freelander said he was shocked to hear of Mr Twomey’s reported comments.

“The Pharmacy Guild is an extremely powerful and wealthy business group that has been responsible over many years in influencing successive governments to prop up a failed business model, which has continued a high cost to patients of medications and other treatments,” Dr Freelander said.

“Further, they have extremely inefficient prescribing habits where patients who have been stable on medication are forced to engage with pharmacies on a monthly basis to support the business model of the owners.

“There are also location rules prohibiting the opening of new pharmacies despite need.”

RACGP President Dr Nicole Higgins said that Mr Twomey’s comments revealed what many healthcare experts have long suspected.

“The Pharmacy Guild is out of control,” she said.

“In this extraordinary speech, Trent Twomey has laid bare the Guild’s future intentions for their sector and the future of healthcare in Australia. According to them, the limits on pharmacy prescribing should be done away with.

“Describing the idea of pharmacists only having extended powers if working in cohort with trained medical professionals as ‘bloody insulting’ shows the true mindset of the Pharmacy Guild. In this speech, there is no mention of patient safety, it is all about exerting power and extending the role of pharmacy to maximise pharmacy owner profits at any cost.”

Dr Freelander said that it is time that the Pharmacy Guild allowed open competition, efficiency and medication availability in their industry and to be honest with the Australian public about their industry.

“Health professionals need to act in the best interest of their patients and to support one of the best health systems in the world, which is now at a crossroads as we look to 21st century health care practices,” Dr Freelander said.