THE Australian Medical Association (AMA) is calling on the Federal Government to legislate to allow doctors to own and operate pharmacies.
Under current legislation, pharmacists can own and operate medical clinics, however doctors are restricted in owning and operating pharmacies attached to their own clinics.
AMA Capricorn Area Representative Dr Kim Bulwinkel said doctors had a lot of restrictions attached to their profession.
“Doctors are like a mob of caged animals,” Dr Bulwinkel said.
“Under the auspices of trying to improve services, the role of the doctor is being taken over more and more. But unlike pharmacists, doctors are not allowed to expand their services to improve the role of the medical care that they can provide.
“It’s rather unbalanced and unfair,” Dr Bulwinkel said.
The AMA said yesterday that co-locating pharmacies within, adjacent to, or close to a general practice – under the ownership of the doctor – would provide significant benefits and convenience to patients.
Senior citizen Margaret Shaw said if the pharmacist was located in the same building as the doctor it would be a good thing.
“Today I have to go to the pharmacist and I have to get a taxi because it’s too hot to walk,” Ms Shaw said.
“With my prescription I don’t keep to one pharmacy, I go to any which one that is near at hand.
“Once when I was on my way from the pathologist to the pharmacist, I banged my arm and hurt myself badly. So I see it as a good thing,” Ms Shaw said.