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Pharmacist associations for compulsory advice, subject to a charge
Pharmacies provide a service that, according to Mathias Arnold from the Federal Association of German Pharmacists' Associations (ABDA), would like to see the daily newspaper “Die Welt” expanded in the future as an “enhanced advisory function”. The lobby association of pharmacies is thinking of mandatory fee-based consultations for patients who have to take medication over a longer period of time. While critics see this as a silvering of advisory services, the ABDA apparently hopes to alleviate the financial problems of pharmacies, especially in rural areas, in order to avoid more extensive pharmacy closings.
According to the deputy chairman of the Federal Association of German Pharmacists' Associations, a compulsory “detailed medication discussion with the pharmacist” for patients who have to take various medications over a longer period of time would be a sensible achievement, which, however, would have to be paid for separately. Until now, remuneration was only based on the prescription packs sold (EUR 8.35 per pack). Instead, services should also be paid for in the future “that are not directly linked to the package,” said Arnold. "For pharmacists, the future lies above all in an increased advisory function and in medication management," the deputy ABDA chairman continues. In the intended consultation, the focus should be on clarifying interactions and drug intolerance as well as “individual concepts to support therapy”. The diet and lifestyle of the patients could also be discussed.
Paid advice competing with free advice calls? In fact, the pharmacies are legally obliged to provide information about the dispensed medication, which is why the lobby association's initiative has met with criticism, particularly among consumer protection organizations. You are concerned that the fee-based advice could compete with the free offers. Closures of pharmacies, particularly in rural areas, would in turn result in the end that no advice in the immediate vicinity is available anymore, which would not help patients either. The approach to thinking about additional sources of income for pharmacies therefore seems perfectly understandable. However, it remains to be seen whether compulsory counseling is the right way. The pharmacists want to make a decision on the reform proposals at the German Pharmacists' Day in Düsseldorf at the end of September. On this basis, any necessary legislative measures can then be discussed. (fp)
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