In this edition:

“Junk” private health policies ripping Australians off

The Australian Medical Association (“AMA”) is calling on the Federal Government to ensure all healthcare policies contain a minimum level of cover and to make ‘junk’ policies illegal.

AMA President, Michael Gannon, has run out of patience with private health insurers and said there is a proliferation of worthless junk policies designed purely so people can avoid the tax penalty.

Mr Gannon and the AMA are pushing for a streamlining of thousands of policies into simple gold, silver and bronze categories so people know what they are paying for.

The proposal is before a Government advisory committee, which is due to report by the end of the year.

For more information click here.

Pharmacist’s stiff penalty

The Supreme Court of New South Wales has upheld a decision to cancel the registration of a pharmacist for selling counterfeit Viagra.

The pharmacist purchased and distributed a substance purporting to be Viagra from a person without a wholesale licence. The pharmacist was found to have engaged in unsatisfactory professional conduct, as he knew or ought to have known the Viagra was not genuine for the following reasons:

  • the Viagra was offered for sale as a price per unit which was significantly cheaper than normal market price;
  • the pharmacist was not aware whether the seller of the Viagra had a wholesale licence;
  • this was the first time the seller had offered to supply the pharmacist with a restricted substance; and
  • the packaging and appearance of the substance purporting to be Viagra was different from the genuine product, including the blister pack being a different shape and appearance.

The full judgment of the Supreme Court can be read here.

Bold new plan to eliminate HIV in Victoria

Minister for Health Jill Hennessy has launched the Victorian HIV Strategy 2017-2020 (Strategy) which road maps the elimination of new HIV infections by 2020. The Strategy sets out Victoria’s plan to improve prevention, testing and treatment of HIV and work with affected communities to reduce HIV stigma and discrimination.

A key target of the Strategy is to have 95% of people already diagnosed with HIV achieving undetectable viral load by 2030. The Strategy also addresses women, trans and gender-diverse people for the first time, while still acknowledging that HIV in Victoria disproportionately affects gay and bisexual men. The Victorian Government will continue to increase access to HIV prevention medication PrEP in addition to implementing the Strategy.

Read the Victorian Government’s media release here and the full Strategy here.

OAIC concludes investigation into Australian Red Cross Blood Service data

The Australian Information Commissioner has concluded his investigation into the Australian Red Cross Blood Service’s data breach.

The Commissioner found that the Australian public can maintain confidence in the Blood Service’s commitment to securing personal information. The Commissioner considered that there were two matters within the Blood Service’s control that were contributing factors to the breach.

Namely that privacy obligations cannot be outsourced and organisations must ensure they impose reasonable measures on third party providers to ensure compliance with privacy and data security practices and procedures.

For more information, read the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s media release here.

See our previous article on the breach here.