The Editorial Executive Committee welcomes letters, which should be less than 250 words. Before a decision to publish is made, letters which refer to a published article may be sent to the author for a response. Any letter may be sent to an expert for comment. When letters are published, they are usually accompanied in the same issue by their responses or comments. The Committee screens out discourteous, inaccurate or libellous statements. The letters are sub-edited before publication. Authors are required to declare any conflicts of interest. The Committee's decision on publication is final.


Letter to the Editor

Editor, – The article 'Assisting Aboriginal patients with medication management' (Aust Prescr 2005;28:123-5) included many useful suggestions. However, one of the most important barriers facing people with chronic ill health was only mentioned in passing, namely medication co-payments. A particular sub-group of the Aboriginal population is severely affected by co-payments. These are the growing number who normally live in remote communities but move temporarily or permanently into capital cities. By moving, they lose access to free medications provided under Section 100 (National Health Act 1953). Due to the high burden of chronic disease experienced by Aboriginal people, many require multiple medications and, not surprisingly, come to grief being unable to afford the additional costs. Extension of Section 100 eligibility to the whole Aboriginal population of Australia has been the subject of a joint position paper by the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and the Pharmacy Guild. This paper is available online.1Implementation of its recommendations would not be expensive, but would do much to improve the health status of Aboriginal people with chronic conditions.

Peter Lake
Staff specialist
Port Adelaide Community Health Service
Port Adelaide, SA


Peter Lake

Staff specialist, Port Adelaide Community Health Service, Port Adelaide, SA

Cathy Larkin

Pharmacist Academic, Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services Council, Broome, Western Australia

Richard Murray

Planning Director, Rural Clinical School, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland