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Letter to the Editor

Editor, – I agree with the letter from Dr Peter Lake regarding assisting Aboriginal patients with access to medicines (Aust Prescr 2006;29:59-60). I work in an Aboriginal Health Service in Port Augusta and we are often the first point of call of people coming down from Anungu Pitjantjatjara Lands. They often present with an empty dosette which is meant to be full of cardiovascular drugs. Sometimes there is no dosette at all. We then have to find, amongst other things, their Centrelink Health Care Card number before we can even think about prescribing.

They generally, and not surprisingly, have no idea as to the bureaucratic requirements of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. In the interests of compliance, our health service will pay for the drugs, provided they have their Health Care Card. We spend around $100 000 on this each year - none of which we receive funding for. Surely Section 100 should be attached to the patient and not to their address?

Jon Hunt
General practitioner
Pika Wiya Health Services
Port Augusta, SA