1. The Ministry of Finance proposal seeks to amend the Pharmacists Ordinance (new version) – 1981, such that it will enable a pharmacist to issue a prescription drug not based on a prescription signed by a doctor, and to amend the Physicians Ordinance (new version) – 1976, such that the authority of the Director General of the Ministry of Health to permit individuals who are not doctors to perform extraordinary medical procedures will be expanded to para-medical professionals, without the need for approval of the Labor, Welfare and Health Committee. The decision also stated that a joint committee of the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Health would be established with the aim of determining which medical activities, currently performed only by doctors, will be authorized for pharmacists, nurses or para-medical professionals.
2. The explanations alongside the above decisions raise arguments concerning the advancement of medicine and the increased complexity level of medical care that requires specialization, concomitant with the increased qualification level of pharmacists, nurses and para-medical professionals, as a basis for supporting the transfer of medical authority to pharmacists and other caregivers, while underscoring the issue of distributing the burden.
3. The Israeli Medical Association wishes to express its staunch opposition to the attempt to address the complex issue of transferring medical authority, an issue that has fundamental ramifications for the health system in the State and for the condition of patients, an issue that creates systemic changes but at the same time lacks budget ramifications and is not related to economic policy – through the Arrangements Law, whose sole aim is to deal in budgetary and economic aspects.
4. It should be noted that the issue of pharmacist prescriptions was raised in past years in the Arrangements Law and was separated from the Law precisely for the reason that it has no implications for the State budget. We find it difficult to understand why repeated attempts are being made to raise these issues within a framework that is entirely unsuited to discuss them.
5. With respect to the subject itself – we will specify below our basic position on each and every issue: