Support us to support you – Update on Senate Estimates

Last week, the Senate’s Community Affairs Committee held hearings to discuss the Federal Budget measures impacting our profession. I wanted to provide you with an update on these proceedings and highlight the important role that the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) plays in advocating for pharmacists like you.


Alongside our members, PSA has been working tirelessly, in collaboration with other pharmacy organisations who share similar concerns, to represent your interests and to ensure your voice is heard. It was clear that our concerns are being heard.


Recent policy developments highlight the importance of unity and strong representation for all pharmacists. In crucial times like this, it is vital that our profession stays united in solidarity. As PSA’s National President, I am absolutely committed to advocating for your interests. I invite you to join me, our PSA elected officials, members and team, in our shared mission to enable pharmacists to be at the forefront of healthcare in Australia.


During the hearings, the committee questioned officials from the Department of Health regarding various policy measures, including the proposed 60-day dispensing, on-site aged care pharmacist program, and community pharmacy reinvestment.


Senate Estimates highlighted the impact of these proposed policies, with Senators referencing conversations with pharmacists. The discussions covered a wide range of topics, such as medicine shortages, pharmacy viability (especially in regional areas), aged care services, medicines wastage, safety considerations, and policy implementation approaches.


Department heads were asked to respond to a number of questions on topics ranging from medicine shortages, the viability of pharmacies – particularly in regional areas – aged care, medicines wastage, impact on safety, “reinvestment” and policy implementation approach. Senator Anne Ruston questioned the consultation and decision-making process, and the $1.6 billion loss in co-payments.


Much of the testimony explored details already on the public record, however additional insight was provided in some areas. For example, on aged care, the Department was asked to reflect on concerns that pharmacies have been providing DAAs to residential aged care facilities cross-subsidised by dispensing remuneration and that this may no longer be sustainable. Department of Health Deputy Secretary Penny Shakespeare noted that it is not an expectation that pharmacies provide free services to aged care facilities and that there is a willingness to consider ways to manage this impact.


In relation to 60-day dispensing, the Department has also:

  • Confirmed a substantial component of the “reinvestment” in community pharmacy will be used to top-up budgeted funds for professional services within the 7CPA.
  • Recognised there may be an increase in medicines wastage, but have described the likely impact as small in the context of the scale of the PBS and that they intend to monitor this via the RUM program.


In response to questions from ACT independent Senator David Pocock, the Department of Health described some of the remuneration and transition arrangements for opioid dependence program:

  • Patients will pay a PBS co-payment for the medicine (i.e., methadone or buprenorphine), but be subject to no additional charges.
  • Like other S100 HSD medicines, community pharmacies will be paid a markup, dispensing fee, and Dangerous Drug fee for the dispensing of this item.
  • A staged supply fee of $5.66 (including a $0.97 consumables allowance) will be provided for each dose provided by a pharmacist.
  • The Department is exploring transition arrangements so that existing prescriptions can be used for a period following the program’s start date.
  • The Department is exploring some transition arrangements for availability of OTP medicines for private clinics, but reaffirmed the policy intention is to reduce out-of-pocket patient costs.


On other measures discussed:

  • Following Minister Butler’s announcement of a scope of practice review for all health professionals, Department of Health Deputy Secretary Penny Shakespeare provided the committee with an update on preparation for the review. The Department is currently preparing the Terms of Reference for the review which will take 12-18 months to complete.
  • In response to questions regarding vaping reforms, Department of Health Secretary Brendan Murphy indicated that non-prescription supply of nicotine-vapes for smoking cessation by pharmacists is a policy option the TGA is considering.


Please let me emphasise that the momentum of our advocacy efforts must continue if we want to ensure there is meaningful reinvestment into our profession as a pathway forward, to maintain the career prospects of our pharmacists and the viability of the community pharmacy network. Pharmacists can do more, the health system and our patients need pharmacists to do more, but pharmacists can’t do more for less.


As a valued member of our esteemed FB ECP group, I thank you for being part of our dynamic community that is shaping the future of pharmacy. Your dedication and passion are instrumental in driving the progress of our profession.


For those who are already PSA members, I appreciate your continued support and commitment to your professional growth. Your membership enables PSA to provide you with exclusive resources, networking opportunities, and tailored support to help you thrive as an early career pharmacist.


To those who haven’t yet joined us, I invite you to embark on this exciting journey with the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA). Renew your membership today or join us for the first time by visiting PSA Membership or emailing membership@psa.org.au. Together, lets forge a better future for our profession.


If you have any questions or any feedback, feel free to reach out to our team on 1300 369 772.


Best wishes,


Dr Fei Sim FPS

PSA National President

First Nations pharmacists awarded inaugural McMillan Grant

6 June 2023



The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) today proudly announces three recipients of the inaugural PSA Faye McMillan Conference Grant, funding them to attend PSA’s National Conference, PSA23.


Professor Faye McMillan AM is a Wiradjuri yinaa (woman) originally from Trangie, NSW. She is a dedicated community pharmacist and is recognised as the first Indigenous Australian to hold a western degree in pharmacy in this country.


Inspired and supported by Professor McMillan herself, the PSA Faye McMillan Conference Grant will be to be awarded each year to an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander pharmacist to attend Australia’s leading pharmacist education conference hosted by PSA.


Professor McMillan and PSA are very pleased to announce that this year the grant will support three First Nations pharmacists to attend the PSA23 conference in Sydney from 28-30 July 2023.


The recipients of this year’s grant are –


Alexander Burke (NSW)


Attending this conference will allow me to network with leaders of the profession and to be a role model for young upcoming pharmacists especially those of First Nations background. I believe that the research that I am doing is of vital importance to share with my Australian pharmacy colleagues. My research focuses on how to train pharmacists to be more culturally safe with First Nations patients.


Kirra Natty (NSW)


As an intern I am wanting to broaden my horizons and get as much experience from different conferences and events as I can to see the full scope of pharmacy practice and the possibilities that are available.


Scott Bates (SA)


The PSA conference will be a great way to develop my skills and leadership in Aboriginal Health. Particularly attending the Deadly pharmacist panel. It would be a great opportunity to see what my pharmacy peers have done in this space and share back with the working group my learnings from the panel. Additionally, this could be an incredible resource for networking with likeminded pharmacists.


Quote attributable to PSA National President Dr Fei Sim FPS:


“All health professionals have an obligation to provide culturally safe and appropriate healthcare.”


“PSA acknowledges the ongoing need to increase participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in pharmacy, this grant opportunity represents a genuine commitment by PSA to support the existing pharmacist workforce who identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”


“Congratulations to each recipient of the PSA Faye McMillian Conference Grant, we look forward to seeing Kirra, Scott and Alexander at PSA23!”


Quotes attributable to Prof. Faye McMillan:


“Creating spaces of belonging is a critical component for reconciliation in this country. Grant opportunities such as this allow us to hold this space for others to come into.”


“Yindyamarra (respect) to all the grant recipients and to PSA, Mandaang guwu (thank you).”




Media contact:   Georgia Clarke   M: 0480 099 798  E: georgia.clarke@psa.org.au

Thank You Premier McGowan

30 May 2023




I am saddened to hear of the retirement of West Australia Premier Mark McGowan this week.


Premier McGowan has supported pharmacists and the health care system through some of the most difficult challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic. We sincerely thank him for his unwavering support and leadership during this time.


Under Premier McGowan’s leadership there has been strong investment into the health sector, including in regional health and mental health services, ensuring that services are accessible and available to all West Australians who need them.


PSA is proud to have supported the McGowan Government’s free influenza vaccine programs in 2022 and 2023 that have supported vaccine coverage across Western Australia.


McGowan’s commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of our state has undoubtedly improved the lives of all West Australians.


On behalf of pharmacists across Western Australia, I thank Premier McGowan for his leadership, and wish him the best for what comes next.


I look forward to continuing to work constructively with the Government and the next Premier to support the health of all West Australians.





Media contact:   Georgia Clarke   M: 0480 099 798  E: georgia.clarke@psa.org.au

Palliative Care Pharmacist Training gets green light

26 May 2023


Pharmacists will enhance support for patients receiving palliative care thanks to a new Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) training program announced as one of the successful recipients of the Australian Government’s National Palliative Care Projects grants program.


The Palliative Care Pharmacist Foundation Training program will upskill pharmacists and improve their capacity to provide palliative care.


PSA also will pilot a community palliative care pharmacist service model, with specialist palliative care pharmacists who have undertaken the training.


The training will be co-designed with subject matter experts, partner organisations and consumers.


PSA National President Dr Fei Sim FPS said the training program came after PSA delivered palliative care education and multiple projects.


“PSA has undertaken a lot of projects leading up to this point, including Primary Health Network projects, such as the Palliative Care Access to Core Medicines (PCAM),” she said.


“In South Australia we’ve delivered numerous projects for palliative care pharmacists in Aboriginal Health, in Aged Care and in community palliative care services.


“These projects have enabled timely access to palliative care medicines and support for end-of-life care for people in residential care and at home.”


Dr Sim said the new training would upskill the most easily accessible health professional to support palliative care in the community.


“Pharmacists already conduct medication reviews in the home and in residential care, providing critical care for patients on multiple medicines,” she said.


“They can provide increased support to patients, carers, including in bereavement with the additional knowledge and skills provided by the training program.”


Funding for the innovative training program and pilot of a new community palliative care pharmacist service model was announced by the Federal Government today as part of $68 million palliative care grants package.


Dr Sim said people who reported difficulty accessing appropriate palliative care due to gender, cultural, or disability reasons would benefit through pharmacist’s receiving training in delivering care to diverse patient groups.


“Upskilling local pharmacists in palliative care will increase the capacity of community palliative care teams, community pharmacists, and general practitioners to provide care to palliative care patients,” she said.


“The service model pilot will trial and inform an ongoing model of care.


“The pharmacist will increase collaboration and coordination of local palliative care services, reducing unnecessary hospital presentations.”


Training will be available to all Australian registered pharmacists and more information of when it will launch and how to enrol will be communicated in 2024.


Media contact:   Georgia Clarke   M: 0480 099 798  E: georgia.clarke@psa.org.au

Safe access to contraception must be a priority

26 May 2023


A Senate Committee report into sexual and reproductive healthcare has supported the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s (PSA’s) call for pharmacists to play a greater role in improving safe access to contraceptives.


The Report tabled by the Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee, Ending the postcode lottery: Addressing barriers to sexual, maternity and reproductive healthcare in Australia, recommended significant changes to Australia’s health system to make contraception, abortion and pregnancy care more accessible.


Among the recommendations are calls for all health professionals to practise to their full scope.


PSA National President Dr Fei Sim FPS acknowledged the recommendations, reiterating her support for pharmacist-prescribed contraceptives.


“Safe access to latest and safest contraception is not a luxury, it is a basic healthcare need,” Dr Sim said.


“Pharmacists are ready and able to improve healthcare for all Australians, offering safe, accessible, and equitable access to contraception and expert advice on their options.


“In many places around the world, pharmacists are already able to prescribe contraceptives to patients, giving us a model of care that is improving healthcare access for patients.


“To ensure that access to reproductive healthcare is timely and contemporary we must be prepared to do things differently and allow all health professionals to practice to their top of scope.


“Oral contraceptive pills are widely considered to be safe and effective medications, with more than 100 countries around the world allowing pharmacists to prescribe them without a prescription.


“Pharmacists are well placed to inform patients about their contraceptive options, including Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives.


“This is about making sure that Australians can access contraception when and where they need it.


“Pharmacists can and should be doing more to support the healthcare needs of Australians,” Dr Sim concluded.



Media contact:   Georgia Clarke   M: 0480 099 798  E: georgia.clarke@psa.org.au

Dr Fei Sim re-elected as National President

26 May 2023


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) has re-elected Dr Fei Sim FPS as National President and Chair of the National Board in Canberra today.


The Board also elected Caroline Diamantis MPS and Benjamin Marchant MPS as National Vice-Presidents for the term beginning 1 July 2023. Dr Shane Jackson FPS was also appointed to lead PSA’s approach to the Community Pharmacy Agreement and will remain a part of the Board executive.


PSA Interim Chief Executive Officer Nick Foster welcomed incoming Board Directors Dr Natalie Soulsby FPS, Amanda Cross MPS and Helen Benson MPS.


“I am excited at to work with a PSA board with such a wealth of experience across all sectors of pharmacy,” Mr Foster said.


“I particularly welcome new Directors Dr Natalie Soulsby, Amanda Cross and Helen Benson, who are all experienced, passionate pharmacists who bring a wealth of experience to our organisation.


“PSA is proud to welcome a Board that reflects our profession, with more than half of our incoming Board being women.


“I look forward to working closely with the newly appointed Board and our re-elected President to best support Australia’s pharmacists.”


Dr Sim, who was first elected as President in June 2021, said it was an honour to be re‑elected and continue her advocacy for pharmacists during a time of rapid change.


“Despite the challenges that our profession faces, I am confident in the future of our profession,” Dr Sim said.


“With the support of the PSA Board, we continue to work toward a future that recognises the skills and expertise of pharmacists and allows us to practice to our top of scope.


“This is my priority and the priority of our entire team.


“Thank you, PSA members, for your support. I am humbled and proud to be able to continue leading you and our profession.


“I would also like to thank retiring Board members Michelle Lynch FPS, Warwick Plunkett FPS, Andrew Sluggett FPS, and Deanna Mill MPS for their service to our profession,” Dr Sim concluded.


The incoming Board of Directors includes:


  • Dr Fei Sim FPS, National President (Western Australia)
  • Caroline Diamantis MPS, National Vice-President (New South Wales)
  • Benjamin Marchant MPS, National Vice-President (Victoria)
  • Dr Shane Jackson FPS, Board Executive member (Tasmania)
  • Helen Benson MPS, Board Director (New South Wales)
  • Amanda Cross MPS, Board Director (Victoria)
  • Mark Naunton MPS, Board Director (Australian Capital Territory)
  • Dr Natalie Soulsby FPS, Board Director (South Australia)
  • Bridget Totterman MPS, Board Director (Queensland)


New appointments will commence on 1 July 2023.



Media contact:   Georgia Clarke   M: 0480 099 798  E: georgia.clarke@psa.org.au

Vale John Daffey FPS

25 May 2023


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former National President John Daffey FPS.   


Mr Daffey served as PSA’s National President between 2000 and 2001, on top of his 15 years of service on PSA’s Victorian Branch from 1987 to 2002.   


PSA National President Dr Fei Sim FPS expressed her deepest condolences to Mr Daffey’s colleagues, family, friends and loved ones.   


“John made many valuable contributions to our profession, both as a community pharmacist and as a national leader,” Dr Sim said.   


“John is well known for his leadership and collegiality throughout negotiations for the 3rd Community Pharmacy Agreement, working collaboratively with the Pharmacy Guild of Australia to get the best outcomes for Australian pharmacists and patients.  



“His loss comes at a difficult time for pharmacists around Australia, and there has never been a more important time for our profession to unite in John’s spirit of solidarity.  


“On behalf of the pharmacy profession, my deepest condolences are with the Daffey family, their friends, and many colleagues in Victoria,” Dr Sim concluded. 



Media contact:   Georgia Clarke   M: 0480 099 798  E: georgia.clarke@psa.org.au 

Your future and 60-day dispensing

PSA is offering you a FREE exclusive briefing on recent policies and measures announced in the Federal Budget.


Join PSA National President Dr Fei Sim FPS for an exclusive member briefing on what Budget policies mean for you, and how you can help shape your practice future.


Your future and 60-day dispensing

7pm AEST

Thursday 25 May, 2023

via Microsoft Teams


No registration, app or account needed to join the Microsoft Teams webinar –  just click on the button to join the webinar.

Incoming Health Minister has opportunity to lead the nation

18 May 2023


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) extends its sincere thanks to outgoing Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath MP for her service and her longstanding support of pharmacists following a Cabinet reshuffle announced today.


PSA Queensland President Shane MacDonald MPS sincerely thanked Minister D’Ath for her engagement with pharmacists over her term as Health Minister.


“Pharmacists across Queensland are able to do more for our patients and our communities because of Minister D’Ath’s work in the Health portfolio,” Mr MacDonald said.


“Since taking on the Health portfolio in 2020, Minister D’Ath has navigated Queenslanders through the COVID-19 pandemic, on top of introducing Voluntary Assisted Dying legislation, supporting pharmacist prescribing via the Urinary Tract Infection Pharmacy Pilot and North Queensland Scope of Practice Pilot and expanding access to potentially lifesaving vaccines.


“Thank you Minister D’Ath for your ongoing support of our profession.”


Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced that Shannon Fentiman MP will take on the Health portfolio from today.


“On behalf of pharmacists across our state, I welcome Minister Fentiman to the Health portfolio, and look forward to working closely with her to improve primary care to all Queenslanders.


“There is still work to be done to make sure more vaccines are available to more Queenslanders. We want to work with the Government toward a future where all patients can access all vaccines from their local pharmacist, whether in a community pharmacy, general practice, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, or aged care facility.


“We have an opportunity to make Queensland the most progressive state when it comes to vaccine accessibility, and we look forward to working with the new Minister on this,” Mr MacDonald concluded.



Media contact:   Georgia Clarke   M: 0480 099 798  E: georgia.clarke@psa.org.au


Community pharmacy leader elected as WA PSA President

18 May 2023


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is proud to announce that community pharmacist Kristian Ray MPS has been elected as President of the PSA West Australian Branch, following a meeting of the newly elected committee this week.


Mr Ray is a community pharmacist and the Pharmacy Development and Health Services Manager for the largest pharmacy group in Western Australia, Pharmacy 777. Mr Ray is involved in the development, implementation and growth of Pharmacy Services that improve patient health outcomes across the group, bringing a depth of experience to PSA’s Branch Committee.


The WA Branch Committee has also elected Alyssa Pisano MPS and re-elected Ayomide Ogundipe MPS as Vice-Presidents, and re-elected Dr Fei Sim FPS as National Board Director.


“I am grateful to be elected as President of the PSA WA Branch Committee and thank Lusi Sheehan for her valuable contribution to the role over the last 12 months.


“Our profession has faced challenges over the last few years, but remained strong and agile with the support of PSA.


“I am excited to work with the Branch Committee team and industry stakeholders to continue to advocate for the role of pharmacists in our communities and across our state.


“Knowing the skills of our pharmacists gives me confidence that the future of our profession looks bright, and we are able to adapt to things previously not thought possible,” Mr Ray concluded.


Ms Sheehan will continue to serve on the PSA WA Branch Committee. Mr Ray will start in his role on 1 July 2023.