PSA supports Uluru Statement from the Heart

January 10, 2019


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) has endorsed the historic Uluru Statement from the Heart, which calls for a First Nations Voice to be enshrined in the Constitution and for a Makarrata Commission as a process for agreement making and truth telling.


PSA National President Dr Chris Freeman said PSA was proud to add its voice to the call for recognition of the First Peoples of Australia in the Constitution.


“PSA is committed to ongoing work to support the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We support the Uluru Statement from the Heart’s call for constitutional reforms to empower people to have their views heard in relation to making laws and policies that affect their lives.


“We are proud to add our voice to this movement for a better future.”


Generational disadvantage continues to have a detrimental impact on the physical and mental health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.


“As the peak national body for pharmacists, PSA has long advocated for closing the gap by supporting pharmacists to play an active role in improving medication management for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” Dr Freeman said.


“Pharmacists must work collaboratively with Aboriginal Health Organisations to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”


PSA is collaborating with the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) on the Integrating Pharmacists within Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services to Improve Chronic Disease Management (IPAC) trial.


This pioneering project aims to improve chronic disease management by embedding pharmacists within Aboriginal Health Services.


PSA’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Services Pharmacist Career Pathway provides training and support to help pharmacists working in these services to optimise health for their patients.


PSA will be developing a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in 2019. The RAP will underpin the work PSA does with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and support members and staff to provide culturally safe workplaces and services.


Media contact:  
Jarryd Luke
Senior Communications Officer
0487 922 176

Pharmacists help improve vaccination rates in NSW

January 2, 2019


People in NSW can get vaccinated against whooping cough and measles by visiting their local pharmacy, thanks to a move by the NSW Government welcomed by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA).


As of 1 January 2019, pharmacists are providing diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (dTpa) and measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccines, in addition to influenza vaccines, to anyone 16 years and over.


PSA NSW President Professor Peter Carroll, in welcoming the NSW Government’s announcement, said allowing accredited pharmacists to vaccinate gave people more choice about when and where to get vaccinated.


“Allowing accredited pharmacists to vaccinate against whooping cough and measles will further boost NSW’s vaccination rates by making immunisation more accessible.


“Particularly in regional and remote NSW, people may have trouble accessing a GP. In addition, some people do not visit a GP regularly, or do not have a GP. Allowing accredited pharmacists to vaccinate will increase vaccination rates and herd immunity within the community.


“I congratulate the NSW Government on this initiative which will without doubt increase vaccination rates and help to protect the people of NSW from these preventable diseases.”


PSA, the peak national body for pharmacists, has advocated for many years in collaboration with the Pharmacy Guild of Australia to allow pharmacists to deliver more vaccinations.


PSA National President Dr Chris Freeman applauded the NSW Government’s initiative to build on the state’s already high vaccination rates.


“This brings NSW in line with other states such as the Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria where pharmacists already provide dTpa and MMR vaccinations.”


In 2018, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council announced their decision to establish a working group to consider a nationally consistent approach to pharmacist administered vaccinations.


“A nationally consistent approach to vaccinations will improve access for all Australians,” Dr Freeman said.


“PSA is looking forward to working with the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee to make full use of pharmacists’ expertise across the country so they can provide a wider range of vaccinations.”


Media contact:

Jarryd Luke

Senior Communications Officer

0487 922 176

Wage stagnation fails to provide fair minimum safety net for pharmacists: PSA

The decision by the Fair Work Commission to stagnate the minimum safety net pay rate for community pharmacists is a completely inadequate reflection of the complex work that pharmacists do, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) says.


PSA National President Dr Chris Freeman said, “It is very clear to PSA that the current pharmacy award rate of just over $27 per hour does not reflect the profession’s significant training, expertise and accountability.


“While an increase in the award rate is necessary, PSA is cognisant that it should be considered within the context of the broader pharmacy sector and should be met with, at least, a corresponding increase to funding into the pharmacy sector so any base wage increases are affordable.


“We urge all pharmacists to discuss fair remuneration with their employers when accepting employment and at regular intervals.”


Dr Freeman said the Fair Work Commission ruling was concerned with determining the minimum wage and conditions for pharmacists rather than reflecting the full value of pharmacists as medicines experts.


“The issue of fair pay for pharmacists goes far beyond the minimum wage. Pharmacists need to be appropriately remunerated for their significant training as healthcare professionals with the most expertise in the quality use of medicines,” he said.


“The recent case PSA put to the Fair Work Commission focused on the change in the scope of practice for the pharmacy profession. While we have seen some increase in the scope of practice of pharmacists, many of the ‘new’ activities are simply a fulfilment of scope of practice.


“Our health system has seen a significant change in the complexity of health problems faced by patients and pharmacists are now practising at a deeper and more intense level.


“Moving forward there should be some fiscal recognition for pharmacists who are now practising at a deeper level, achieving greater impact than that achieved at initial registration. The current division of base pharmacist wage categories are simply antiquated.


“PSA supports the Fair Work Commission’s acknowledgement that there has been an increase in the work value of pharmacists who perform Home Medicines Reviews (HMRs) and Residential Medication Management Reviews (RMMRs) and notes that the Commission has invited further submissions on this issue.”


Dr Freeman said, “The role of pharmacists will continue to evolve as pharmacists take more responsibility and accountability for medicines management in the future. Pharmacist remuneration needs to increase to reflect this.


“PSA is committed to increasing pharmacist remuneration and a sustainable model for community pharmacy. It is vital that the Government ensures that investment in community pharmacy significantly increases.


“PSA will continue to advocate for a substantive increase in remuneration for Australian pharmacists to ensure the role of pharmacists in modern healthcare delivery is fully realised and valued.


“Pharmacists should be paid a fair days wage recognising their significant and integral contribution to the health of Australians, without which, our profession will never meet its full potential, promulgating the professional dissatisfaction and disenfranchisement experienced by so many.”


Media contact:  
Jarryd Luke
Senior Communications Officer
0487 922 176

Medication safety must be key focus after 2018–19 MYEFO

While healthcare investment in the 2018–19 MYEFO will improve access to medicines for many Australians, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is concerned that pharmacists, as part of the broader healthcare team, need to be included as an integral component of future investment in the healthcare system.


PSA National President Dr Chris Freeman said pharmacists and pharmacies were pillars of the health system and Australia had significant opportunities to make full use of their expertise.


“The government’s commitment to making changes to the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) will benefit patients including people with severe eating disorders and those in rural and remote areas,” he said.


“We welcome these important changes to the MBS. However, pharmacists continue to be the only AHPRA registered allied health professionals not eligible to provide allied health services through Chronic Disease Management (CDM) items on the MBS.


“Medicines play a major role in the care and treatment of patients with chronic disease, so excluding pharmacists from the MBS for these CDM items makes no sense.


“PSA calls for pharmacists to be granted MBS access as part of Team Care Arrangements within CDM items to help improve health outcomes for patients.”


PSA welcomed the government’s extension of the Health Care Homes Trial for patients with chronic and complex conditions until 30 June 2021.


“As an integral element of the Health Care Homes Trial, community pharmacy is enabling people to get the most out of their medicines. However, barriers to pharmacist involvement still need to be addressed within the current model. We look forward to continuing to support pharmacists participating in this important trial,” Dr Freeman said.


“We also support the government’s increased investment in aged care to provide better care for our elders.


“We know medication management in aged care is a key area for improvement, so it is imperative that pharmacists are embedded within aged care facilities to ensure the safe and effective use of medicines.


“These announcements have again ensured that doctors are one of the first cabs off the rank when it comes to additional investment in healthcare. We need to make sure patients are front and centre when healthcare investment is considered.


“That is why we have continued to call for investment in medication safety by ensuring pharmacists are embedded within aged care and other settings.


“Pharmacists understand how important medicine safety is to residents’ health. By working with doctors, nurses and residents to ensure the right medicines are being taken in the right way at the right time, pharmacists can greatly improve health outcomes.


“We call on the government for some of the additional investment in research through the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) to focus on medicines safety. Medicines are still a leading cause of harm and hospitalisations and are an under-researched area with substantial gaps existing in the literature.”


Media contact:
Jarryd Luke
Senior Communications Officer
0487 922 176

New medicines advice: Prescribing cascades, polypharmacy, homeopathy

New recommendations on the prescribing of multiple medicines and the effectiveness of complementary medicines, including homeopathy, have been released today by Choosing Wisely Australia.


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) developed its inaugural Choosing Wisely list of six recommendations for Australians to consider around medicines use – this includes prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medicines.


NPS MedicineWise Client Relations Manager, Dr Robyn Lindner, said: “Sometimes people are unsure of what medicines they’re taking and why. We encourage you to discuss the implications of each new medicine with your healthcare provider and ensure you are fully informed about issues such as necessity, risks and side effects.


“These new recommendations will help guide health professionals and their patients in a discussion about appropriate use of medicines based on the latest evidence,” Dr Lindner said.


Each year, approximately 230,000 Australians are admitted to hospital as a result of medication misadventure.* This is almost four times the annual number of people who are hospitalised as a result of motor vehicle accidents. It also costs the Australian health system $1.2 billion each year, yet 23% of adverse drug events in primary care are preventable.


PSA National President Dr Chris Freeman said “While the use of medicines offers significant benefits for many people, they may also cause unnecessary harm. It is important that we balance the positive and negative effects of each medicine, tailored to each individual with their care goals front of mind.


“As experts in medicines, pharmacists have the ability to provide specialised review of a person’s medication regimen, resulting in recommendations or actions to help people get the most out of their medicines. Any person taking multiple medicines, high-risk medicines, or who is at high risk of medicine misadventure, including transitioning between care settings, should have their medicines reviewed,”  Dr Freeman said.


“In regards to homeopathic products there is no reliable evidence of efficacy. All health professionals should take the time to discuss with health consumers, who are taking or considering taking these products, the lack of efficacy and the risks in rejecting or delaying other treatments known to be safe and effective.


“Prescribing data shows that close to 25% of repeat antibiotic prescriptions were dispensed more than four weeks after the initial dispensing, indicating potentially inappropriate antibiotic use in the community. Pharmacists can help to reduce the burden of antibiotic resistance by first clarifying the clinical appropriateness of repeat antibiotic prescriptions before dispensing.”


Dr Freeman said many health consumers turned to complementary and alternative medicines for a variety of reasons and often sought expert advice from pharmacists relating to these products.


“Pharmacists and medical practitioners should present clear information to consumers about the safety of and evidence for complementary and alternative medicines and only recommend these products when the known benefit outweighs the potential harm,” he said.


The six PSA recommendations are:

  1. Do not initiate medications to treat symptoms, adverse events, or side effects (unless in an emergency) without determining if an existing therapy or lack of adherence is the cause, and whether a dosage reduction, discontinuation of a medication, or another treatment is warranted.
  2. Do not promote or provide homeopathic products as there is no reliable evidence of efficacy. Where patients choose to access homeopathic treatments, health professionals should discuss the lack of benefit with patients.
  3. Do not dispense a repeat prescription for an antibiotic without first clarifying clinical appropriateness.
  4. Do not prescribe medications for patients on five or more medications, or continue medications indefinitely, without a comprehensive review of their existing medications, including over-the-counter medications and dietary supplements, to determine whether any of the medications or supplements should or can be reduced or discontinued.
  5. Do not continue benzodiazepines, other sedative hypnotics or antipsychotics in older adults for insomnia, agitation or delirium for more than three months without review.
  6. Do not recommend complementary medicines or therapies unless there is credible evidence of efficacy and the benefit of use outweighs the risk.


Choosing Wisely Australia encourages people to ask questions around any test, treatment or procedure being recommended to them and offers a list of 5 Questions people can ask their doctors or other healthcare providers.


There have been 189 healthcare recommendations released through Choosing Wisely Australia by 42 colleges, societies and associations since the initiative launched in April 2015.



*Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. Literature Review: Medication Safety in Australia. Sydney: ACSQHC, 2013.


Media enquiries

  • Choosing Wisely Australia: Lyndell Coutts, Communications Lead – 02 8217 8650 / 0429 050 103
  • PSA: Jarryd Luke, Senior Communications Officer – 0487 922 176


About Choosing Wisely

Choosing Wisely Australia® is enabling clinicians, consumers and healthcare stakeholders to start important conversations about tests, treatments and procedures where evidence shows they provide no benefit and, in some cases, lead to harm. The campaign is led by Australia’s medical colleges and societies and facilitated by NPS MedicineWise.


About NPS MedicineWise

Independent, evidence-based and not-for-profit, NPS MedicineWise enables better decisions about medicines, medical tests and other health technologies. We receive funding from the Australian Government Department of Health.


About the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia

PSA is the only Australian Government-recognised peak national professional pharmacy organisation representing all of Australia’s 31,000 pharmacists working in all sectors and across all locations.PSA is committed to improving Australia’s health through excellence in pharmacist care. PSA believes the expertise of pharmacists can be better utilised to address the health care needs of all Australians.


PSA works to identify, unlock and advance opportunities for pharmacists to realise their full potential, to be appropriately recognised and fairly remunerated. PSA has a strong and engaged membership base that provides high-quality health care and are the custodians for safe and effective medicine use for the Australian community.


PSA leads and supports innovative and evidence-based healthcare service delivery by pharmacists. PSA provides high-quality practitioner development and practice support to pharmacists and is the custodian of the professional practice standards and guidelines to ensure quality and integrity in the practice of pharmacy.

PSA appoints new National President, doubles-down on increased roles, recognition and remuneration for pharmacists

The Board of PSA has unanimously appointed Dr Chris Freeman as National President of the peak body for pharmacists, following the decision by Dr Shane Jackson to stand down from the presidency to focus on immediate family challenges that have recently emerged.


Dr Freeman has a PhD in Pharmacy Practice and a diverse pharmacy background, having worked in hospital and community-settings, as well as academia and general practice during the past 15 years. He has served as PSA National Vice President since July 2016.


“It is a privilege to lead the PSA at a time when pharmacists are increasingly recognised as medicines experts and custodians of the Quality Use of Medicines agenda,” Dr Freeman said.


He paid tribute to the “energy and enthusiasm that Shane brought to the role of National President” and confirmed that “the PSA will double-down on its efforts to increase the roles, recognition and remuneration of pharmacists across Australia”.


Dr Jackson will remain on the PSA Board as Vice President and Chair of the Policy & Advocacy Committee. He said that “leading the PSA has been a great pleasure and honour, however for the immediate future I need to spend a little less time on planes and more time at home in Tasmania”.


“I thank all PSA members and staff for their support and commitment to the profession. I look forward to leading PSA’s approach to the 7th Community Pharmacy Agreement negotiations, alongside our Pharmacists in 2023 strategy in the year ahead,” Dr Jackson added.


Like Dr Jackson, the new PSA National President is an advocate for embedding pharmacists wherever medicines are used, empowering pharmacists to manage medicine use over the long-term, and equipping pharmacists to enhance community access to health services.


Dr Freeman considers general practice and residential aged care as exciting career paths for pharmacists alongside community pharmacy and hospital pharmacy practice. He currently works as a consultant pharmacist at Camp Hill Healthcare medical centre in Brisbane and as a lecturer at the University of Queensland.


“Shane and I are cut from the same cloth. We both want to see pharmacists practicing to full scope and this ambition will continue to drive the PSA forward,” Dr Freeman said.


“The PSA Board, branch committees and management team are resolute in our determination to unlock opportunities for pharmacists to realise their full potential,” he said.


“Our advocacy and policy work will intensify next year as we focus on CPA negotiations and extending political support for the recommendations contained in our Pharmacists in 2023 Action Plan.”



Media contact:   

Jarryd Luke
Senior Communications Officer
0487 922 176

New report reveals extent of medicines overuse across Australia

A report showing that Australia is not making progress on the issue of medicines overuse, including antibiotics, opioids and antipsychotics, demonstrates the importance of embedding pharmacists wherever medicines are used, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) said today.


Released by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, The Third Australian Atlas of Healthcare Variation shows Australians in some areas, particularly aged care, are at risk of harm from medicines overuse.


PSA National President Dr Shane Jackson said the overuse of medicines such as antibiotics, opioids and antipsychotics demonstrates how the health system needs to change so healthcare professionals such as pharmacists can deliver the right care to the people who need it most.


“Pharmacists are the medicines experts who can make sure medicines are used safely and effectively in residential aged care facilities.”


According to the report, the overuse of antipsychotics to manage behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia in aged care is of ‘grave concern’.


Dr Jackson welcomed the recommendation in the report for a pharmacist to conduct a medicines review after six months, with the outcomes to be provided to the treating general practitioner and placed on the medication record for people aged 65 years and over being prescribed antipsychotic medicines in aged care.


“PSA has called for pharmacists to be embedded in residential care facilities to reduce inappropriate medicine use and help address the overuse of opioids and antipsychotics,” Dr Jackson said.


The report also found that the rate of opioid medicines dispensing per 100,000 people increased by 5 per cent nationally, calling for continuing focus on improving medicine use in this area.


“Pharmacists are a key group of healthcare professionals who can help improve medication safety and quality to reduce the potential harms of opioids.


“The Chronic Pain MedsCheck Trial funded by the Australian Department of Health is an important step towards improving opioid use.


“The rate of prescribing antibiotics to children aged 9 years and under is very high, with more than 3 million prescriptions dispensed from 2016 to 2017.


“Overuse of proton pump inhibitors (PPI) medicines for conditions such as gastro-oesophageal reflux disease has also been an issue for a long time, despite guidance that recommends step-down therapy to avoid long-term complications.


“With their unique expertise in medicines, pharmacists are best placed to support rational use of medicines including PPIs to protect people from serious adverse outcomes.


“The report highlights the gaps in our healthcare system that are exposing people to harm from some medicines. Pharmacists are here to help protect all Australians from the risk of adverse effects by making sure they receive the right medicine for them.”



Media contact:

Jarryd Luke

Senior Communications Officer

0487 922 176

PSA welcomes new Victorian Health Minister

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the appointment of Jenny Mikakos as Minister for Health in the returned Andrews Labor Government.


PSA also welcomes the return of Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley and urges the ministers to consider improving access to healthcare in Victoria by taking full advantage of the flexible and highly trained pharmacist workforce.


PSA Victorian President Benjamin Marchant said, “We congratulate Minister Mikakos on her appointment and look forward to working with her to adopt innovative models of care that make better use of pharmacists’ skills and expertise.


“We will engage with Minister Foley on providing seed funding for a pilot of the shared care model for Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Dependence (MATOD) services in Victoria.


“Licit and illicit drug abuse and misuse are a huge concern in the community and existing MATOD services are struggling to meet demand, so we are calling for a more sustainable model.”


Mr Marchant said PSA hopes Minister Foley will consider removing a key barrier to MATOD services by fully funding dispensing and management fees for patients.


PSA also urges the Government to allow Victorians to access the full range of National Immunisation Program vaccines through pharmacists.


“Pharmacists are the most frequently contacted health professionals in Victoria and have been providing vaccinations since 2016, so there are abundant opportunities for them to do more.”


PSA also believes it is essential for the Government to appoint a Chief Pharmacist in Victoria to advise the Government and provide coordination within the Department of Health and Human Services and with other stakeholders.


“We thank the outgoing Minister for Health Jill Hennessy for her outstanding contributions to pharmacy and the health system in Victoria,” Mr Marchant said.



Media contact:  

Jarryd Luke,

Senior Communications Officer

0487 922 176

NSW/ACT ATU – Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley Accommodation

A number of concerts and festivals will be occurring in the Hunter Valley during the time of the conference, it is strongly advised to secure your registration and accommodation early so that you don’t miss out!


Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley resort welcomes you to wide open spaces and activities for all ages to help you re-energise and reconnect.


Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley offers convenient accommodation options that include spacious, modern villas, rooms and suites to give you room to spread out, whilst the warm and genuine service across a wide range of resort facilities.


The PSA has reserved a number of rooms for conference delegates at the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, at special conference rates to access these rates go to:


Delegates wishing to book directly via the hotel please contact the house reservations team on 02 4991 0970 between the hours of 8.00am – 6.00pm, Monday to Friday.


Transfers, Travel Arrangements and Childcare

Cost effective/subsidised coach/shuttle transfers are available upon request from Sydney and Newcastle Airports to and from the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley.


The Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley has a Kids Club onsite with a team of experienced childcare professional’s to supervise children. PSA has limited paid places reserved for delegates during conference times.


The kids club is ideal for children between the ages of 3 and 12 years, offering a range of games and activities to suit all ages. Additional day(s) can also be secured directly through the Hotel, in the event that the PSA allocated places are all booked.


Should you require any of these services please indicate this on the registration brochure or contact the PSA NSW office on 02 9431 1100 or email

Don’t miss your chance to expand your knowledge in key therapeutic areas, network with colleagues, build relationshops with allied health professionals and take advantage of exhibitor information

NSW/ACT ATU Pre-Conference Courses

Immunistation Training & Refresher

From the expected date of 1st January 2019, pharmacists in NSW will be able to provide private MMR and dTpa  immunisations to people aged 16 years and over (in addition to influenza). To assist with this expansion of scope, a dedicated immunisation course and refresher training course will be run as a pre-conference workshop at ATU on Thursday 21st March 2019 at the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley. This is a great opportunity for pharmacists to become accredited immunisers, and for trained pharmacist immunisers to refresh their knowledge on injection technique, particularly subcutaneous administration.

Blended Mental Health First Aid

This Blended MHFA course (a combination of online and a half-day face-to-face workshop), is essential training for all pharmacists and front line pharmacy staff. Informed by a reference group of pharmacy professionals across Australia, this course teaches pharmacists how to assist a customer who is developing a mental health problem or in a mental health crisis.

You will learn how to assist an adult who may be experiencing a mental health problem or mental health crisis until appropriate professional help is received or the crisis resolves, using a practical, evidencebased action plan.

Immunisation Training

9am to 5pm, Thursday 21 March

Members: $550

Non-Members: $640

Accreditation Code: CRTO1909NJ


Immunisation Refresher

1:30pm to 5pm, Thursday 21 March

Members: $200

Non-Members: $320

Accreditation Code: CP19001NI


Mental Health First Aid

12pm to 5pm, Thursday 21 March

Members: $350

Non-Members: $495

Accreditation Code: CN19043A


Don’t miss your chance to particpate in the pre-conference workshops, spaces are strictly limited.