Federal Budget makes medicines more accessible

15 May 2024


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the Albanese Government’s 2024-25 federal budget, making healthcare more accessible to Australians through cost-of-living relief and expanded pharmacy programs.


Australians will have access to cheaper medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, with a freeze on indexation for at least one year ensuring that the cost of medicines does not rise with the cost of living. On top of this, all PBS medicines dispensed by a community pharmacy, hospital, or approved prescriber will now be covered by the Closing the Gap PBS co-payment, making essential medicines free or cheaper for First Nations people.


The government are also set to invest $151.1 million to improve access to dose administration aids (DAAs), lifting the service cap from 60 to 90 services per pharmacy per week.


The Budget has also reaffirmed Commonwealth support for the Aged Care On-site Pharmacists (ACOP) program, investing $333.7 million to embed credentialed pharmacists in aged care facilities from 1 July 2024. Critically, the Budget also confirmed funding for pharmacists to deliver vaccination services in aged care and disability homes, actioning one of PSA’s key recommendations in its 2024-25 Federal Budget Submission.


PSA National President Associate Professor Fei Sim welcomed the Budget, saying that measures to tackle the cost of healthcare are critical to improving accessibility of care.


“Slowing down the rising cost of medicines is essential to ensuring that basic healthcare remains accessible despite the rising cost of living,” Associate Professor Sim said.


“Measures like lifting the cap on dose administration aids and investing in PBS medicines access for First Nations people are a step in the right direction, ensuring that support is rightly focused on priority populations.


“Closing the Gap must continue to be a priority for the entire health sector. PSA continues to promote measures that support greater health outcomes for First Nations people, including improving access to essential medicines.


“As negotiations on the 8th Community Pharmacy Agreement and other agreements continue, PSA is highlighting the importance of funding for the delivery and quality improvement of pharmacist programs to further support patient safety.


“We continue to highlight that pharmacists are key to improving Australians ’access to care and quality use of medicines and medicine safety.”


Associate Professor Sim also acknowledged the $160 million investment in women’s health initiatives included in this year’s budget.

“I sincerely thank Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care Ged Kearney MP for her continued advocacy for women’s health. It is positive to see investment into women’s health in this year’s budget.



“This is only the start of the journey, and I look forward to working collaboratively with the government, the Department and other stakeholders on this important work. ’


“On behalf of PSA and Australia’s 37,000 pharmacists, I commend Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler, Treasurer Jim Chalmers MP on delivering today’s Budget.”


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

NT Budget’s investment in health an opportunity

14 May 2024


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the investment in Northern Territory health services as part of the Territory Budget delivered by Chief Minister Eva Lawler MLA today.


The Budget includes $12 million for design and preparation for a new 120‑bed residential aged care facility in the Palmerston Regional Health Precinct, as well as $108 million for a range of mental health measures at the Royal Darwin Hospital.


President of the PSA Northern Territory and South Australia Branch Dr Manya Angley FPS welcomed the investment, highlighting the opportunities for pharmacists to bolster high-quality aged care and mental health.


“The Northern Territory Government’s investment in health services is critical to making care more accessible to Territorians,” Dr Angley said.


“The announcement of a new 120-bed residential aged care facility in Palmerston is another opportunity for pharmacists to support older Territorians through the soon to be launched federally-funded Aged Care On-site Pharmacists (ACOP) program, supporting Quality Use of Medicines and reducing the risk of medicine-related harm in aged care.”


Pharmacists will be better able to support the mental health care of patients across the Territory, with increased investment into the Royal Darwin Hospital’s mental health capacity, says Dr Angley.


“Increased funding for mental health services is a chance to harness the skills and expertise of pharmacists to enhance the delivery of high-quality mental health care through optimising medicine use.


“We are continuing to work with the Northern Territory Government to ensure that all Territorians have access to appropriate care when and where they need it, including from pharmacists practising across our health network,” Dr Angley concluded.




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

Pharmacist UTI services to be expanded across NSW

14 May 2024


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the ‘business as usual’ availability of pharmacist treatment services for uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTIs) across the state, announced by New South Wales Health Minister Ryan Park MP today.

The announcement, made by the Minister at PSA’s Parliamentary Breakfast at Macquarie Street this morning, boosts access to UTI treatment and support through NSW pharmacies.

From 1 June 2024, the program will no longer community pharmacies participating in the NSW Pharmacy Trial, instead being available from any eligible pharmacist across the state.

Women aged 18 to 65 years across the state suffering from the pain and discomfort of a UTI will be able to visit their local pharmacy and access timely treatment under the care of their pharmacist.

PSA New South Wales President Luke Kelly said the success of the UTI trial demonstrated the confidence in quality care from community pharmacists.

“Women living in New South Wales will soon have greater access to UTI treatment through their local pharmacist under the permanent state-wide program,” Mr Kelly said.

“Thousands of New South Wales women have already accessed timely treatment for painful and uncomfortable urinary tract infections, and now even more communities will have access to care through local pharmacists.

“Pharmacists across New South Wales continue to work closely with GPs, nurses, and other healthcare professionals to ensure that patients get the right level of care when and where they need it, referring patients to their GP or nurse practitioner if there are signs of something more serious.”

Mr Kelly also encouraged pharmacists outside of the NSW Pharmacy Trial to ensure they are prepared for the program’s expansion.

“PSA is proudly supporting pharmacists to deliver UTI treatment services through high-quality training and support. All NSW pharmacists can now complete online training and access key PSA resources.

“Now is the time for pharmacists to make sure they are ready to deliver UTI treatment services, and promoting the quality use of medicines as part of service delivery.

“I commend the New South Wales Government and Minister Park for their leadership in championing women’s health and the accessibility of health services through our state’s network of community pharmacists.”

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

Pharmacists welcome another year of free influenza vaccines in WA Budget

10 May 2024

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the 2024-25 Western Australia Budget delivered by Treasurer the Hon. Rita Saffioti MLA yesterday, with a record $3.2 billion investment in health and mental health across the state.

Importantly, the Budget also allocated $8 million for free flu vaccines in May and June 2025 for all Western Australians aged six months and older.

PSA Western Australia President Kristian Ray MPS said that the budget measure provides certainty for the state’s pharmacists.

“Knowing that the Cook Government will provide free influenza vaccines in 2025 gives pharmacists the opportunity to prepare early to meet increased demand,” Mr Ray said.

“Reducing barriers to vaccination is key to improving uptake, including making them low- or no-cost to consumers, and allowing families to get vaccinated together before the flu season begins.

“PSA continues to advocate for the pharmacist immuniser workforce to be fully utilised, delivering all vaccines to patients of all ages and in all settings in line with best practice. This means amending the existing authority and allowing pharmacist to deliver childhood vaccinations, including influenza vaccines, providing Western Australians greater choice and equitable options to access vaccines.

“Pharmacists have demonstrated competency in delivering vaccines safely and effectively and have made a significant contribution to public health by vaccinating countless Western Australians.

“We look forward to continuing our work with the Cook Government to ensure that pharmacists are able to reach their full potential, as immunisers and as health care professionals,” Mr Ray concluded.

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

Vaping reforms to protect a new generation from nicotine dependence

8 May 2024


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) joins leading health bodies and the Federal Government in calling for reforms to the sale, supply, manufacture and commercial possession of vapes to pass Parliament.


PSA National President Associate Professor Fei Sim said Australians do not want to see a new generation of Australians taking up smoking or vaping.


“PSA unreservedly supports any measure that reduces the chance of children and young people accessing vapes and support Australia’s world leading approach to tobacco control,” A/Prof Sim said.


“Our priority focus in public health messaging and in policy should continue to be on the harms of cigarette smoking and vaping, particularly to young people and children.


“Ensuring convenience stores do not sell vapes and removing the colours and flavourings that appeal to young people are the first steps to reducing the harm of nicotine vapes.


“There are no nicotine vaping products on the market that have been tested and approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration as safe therapeutic goods, but there are pathways for vaping products to be used as a genuine smoking cessation tool with the support of healthcare professionals.


“We need to be clear that vaping is not a ‘safe’ alternative to smoking – we’re already seeing scary short-term effects, not to mention the long-term effects that may emerge in the coming years.


“Accessing vaping products through a health professional gives pharmacists the opportunity to provide broader health and smoking cessation support.”


PSA is already assisting government with minimising the impacts of vaping in the community.


A/Prof Sim said: “PSA is supporting pharmacists across Australia with education and training about our role in vaping and smoking cessation.


“There is more work to be done to limit the harm caused by vaping and inhaled nicotine use in general. PSA continues to work with the Federal Government, the Department of Health, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and other stakeholders to ensure that pharmacists have all necessary resources and education to support vaping reform,” A/Prof Sim concluded.


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

‘Placement poverty’ affecting future of health sector workforce

6 May 2024


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is pleased to see the Federal Government taking action to relieve cost of living pressure on students undertaking mandatory unpaid placements as part of their studies but warns that students in pharmacy and other allied health professions are being left behind.


Students studying pharmacy and paramedicine are among thousands who will fall outside of today’s announcement, with unpaid clinical placements forcing some to give up their education altogether.


Under accreditation requirements, pharmacy students are required to undertake clinical placements as part of their course of study.


PSA National President Associate Professor Fei Sim said that the government’s recognition of the strain unpaid placements has on students is the first step, but more needs to be done.


“Clinical placements are a valuable part of the learning experience, but they cannot come at the expense of our student’s livelihoods,” A/Prof Sim says.


“Training the next generation of pharmacists, I see first-hand the pressure unpaid placements put on our students. I’ve seen pharmacy students forced to give up paid work, struggle to make ends meet, and worryingly, drop out of their degrees altogether.


“Many placement sites and pharmacist preceptors also do not get any funding to host placement students.


“Pharmacy students and the pharmacy profession require support to continue to meet the growing future health needs of Australians. We need more people to pick pharmacy as their career choice, and that support must start now.


“All students undertaking compulsory unpaid placements, including pharmacy students, deserve access to government support.


“I urge the Federal Government to revisit this policy and offer the same financial support to all health students who are required to undertake clinical placements as part of their studies.”


National Australian Pharmacy Students Association (NAPSA) President Bano Serhan echoed calls for pharmacy students to have access to support.


“The government has acknowledged that placement poverty deeply affects students, and this is no different for our members,” she says.


“Pharmacy students are being left behind in the budget, at a time when they need more support to build a better and more diverse healthcare workforce.”



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

NAPSA contact: Sebastian Harper    M: 0437 926 889  E: treasurer@napsa.org.au

CPC24: Nation-leading advocate Brooke Shelly named Credentialed Pharmacist of the Year

3 May 2024




The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is proud to announce the 2024 PSA MIMS Credentialed Pharmacist of the Year, presented at the PSA’s Credentialed Pharmacist Conference (CPC) in Cairns today.


The PSA MIMS Credentialed Pharmacist of the Year award recognises continuing excellence in the practice of credentialed pharmacy, dedication to enhancing the reputation of the profession, the development and implementation of innovative professional services, and the enduring commitment to advancing patient care and improved health outcomes.


The 2024 PSA MIMS Credentialed Pharmacist of the Year is Brooke Shelly MPS.


Ms Brooke Shelly is a passionate advocate for the practice of consultant pharmacy, and in particular the role of pharmacists in rural general practice. She has a growing reputation as an engaging and passionate speaker at conferences, symposiums and other networking and education events, as well as demonstrating her own passion for life-long learning. Her excellence was recognised as a finalist in the 2023 Victorian Rural Health Awards.


Brooke conducts Home Medicines Reviews (HMRs) and is a GP Pharmacist consulting at Ontario Medical Clinic and also has a role as a Clinical Pharmacist at Beyond Pain. She has developed and implemented new multidisciplinary models of care for aged care facilities and chronic disease cycle of care.


Brooke’s commitment to supporting the health of her community and all rural Australians is second to none. She is recognised as a leader in this space, being asked to present at the conferences as a role model for general practice pharmacists, especially in rural Australia. This commitment is evidenced by her leading a workshop at CPC24 to support other pharmacists in optimising outcomes from HMRs and embedded quality improvement activities. Brooke also serves the profession on a range of PSA committees, including on the Victorian Branch Committee and the Board of the Pharmaceutical Society of Victoria.


Ms Shelly’s broad range of innovative services span across general practice, disability services, aboriginal health services, pain management, telehealth and multidisciplinary team-based care significantly enhances the reputation of credentialed pharmacists. She has a particular focus on rural areas of practice, raising awareness on the scope and work of credentialed pharmacist, within the pharmacist community and general practice. Brooke assists in the training of the GP registrars in the CDM space and enjoys overseeing the PIP QI program, making her an invaluable asset to GPs and general practice. She is incredibly generous in sharing her experiences, challenges and innovative solutions in various pharmacist groups, social media and educational events.


Brooke has provided a significant contribution to the development of consultant pharmacy in Australia through her practice in a general practice in a rural area. and as a champion for multidisciplinary care. Brooke is an outstanding role model for pharmacy students, and established and developing practitioners.


PSA National President Associate Professor Fei Sim FPS presented the award to Ms Shelly at CPC24 this afternoon.


“Brooke is a trailblazer when it comes to highlighting the roles of credentialed pharmacists in medication management reviews wherever medicines are used. Brooke’s leadership and contribution has had widespread, systemic impact.,” A/Prof Sim said.


“Brooke is a leading national voice for this workforce, where she continues to make significant contributions to the development of credentialed pharmacy through her own practice and as a mentor and facilitator of discussions and support.


“Over the years, Brooke has been as a strong advocate for interdisciplinary collaboration. Brooke actively facilitates and demonstrates how pharmacists can and should form a critical part of a multidisciplinary team. It is also through her work in this space that she has been able to garner the support and recognition of other health professionals.


“On behalf of the PSA and the profession, I congratulate the 2024 PSA MIMS Credentialed Pharmacist of the Year Brooke Shelly and thank her for her ongoing commitment to the development of credentialed pharmacists across Australia.”


PSA also acknowledges the ongoing support of MIMS Australia and New Zealand, and particularly their CEO and Board Director Robert Best, for sponsoring this award and their ongoing support of the PSA.





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

CPC24: PSA announces package of support for credentialed pharmacists

3 May 2024


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) has today announced a comprehensive membership package to support credentialed pharmacists through the transition to new credentials, and beyond.


Opening the Credentialed Pharmacist Conference CPC24 in Cairns today, PSA National President Associate Professor Fei Sim FPS announced the full membership package including dedicated resources and support for credentialed pharmacists, as well as dedicated education opportunities to continue developing practice throughout their careers.

This membership offering comes in addition to the announcement of the MMR recognition of prior learning pathway (pending accreditation by the Australian Pharmacy Council), allowing qualified pharmacists to transition to the new credential by completing a short bridging assessment or providing evidence of prior learning.

PSA Professional Plus members will have access to MMR RPL at no cost, and an exclusive discount on RPL for the aged care credential, which is a requirement to practise in the Aged Care On-site Pharmacist program.

“PSA is and always will be the home of credentialed pharmacists,” Associate Professor Fei Sim said.

“PSA has supported accredited pharmacists – soon to be credentialed pharmacists – from day one, advocating for ongoing HMR and RMMR funding, for lifting of caps on services, and for new, funded roles in aged care.


“When AACP closed, PSA chose to invest – rather than divest – in this part of the profession. We continued the tradition of a dedicated conference for accredited pharmacists, now called the Credentialed Pharmacist Conference. We brought on trusted and talented leaders and built a team at the PSA to continue to deliver good work to support our credentialed pharmacist workforce.


“We established in-house accreditation services, a public directory, and are currently undergoing accreditation of our credentialing process for Medication Management Reviews and Aged Care, which is set to recognise the experience of practising consultant pharmacists. I am happy to again confirm that this process will be free-of-charge for PSA Professional Plus members, making the transition more affordable and accessible.


“Professional Plus members also benefit from free access to PSA’s Aged Care Foundations Course – built by some of Australia’s pioneering aged care pharmacists and covering the essential topics for effective practice in aged care.


“In addition to education, PSA’s support for credentialed pharmacists is also growing, including access to PSA’s regular Clinical Update, which is a must-read that helps keep credentialed pharmacists on top of emerging clinical evidence from around the world, as well as discounts to all PSA conferences, including CPC25.


“PSA’s full suite of support is a testament to our commitment to credentialed pharmacists, unmatched by any other organisation at present. I am proud that PSA continues to be the home for credentialed pharmacists.”


Credentialed pharmacists can read more about the offer and PSA’s credentialing process here.

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

Pharmacists to administer RSV vaccines in QLD

1 May 2024


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) encourages Queensland residents over the age of 60 years to book a respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine appointment with their local pharmacist, following the addition of the vaccine to the Extended Practice Authority – Pharmacists V5 (EPA) today.

Queensland now joins New South Wales and Victoria as the only jurisdictions in Australia to allow pharmacists to initiate and administer RSV vaccines.

PSA Queensland President Shane MacDonald welcomed the move, saying it was important people protected themselves against infectious diseases ahead of winter.

“We know that older adults with chronic medical conditions including asthma, COPD and diabetes are at an even higher risk of hospitalisation or death because of RSV,” Mr MacDonald said.

“It just makes sense to make the vaccine as accessible as possible, to as many eligible people as possible.

“PSA has been advocating for this vaccine to be added the Extended Practice Authority for some time, and we’re really encouraged see the Queensland Government taking action.”

PSA National President, Associate Professor Fei Sim FPS, called on other Australian jurisdictions to follow lead.

“ATAGI has issued three significant statements about vaccination – for COVID-19, influenza and, for the first time, RSV. Now we have a vaccine that is recommended, it’s important to make sure people can access it from all their regular vaccine providers, including pharmacists.”

RSV vaccines are currently not funded by the National Immunisation Program.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation recommends people over the age of 75 years receive RSV vaccination as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged over 60 years and those aged over 60 with medical conditions that increase the risk of severe disease due to RSV. All other people over the age of 60 years are also eligible for RSV vaccination.

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

MRNs extended for credentialing transition

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the extension of Medication Review Numbers (MRNs) to support credentialed pharmacists to continue providing MMR services during the transition to a new credentialing system.

The extension was announced today by the Department of Health and Aged Care Assistant Secretary – Pharmacy Branch, David Laffan, in an email to credentialed pharmacists. The move gives pharmacists 12 months to transition to a new credential, including a Medication Management Review (MMR) credential, and an Aged Care credential.

PSA is set to offer both MMR and Aged Care credentials, as well as offer a pathway for recognition of prior learning to recognise the experience of practising credentialed pharmacists in line with the Accreditation Standards for MMR and Aged Care On-site Pharmacist education programs | Australian Pharmacy Council.

PSA National President Associate Professor Fei Sim FPS said that PSA’s priority and commitment to workforce development have not changed.

“We have been in discussions with the Department for some time to ensure that transition arrangements are in place to minimise disruption to patient services and allow the existing workforce to continue providing MMR services in the immediate term.

“I’m pleased to see action from the Department to allow these services to continue.

A/Prof Sim said that PSA’s credentialing program, which is pending accreditation with the Australian Pharmacy Council, is set to feature ongoing support for credentialed pharmacists and those seeking credentials.

“PSA continues to approach this fast-moving practice area with the intent to support our workforce, and to ensure that the credentialing and recredentialing process is achievable and affordable.

“All pharmacists who have already undergone credentialing will be able to apply for PSA’s recognition of prior learning as part of the new credentialing process.

“PSA is proud to offer further support to members, including offering the new MMR credential to currently credentialed pharmacists with recognition of prior learning at no cost for Professional Plus members.

“This is part of our ongoing support for this workforce, solidifying our place as the home for credentialed pharmacists.”

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