Expansion of Tasmanian pharmacist vaccination services

Moves by the Tasmanian Government to expand the scope of pharmacist-administered services in Tasmania has been welcomed by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA).


PSA has long championed a consistent approach in all states and territories for pharmacists to administer vaccines.


The announcement by Tasmanian Minister for Health Sarah Courtney MP to expand the schedule of vaccines brings Tasmania in line with other states and territories.


Tasmanian PSA Branch President Dr Ella Van Tienen said the range of vaccinations available through pharmacist immunisers now included dTpa and state-funded MMR for 16 years and older.


This is in addition to providing influenza vaccine to individuals aged 10 years and over.


“These vaccines targeting measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and tetanus are vital in saving lives and protecting the community from the spread of these potentially life-threatening diseases,” she said.


“We thank the Tasmanian Government for acting to protect our community by providing access to these vaccines for Tasmanians, and in particular for vulnerable people.


“Less than 40 per cent of at risk people over 18 years are considered to be fully vaccinated. The availability of these vaccines through pharmacist immunisers benefits consumers due to the accessibility of community pharmacy and the convenience, it also benefits the health system through higher vaccination rates and cost savings.”


PSA has worked with the Tasmanian government to update its pharmacist training course to reflect the expanded scope. Trained pharmacists will start offering these additional vaccination services over the coming weeks.


For further information please contact PSA media on 0487 922 176


New eLearning modules outlining the therapeutic goods regulatory framework and advertising requirements

Pharmacists will be able to increase their knowledge of the regulatory requirements that apply to complementary medicines and the advertising of therapeutic goods, through new online learning


Two eLearning modules have been developed by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (Guild), in partnership with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).


PSA President Dr Chris Freeman said the two online modules would support pharmacists in understanding the legislation and the prerequisites for advertising therapeutic goods.
“We are pleased to partner with the TGA and the Guild to produce these modules. I encourage pharmacists, at a time when social media and advertising is so predominant in today’s society, to stay
up-to-date on how medicines are regulated in Australia and the rules and requirements for advertising”.


Both modules are available to all pharmacists on the PSA and Pharmacy Guild of Australia websites.


TGA: Complementary medicines regulation


In Australia, therapeutic goods are regulated under the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (the Act). Unless exempt, all products presented as therapeutic goods must be included in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) before being imported into, supplied in, or exported from Australia.


The module TGA: Complementary medicines regulation will allow pharmacists to understand:


  1. The difference between listed and registered medicines
  2. The difference between listed and assessed listed medicines
  3. What the TGA assessed claim/symbol means
  4. How to read a medicine label and determine if the medicine is registered, listed or assessed listed.


TGA: Complementary medicines regulation has been accredited for 1 hour of Group 1 CPD (or 1 CPD credits), suitable for inclusion in an individual pharmacist’s CPD plan, which can be converted to 1 hour of Group 2 CPD (or 2 CPD credits) upon successful completion of relevant assessment activities (CONL19038)


Advertising therapeutic goods: A guide for pharmacists


In order to protect consumers, therapeutic goods are subject to special advertising requirements beyond those required for everyday consumer goods. The new module will allow pharmacists to
increase their awareness of the rules which apply to advertising therapeutic goods.


The module, Advertising therapeutic goods: A guide for pharmacists, provides information on:


  1. Therapeutic goods advertising requirements, including the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code (No.2) 2018 (the Code)
  2. Information about the Code, including an overview of recent changes
  3. Location of resources available to pharmacists regarding advertising
  4. Pharmacy responsibilities in advertising with their own or supplied advertising
  5. Possible consequences of not complying with the advertising requirements.


Advertising therapeutic goods: A guide for pharmacists has been accredited for 1.25 hours of Group 1 CPD (or 1.25 CPD credits), suitable for inclusion in an individual pharmacist’s CPD plan, which can be converted to 1.25 hours of Group 2 CPD (or 2.5 CPD credits) upon successful completion of relevant assessment activities (G2019031).

Pharmacists protecting Australians from the deadly flu virus

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia flatly rejects unsubstantiated claims from AMA president Dr Tony Bartone that pharmacist immunisers have used expired influenza vaccines – an action that would be unethical, unprofessional and illegal.


PSA, the peak national body for pharmacists, calls on Dr Bartone to retract his comments, apologise to pharmacist immunisers for the error, and release a statement reassuring all people who have received a vaccination from a pharmacist that their treatment is safe and effective.


PSA president Dr Chris Freeman said there was no evidence an expired vaccine had been used by a pharmacist, as was claimed by Dr Bartone earlier this week.


“Pharmacists take seriously their essential role in providing safe and appropriate medicines,” he said.


“All pharmacist immunisers are trained to the same standard as other immunisers in Australia, and pharmacists have stringent quality controls that prevent the use of expired or superseded stock, including influenza vaccines


“In 2018, more than 1 million Australians safely received their flu vaccinations from a pharmacist.


“Vaccination against preventable diseases is one of the most effective and safe health interventions available to Australians. The use of fear or doubt about vaccination safety as a tool to ignite fear needs to stop immediately for the benefit of all Australians.”


Dr Freeman said PSA will be working with all stakeholders to address the damage these comments by the AMA president have caused to the perception of vaccination as a safe and effective method of preventing influenza.


For further comment please contact PSA Media on 0487 922 176

PSA continues to show leadership on ensuring the safe and quality use of medicines

Monday 26 August 2019


As part of its ongoing commitment to the safe and quality use of medicines, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) recently convened meetings to discuss improvements in the labelling and counselling for antibiotics and opioids by pharmacists.


Attended by medical, government, pharmacy and consumer stakeholders, and chaired by Emeritus Professor Lloyd Sansom AO, the meetings focused on reviewing cautionary advisory labels (CALs) and their associated advice. CALs are a convenient and effective way for pharmacists to reinforce verbal communication with patients about the safe and effective use and storage of medicines.


PSA National President Dr Chris Freeman said the meetings were important in continuing to address the issues of antimicrobial resistance and opioid-related harm.


“Actions three and five of our Pharmacists in 2023 report, look at embedding pharmacists within healthcare teams to improve medicine-related decision making; and advancing pharmacist stewardship of medicine management to improve outcomes at transition of care,” he said.


“Through these measures pharmacists will be empowered to not only play a greater role in addressing antimicrobial resistance and opioid-related harm, but improving the overall safe and quality use of medicines in Australia’s healthcare system.


“This builds on PSA’s position on antibiotics as shown through our Choosing Wisely recommendation 3 – do not dispense a repeat prescription for an antibiotic without first clarifying clinical appropriateness.”


The Australian Pharmaceutical Formulary and Handbook (APF), published by PSA, includes wording for a range of standard CALs and provides guidance on their use for specific medicines. By providing CALs and other written information alongside their professional advice, pharmacists can ensure patients are fully aware of why they are taking a medicine, understand how to take their medicine safely, and have the opportunity to ask questions.



Media contact:   Carly Lusk, Public Affairs Officer – 0487 922 176

A tailored approach needed for rural pharmacy

Wednesday 21 August 2019


In response to the National Rural Health Commissioner’s Discussion Paper for Consultation: Rural Allied Health Quality, Access and Distribution, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) has called for a number of actions to address the unique needs of the rural pharmacy workforce.


PSA National President Dr Chris Freeman said that rural pharmacy needed to be considered as a distinct entity and its specific challenges and required support structures were not adequately addressed within the discussion paper. There is a unique opportunity to support innovative practice within rural Australia through community pharmacy, and flexible integrated services should be developed as a matter of priority.


“Rural pharmacists are faced with unique challenges and PSA is calling for a tailored solution to ensure they are able to practise to their full scope and best manage the healthcare needs of their communities,” he said.


As a matter of urgency, PSA has asked the Commissioner to develop a discussion paper on ‘Rural Pharmacy Quality, Access and Distribution’. The current discussion paper is not fit for purpose for rural pharmacy and for the pharmacists that work in rural Australia. Unless we prioritise the supports that are available to our rural practitioners, we will potentially lose our rural community pharmacies, our rural pharmacists and a level of service delivery that will only further increase the gap between the outcomes for rural patients and their urban counterparts.


As the most accessible healthcare provider, pharmacists are well-placed to perform a much greater role in Australia’s rural and remote communities, however they urgently need more support. PSA members in rural and remote Australia report that workforce maldistribution, higher levels of socioeconomic disadvantage and lack of rural medical practitioners put further pressure on an already strained community pharmacy workforce.


“PSA holds great fears about the sustainability of, and therefore access to, pharmacy services within rural communities and now is the time for action,” Dr Freeman said.


“Community pharmacies in rural and remote Australia are unique because they represent a private investment in health infrastructure that is generally not present through other allied health practitioners.”


PSA made a number of other recommendations to the Commissioner, including:

  • identifying rural pharmacy workforce distribution, needs and opportunities
  • reviewing rural health workforce support programs and initiatives to ensure equity of access to appropriate support for pharmacists, similar to the medical and nursing professions
  • fully utilising the infrastructure of community pharmacy through the delivery of a rural pharmacy strategic framework
  • investing in trials to implement innovative rural-based models of care by allowing greater flexibility in funding and delivery of pharmacist care tailored to rural and remote communities’ needs.


PSA is urgently seeking to address these issues with the National Rural Health Commissioner and the Minister responsible for rural health to progress these actions for the benefit of rural and remote pharmacists and the communities they serve.


PSA’s full submission is available on our website.


Media contact:      Carly Lusk, Public Affairs Officer – 0487 922 176

Pharmacists – experts in the language of medicines

Monday 19 August 2019


Be Medicinewise Week 2019 is about getting to know the language of medicines – and pharmacists are best placed to assist patients gain this knowledge.


As part of NPS Medicinewise’s Be Medicinewise Week, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is encouraging people to talk to their pharmacist to increase their understanding of their medicines.


PSA National President Dr Chris Freeman said pharmacists’ first priority was the health and wellbeing of patients and they were committed to supporting patients through every step of their care.


“As medicine experts, pharmacists speak the language of medicines and can help patients not only increase their health literacy, but empower them to be active participants in their health care,” he said.


“This, in turn, will help reduce medicine-related problems and improve patient health outcomes.”


PSA’s Medicine Safety: Take Care report revealed that medicine-related problems cause 250,000 hospital admissions and 400,000 emergency department presentations in Australia each year, costing the healthcare system $1.4 billion annually. At least half of this harm is avoidable, and pharmacists are the key to improving the safe and quality use of medicines.


“PSA encourages people to speak to their pharmacist whenever there is a change in their medicines or health circumstances, or anytime they have concerns,” Dr Freeman said.


“Pharmacists are uniquely placed within the healthcare system and the frequency with which they interact with patients means they are best equipped to identify a medicine-related issue and resolve it immediately.”


PSA is proud to support Be Medicinewise Week and NPS Medicinewise’s ongoing work to increase the safe and quality use of medicines.


PSA echoes NPS Medicinewise’s call for patients to know all the medicines they are taking and why they are taking them, understand the instructions on how to take their medicines, and ask pharmacists any questions they have about their medicines.


Be MedicinewiseWeek 2019 runs from 19-25 August. To learn more visit:



Media contact:   Carly Lusk, Public Affairs Officer – 0487 922 176

Absence from Work Guidelines & certificate templates

Access PSA’s Absence from Work Guidelines and Resources here

WA expands scope of pharmacist-administered vaccinations

Thursday 1 August 2019


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes today’s announcement from WA Health Minister the Hon Roger Cook MLA to expand the scope of pharmacist-administered vaccinations.


PSA WA Branch President Dr Fei Sim commended the government’s decision to allow pharmacists to protect more West Australians 16 years and over from dTpa (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis), MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) and meningococcal (ACWY).


“Allowing trained pharmacists to administer these vaccines will significantly increase the immunisation rates within the community,” she said.


“While Australia has a strong childhood vaccination program, there are many areas in Australia with vaccination rates still below the level of coverage required for herd immunity, including for dTpa and MMR. Pharmacists can play a key role in addressing this issue.”


Research has shown internationally and locally that pharmacists are considered highly accessible and enabling them to vaccinate against more preventable diseases will help reduce the burden on our already over-burdened healthcare system.


Independent research commissioned by PSA has revealed almost two-in-three Australians believe pharmacists should be able to administer a broader range of vaccinations. PSA commends the WA Government for enabling the profession to do just this.


The recent increase in measles cases in Australia, highlights the need to increase the accessibility of this vaccine and the need for a national approach to pharmacist-administered vaccinations.


“PSA continues to advocate for a national approach to pharmacist-administered vaccinations to reduce confusion, ensure better access for patients to quality vaccination services and utilise the pharmacy workforce appropriately,” Dr Sim said.


“The introduction of pharmacist-administered MMR vaccinations in Western Australia is a great step forward, leaving Tasmania and the ACT as the only two jurisdictions where pharmacists cannot vaccinate against these diseases.”


The administration of vaccines by pharmacists complements the excellent work done by GPs, nurses, Indigenous Health Workers and other immunisers.


PSA commends the WA Government for making use of pharmacists’ expertise and training to better protect the community against vaccine-preventable diseases.


Photo: PSA WA Branch President Dr Fei Sim


Media contact:   Carly Lusk, Public Affairs Officer – 0487 922 176

NSW Health Minister officially opens PSA office

29 July 2019


NSW Minister for Health and Medical Research the Hon Brad Hazzard MP today officially opened the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s (PSA) NSW office in North Sydney.


PSA NSW Branch President Professor Peter Carroll thanked Minister Hazzard for his attendance and acknowledged his efforts in providing better access to health and medicines in NSW – particularly in relation to the recent expansion of pharmacist-administered vaccination in NSW. This now includes influenza, measles mumps rubella and diphtheria tetanus and pertussis in patients 16 years and over.


“This has been a huge success and benefit to the people of NSW and we thank the Minister for making this a reality,” Professor Carroll said.


“We look forward to continuing this work with the Minister, particularly around the medicine safety priority, so that pharmacists in NSW can ensure patients use medicines safely and effectively.


“We also look forward to delivering better mental health care, because we know pharmacists are skilled and accessible health care professionals who will make a huge difference for patients.”


Professor Carroll also thanked NSW Health Chief Pharmacist Judith Mackson for her attendance at today’s event and her commitment to improving healthcare in the state.


The original PSA NSW Office was located in Science House in the CBD, before moving to St Leonards in 1976. The new office is located in Ridge Street, North Sydney and provides not only a workspace for PSA NSW staff but a wonderful location for PSA members to connect, develop professionally and celebrate the history of the pharmacy profession.


Photo: (L-R) NSW Minister for Health and Medical Research the Hon Brad Hazzard MP and PSA NSW Branch President Professor Peter Carroll, Pharmacy House NSW


Media contact:   Carly Lusk, Public Affairs Officer – 0487 922 176

Alice Hashiguchi wins 2019 PSA Mylan Pharmacy Student of the Year award

27 July 2019


Alice Hashiguchi from the University of Western Australia has won the 2019 PSA Mylan Pharmacy Student of the Year (PSOTY) Award, announced at the PSA19 Gala Dinner in Sydney tonight.


PSA National President Dr Chris Freeman congratulated Ms Hashiguchi on her exceptional achievement.


“The PSOTY Award gives outstanding pharmacy students the chance to showcase their counselling skills to their peers and the wider profession,” Dr Freeman said.


“We saw many rising stars of pharmacy apply their clinical knowledge and communication skills in this year’s competition.”


Kiralee Gross from James Cook University took home the People’s Choice award.


The judges were impressed by the strong field of finalists:


  • Alice Hashiguchi, University of Western Australia
  • Kiralee Gross, James Cook University
  • Alyssa Murray, University of Queensland
  • Patrick Bevan, University of Tasmania
  • Sadaf Keshtiar, Monash University
  • Samuel Watts, Monash University.


This year’s competition was once again sponsored by Mylan. The winner receives the National Travel Prize for pharmacy-specific education of an expenses-paid trip to a pharmacy conference.


Mylan Country Manager Sylvain Vigneault spoke of the organisation’s ongoing support of pharmacy students.


“Mylan has been a proud supporter the Pharmacy Student of the Year award since its inception.


“We recognise the important contribution that pharmacists make in facilitating better patient outcomes within their community. We feel strongly about encouraging pharmacy students to learn, grow and explore the role they will play, delivering better health in Australia,” he said.


“PSA thanks Mylan for their ongoing support of this award,” Dr Freeman said.


Photo caption: (L-R) 2019 PSA Mylan Pharmacy Student of the Year Ms Alice Hashiguchi and Mylan Marketing Manager – Pharmacy Ms Jordana Sunderland


Media contact: Carly Lusk, Public Affairs Officer, 0487 922 176