Australian pharmacists recognised at FIP Congress


Australian Pharmacy has been well represented at the virtual International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) congress with University of Sydney School of Pharmacy Professor of Medicines Use Optimisation Parisa Aslani elected as one of three new Vice Presidents of FIP.


Along with Professor Aslani’s appointment, Monash University’s Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Dean, Professor Bill Charman was named as the winner of the inaugural  Kamal K. Midha Award for Exceptional Leadership.


Professor Charman was also one of eight pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists to be made an FIP Fellow during the opening ceremony.


PSA National President Associate Professor Chris Freeman congratulated Professor Aslani on her significant appointment.


“It is great to see Australian pharmacy being represented on the world stage by exceptional pharmacists like Professor Aslani,” he said.


“The honour of being named Vice President of the FIP follows significant dedication and leadership at the highest levels and presents great opportunity to better connect Australian pharmacy practice to the rest of the world.”


A/Prof Freeman also recognised the achievement of Professor Charman in not only winning the inaugural Kamal K Midha award but being made an FIP Fellow.


“An FIP Fellowship recognises individual members of FIP who have exhibited strong leadership internationally and distinguished themselves in pharmacy practice or the pharmaceutical sciences,” he said.


“To also receive the very first Kamal K. Midha Award shows Professor Charman’s significant service and leadership in advancing the pharmacy profession.”


Professor Ross McKinnon from Australia was also named as the new chair of the Board of Pharmaceutical Sciences.


Media contact: PSA Media 0487 922 176

PSA congratulates and welcomes productive relationship with new RACGP President

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) congratulates Dr Karen Price who has been elected President of the Royal Australian College of General Practioners (RACG).


PSA National President Associate Professor Chris Freeman said he was looking forward to working with Dr Price to improve how pharmacists and GPs can work together going forward.


“A collaborative approach between pharmacists and GPs is needed now more than ever to focus on patient outcomes and impacts rather than attempts to undermine one another,” he said.


“Dr Price has indicated a collaborative approach with other healthcare groups is important to provide a united force in dealing with government and I could not agree more with this statement.


“Pharmacists remain ready and willing to work with GPs to improve patient outcomes and although we will not always agree, it is important to work together wherever possible.


“I congratulate Dr Price on her appointment and look forward to a positive and productive relationship going forward.”


Dr Price will assume her position at the close of the RACGP’s Annual General Meeting on 30 November 2020.


Media contact: PSA media: 0487 922 176

Exceptional WA pharmacists recognised

Wednesday 9 September 2020


Three exceptional Western Australian (WA) pharmacists have been recognised for their high standards, professionalism and commitment to pharmacy in the PSA WA pharmacy awards.


Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a ceremony was unable to be held however the winners were presented their awards in person by PSA WA President Dr Fei Sim.


Angela Boyatzis received the Pharmacist of the Year Award and Karis Butler Early Career Pharmacist of the Year with Pascale Ng Cheong Tin presented the Lifetime Achievement Award.


Dr Sim congratulated Ms Boyatzis on her achievement and impressive work in the area of sleep management and health care.


“Angela has not only trained extensively in the area of sleep but has also implemented this service in her pharmacy to her patients and trained other colleagues as well,” she said.


“Over the years, Angela has strengthened ties with other health professionals including doctors, physiotherapists and dietitians and she is driven to provide the best health care to her many patients for a long period.


“Angela is an excellent example of the good work pharmacists do on a daily basis and I congratulate her on this much deserved award.


Dr Sim also paid tribute to Early Career Pharmacist of the Year Karis Butler who has improved burns management and care provided to burns patients in community pharmacy.


“Karis is a passionate Early Career Pharmacist who is driven to improve burns management in community pharmacy,” she said.


“Noticing a gap when it came to burns management, Karis has worked tirelessly towards closing this gap working closely with The Fiona Wood Foundation and guiding other pharmacists on how to implement important steps in their pharmacy when it came to burns management.


“Our profession is in safe hands with early career pharmacists like Karis coming through the ranks and I thank her for her contribution to our profession.”


In congratulating Pascale Ng Cheong Ng Tin on her lifetime Achievement award, Dr Sim pointed to her dedication of over 30 years spent educating the next generation of pharmacists.


“Pascale has made significant contributions to the pharmacy profession as an educator, advocate and innovator,” she said.


“Her positive impact has been felt by many and the positive feedback from her students, who are now pharmacists, is testimony to her selfless character and enthusiasm in educating future pharmacists.


“As a long standing fellow of PSA who keeps giving back to the profession, Pascale is indeed a real asset to pharmacy.


Media contact: Western Australia State Manager Christianne White: 0415 213 661

Pharmacy pen pal program reducing social isolation among older Western Australians

Tuesday 8 September 2020


To help reduce social isolation among older patients, Western Australia Intern Pharmacist Tahlia Parisella set up a pen pal program between patients at her Bicton pharmacy and a local primary school.


Inspired by the television program Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds, Tahlia saw a need to do more to assist older patients she would regularly see when delivering medicines, in particular webster-paks.


“The patients would always want me to come inside and have a tea or coffee and I might be the only person they see for a couple days or even a week in some cases and I wanted to do something to help,” she said.


“Needing to do a project for my internship we initially had an idea to do the pen pal letters along with semi-regular meetups but then COVID-19 happened so we have just done the letters and hopefully we can include the meetups later on, when restrictions are lifted.


“Social isolation has become so much more prominent because of COVID-19 and pharmacists being so accessible to older patients it was a good option for us to reach out to them and see if we could help.


“I first pitched the idea to my delivery patients and they were interested and after that we briefed the staff about what our idea was and how it would work and it grew from there.”


Over the last two months, 25 older patients from Gerald Burns Pharmacy have participated in the project along with 25 children from Bicton Primary School between years 4-6, sending letters to each other on average every two to four weeks.


Tahlia said the patients always come in looking forward to their letters and are excited to hopefully meet up with the children eventually.


“Some of these people have the most incredible stories to share and are prone to being a bit lonely and vulnerable living alone and this program gives them something to look forward to,” she said.


“There are a lot of intergenerational topics they write about to each other with the school children talking about TikTok and the older patients writing about living through the war and things like that, it is really great for them to share life experiences.”


Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) Western Australia Branch President Dr Fei Sim said this public health program is a very innovative way to assist older patients to reduce social isolation during COVID-19 that could lead to more serious mental health problems.


“This is such a great initiative and really showcases how pharmacies and community pharmacists are integral to local communities,” she said.


“It provides an alternative lens to holistic healthcare provided by pharmacists in the community which extends beyond conventional consultations, very innovative and impactful.

“While a lot of the focus has been on COVID-19 in recent times it is important we don’t neglect other health conditions including those relating to mental health.

“I commend Tahlia and her colleagues for setting up this program that is not only heartwarming but of great benefit to both the patients and school children and is something that could easily be implemented in other pharmacies across Western Australia.”

“We regularly see many of our intern pharmacists in Western Australia implement projects that have led to positive patient outcomes particularly during COVID-19.”

Media contact: PSA Media 0487 922 176

COVID-19 Vaccine: Utilise pharmacists for large scale rollout

Monday 7 September 2020


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is calling on all state and territory governments to ensure that legislative amendments are made now so that approved COVID-19 vaccines can be administered by pharmacists.


The Federal Government today announced COVID-19 vaccines would be made available to Australians next year free of charge if trials are successful and they are proven to be safe and effective, meeting all necessary regulatory requirements.


The Queensland Government has already passed legislation that will allow pharmacists to administer a COVID-19 vaccine.


PSA National President Associate Professor Chris Freeman said administering a COVID-19 vaccine will be the primary way out of this pandemic and we will need all hands on deck to ensure that there is wide and comprehensive update of the vaccine.


“Some state and territory governments have already passed legislation that will allow pharmacists to administer the COVID-19 vaccine if and when it becomes available and pharmacists are more than capable and qualified to provide this service, he said.


“A proactive approach to legislative amendments now means that when the vaccine is available all jurisdictions around Australia will be ready to go, with the entire available health care workforce including pharmacists able to undertake a large-scale vaccination program.


“PSA has written to state and territory governments asking that any required legislative amendments are made now in preparation for when the vaccine becomes available.


“We strongly recommend that the existing community pharmacy wholesale supply chain arrangements to facilitate delivery of the vaccine stock into community pharmacies.”


This year in response to the pandemic threat, there have been almost  one million doses of flu vaccines administered to Australians through the existing pharmacist network, all while continuing to serve local communities and maintaining frontline PBS medication supply.


As part of the recently signed seventh community pharmacy agreement the Federal Government committed to supporting for harmonization of pharmacist vaccines across all Australian jurisdictions.


A/Prof Freeman said recently we have seen pharmacists with improved vaccination scope provided to the community and the delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine should be viewed no differently.


“The large scale rollout of this vaccine can only be achieved by also utilising pharmacist immunisers conveniently located in the community across Australia,” he said.


“This will be particularly critical in rural and remote areas where there may be a limited number of GPs.”


Media contact: PSA Media 0487 922 176


PSA call on NT political parties to support pharmacists reduce medication harm

Wednesday 19 August 2020


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) calls on Northern Territory political parties to commit to improve the health and wellness of Territorians through pharmacist-led initiatives which improve medicine safety and access to essential medicines.


PSA SA/NT Branch President Robyn Johns said that Northern Territory pharmacists skills and training were not being put to full use.


“The upcoming election is the ideal time to commit to new reforms for a healthier Northern Territory,” she said.


“PSA urges all Northern Territory political parties to take full advantage of the highly trained workforce by committing $600,000 for a two year trial of embedding pharmacists into three Darwin aged care facilities to reduce harm caused by medicines.


“Ninety-eight percent of residents in aged-care facilities have at least one medicine-related problem and eighty percent are prescribed inappropriate medicines.


“Pharmacists working within aged care having been shown to improve medicine safety and reduce the risk of medicine related hospitilisation caused particularly by psychotropic, opioids and sedative medicines.


PSA also urges political parties to focus on harm reduction strategies including funding 500 doses of intranasal naloxone through pharmacies to reduce deaths from opioid overdoses.


Ms Johns said funding the distribution of take-home naloxone nasal sprays will save the lives of Territorians, particularly in locations where ambulances have to travel long distances to provide emergency care.


“We also ask for the elected political party to work with PSA to develop online opioid pharmacotherapy training program for pharmacists to increase access to opioid replacement therapy,” she said.


“PSA currently offers a similar program in Victoria and pharmacists who undergo specific training in methadone and buprenorphine supply report greater confidence and willingness to offer pharmacotherapy services in community pharmacy.”


Media contact: PSA SA/NT State Manager Helen Stone: 0418 846 426


Audit to provide opportunity to expand vaccination services

Monday 17 August 2020


New South Wales (NSW) pharmacists will be able to showcase their expert vaccination knowledge and skills following the announcement that NSW Health is undertaking quality assurance audits to gain a greater understanding of pharmacist compliance with the NSW Pharmacist Vaccination Standards.


Any NSW pharmacy that delivers vaccination services may have to undertake an audit, including a separate audit of each authorised pharmacist vaccinator which will begin tomorrow, Monday August 17.


NSW PSA Branch President Chelsea Felkai said PSA has provided input to NSW Health in order to ensure a fair and educational approach is applied to the vaccination audits, in line with those undertaken by other health professionals.


“The vaccination audits will provide NSW pharmacists the opportunity to demonstrate their expert knowledge and competency in administering vaccines and this will go a long way in furthering our efforts for vaccination expansion and scope of practice around other injectables,” she said.


“Pharmacists have continued to demonstrate they are more than capable of providing a number of vaccination services to patients and this audit will provide an opportunity to review vaccination services in the pharmacy.


“In recent months NSW pharmacists have been given more scope to provide vaccines to patients including the influenza vaccination to children aged 10 and above and the ability to administer vaccinations outside of a community pharmacy.”


“This has led to a greater number of people in NSW being vaccinated and as the peak national body for pharmacists, PSA will continue to work with the NSW Government to remove barriers which restrict pharmacists from administering other vaccines to better protect the community.”


Any aspect of the NSW Pharmacist Vaccination Standards may be assessed as part of the audit, including pharmacist training, recording vaccinations, practice standards, the vaccination area and equipment, storage and handling, patient consent and eligibility, post vaccination care, management of adverse events and general requirements on authorised vaccines.


PSA has developed a Vaccination Audit Tool Guide for Pharmacists, to support them in preparing for the audits, and is available to PSA Members at no charge. PSA also has an immunisation resource hub and is offering support through its Pharmacist to Pharmacist Advice Line.


Pharmacists that are not compliant with the NSW Pharmacist Vaccination Standards may be advised that no further vaccinations are administered until identified issues are resolved and may be referred to the Pharmacy Council or NSW Health.



Media contact: PSA Media 0487 922 176

COVID-19 PPE ALERT: Eye protection now recommended for procedures

In addition to face masks, DHHS now advises all Victorian health care workers wear eye protection in direct patient treatment:


Eye protection (includes safety glasses, goggles or face shields) should be worn whenever there is the risk of splash or splattering of blood or body fluids, secretions or excretions.


PSA considers this to apply to the following:


  • Point-of-care tests including blood pressure, blood glucose monitoring
  • Vaccination
  • CPAP services (e.g. mask-fitting)
  • Provision of first aid
  • Wound care
  • Some consultation services
  • Any other service where there is a risk of contact with body fluids


You may also wish to wear eye protection in other situations where you consider contact with body fluids is a risk.  For example, PSA are aware some hospital pharmacy departments are requiring staff in outpatient pharmacy services to wear eye protection.


DHHS has provided PSA advice that pharmacists should minimise risk by erring on the side of caution; citing that if staff are directly interacting with the public and there is no screen, or a screen is not practical, eye protection is required.


Notes for using eye protection


  • Some face shields are single-use only, while others can be reused
  • Reusable googles and face shields must be removed, cleaned and disinfected between use according to manufacturer’s instructions
  • Eye protection is additional to the requirement for use of face masks and other infection control measures such as physical distancing, hand hygiene and staying home if sick.


PSA recommends all pharmacists immediately adopt this advice. These recommendations reflect DHHS’s PPE guidance for Tier 1 – Area of higher clinical risk requirements. Higher levels of precaution are needed where there is contact with a person who is known or suspected to have COVID-19.


Recommendations continue to evolve as the evidence-base and Victorian epidemiology evolves. PSA will continue to keep you updated via email, the COVID-19 microsite and ECP Facebook page.

PSA holds concerns about QLD Government decision to promote COVID-19 testing in pharmacies

Thursday 13 August 2020


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is concerned for the safety and wellbeing of pharmacists, pharmacy staff and the general public following the announcement by the Queensland Government yesterday that COVID-19 testing in community pharmacies will be promoted across the state.


PSA National President Associate Professor Chris Freeman raised concerns about the decision and said the announcement sent the wrong message to people who should be at home self-isolating when displaying symptoms of COVID-19.


“We have continually asked members of the community not to enter a pharmacy if they are unwell and displaying COVID-19 symptoms,” he said.


“The concern is that this decision will put not only pharmacists at risk but those with chronic health conditions who regularly visit a pharmacy and are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19.


“The Queensland Government did not consult broadly with pharmacists and pharmacy groups and we do not want people who potentially have COVID-19 wandering into a pharmacy to get tested.


“People who have respiratory symptoms should be tested at a predesignated testing sites, and then stay home, not go to a pharmacy, which includes those with cold and flu symptoms who can access medicines through contactless options such as delivery, car-window parcel drop, third-party pick-up or family and friends.”


The pilot is designed to pick up those people who have already come into a pharmacy and a pharmacist identifies as someone who should be tested and will initially only be available at a small number of pharmacies around Queensland.


As part of the pilot program pharmacists will be provided with relevant training to conduct the testing.


A/Prof Freeman said while pharmacists have the skills to triage and screen potential COVID-19 symptoms and pathology collection is within pharmacist scope of practice, the reason health experts have recommended dedicated testing facilities is to limit unintended exposure to COVID-19 to other member of the general public.


“There are a raft of problems to work through before this service could be safely offered safely to patients”.


“It is essential that there is effective infection control and PPE available for health care workers running this service and guidance similar that that which exists for GP Respiratory Clinics conducting COVID-19 testing that would need to be adopted.


“Pharmacists and pharmacy staff must be protected from COVID-19 exposure or it places their community’s ongoing access to medicines and expert pharmacist care at risk.”


Media contact: PSA Media 0487 922 176

Totally in the dark on understanding medicines use in disability care

Friday 7 August 2020


There is a complete lack of data and clear understanding of medicine use in disability care which is inhibiting our ability to drive improvements and safety.  This must be addressed as a priority to ensure similar trends seen in aged care do not occur, particularly with the inappropriate use of psychotropic medicines.


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s (PSA) submission to the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability highlights this issue and other challenges faced by pharmacists in delivering services that ensure the safe and appropriate supply of prescribed and over-the-counter medicines.


PSA National President Associate Professor Chris Freeman said being well aware of the extent of inappropriate psychotropic medicine use in aged care, PSA has grave concerns that similar trends could be occurring in the disability sector.


“It would be a travesty if standards of care around medication management in the disability care sector was also found to be wanting,” he said.


“Inappropriately sedating people with disabilities is not care, it’s an abrogation of responsibility.


“There is a critical lack of information on medicines use by people with disability and at the moment pharmacists are in handcuffs when it comes to providing essential medication management support and services to people with disability.


“Without appropriate data it is not possible to help optimise pharmacological interventions for people with disability, nor improve their quality of life.


“Medicine-related data collection with appropriate privacy and data security arrangements is critical to enable co-design and development of robust policies for the disability care sector and to implement best practice medication management for people with disability.”


Other recommendations highlighted in the submission call on Commonwealth, State and Territory governments to raise awareness and promote the role of pharmacists to the disability care sector, explore mechanisms for disability care recipients to regularly access pharmacist-delivered services and to explore options for pharmacists to deliver education and training to disability support workers.


PSA also recommends that medication management frameworks and models of care developed by Government should integrate the role of pharmacists as well as provide funding for pharmacists to deliver quality use of medicines services to support disability service providers.


A/Prof Freeman said pharmacists as medicines experts were the most accessible health practitioners providing essential patient-centred health care services in a professional, ethical and compassionate manner.


“Many people with cognitive disability rely on medicines and PSA strongly recommends urgent consideration of mechanisms and arrangements to include pharmacists within the healthcare team to support everyone with disability, if support with their medicines is needed,” he said.


“Despite many established and funded medication management programs, it is disappointing that there does not appear to be a clear pathway for people with disability to access these in a considered and structured manner.


“PSA urges the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments to be more strategic and proactive in enabling partnerships between disability service providers and the pharmacy profession.”


Read the submission:


Media contact: PSA Media 0487 922 176