New Queensland Core Palliative Care Medicines List for patients

Thursday 17 December 2020


The Queensland Government has partnered with the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) and other stakeholders to develop a Core Palliative Care Medicines List for Queensland Community Patients.


The List has been developed as part of the Queensland Health palliPHARM initiative which aims to ensure all community-based palliative care patients have timely access to appropriate medicines through their community pharmacy as required.


PSA Queensland Branch President Shane MacDonald said timely access to palliative care medicines will ensure emergent end-of-life symptoms are optimally controlled.


“It is important for Queensland pharmacists, prescribers and aged care facility staff to work collaboratively to ensure that palliative care medicines are proactively prescribed, easily accessible and administered safely to patients,” he said.


“PSA urges community pharmacists in Queensland to stock medicines on the Core Palliative Care Medicines list, with four of the five listed first-line medicines available to be supplied to patients on the PBS.


“This is such a critical time, not just for patients, but their families, carers and loved ones, ensuring timely access is such as simple part of the care pharmacists provide.


“These medications are needed within hours, not days, which is why it is so important that pharmacies commit to always holding stock of end-of-life medications and communicating this commitment with GP colleagues and palliative care teams.”


Prof Liz Reymond, Director of palliPHARM and a specialist palliative care consultant, said that even when people are very sick with a terminal illness, most say they would choose to be cared for at home – whether that is their own private house or their residential aged care facility – and to die there if possible.


“This requires collaboration across many health professionals including GPs prescribing anticipatory medicines for symptom control and community pharmacists to dispense those medicines in a timely fashion.”


palliPHARM, developed by Queensland Health, contributes to high-value and patient-centred care by promoting delivery of the right care, at the right time, in a setting of the person’s choice.


PSA has developed a palliPHARM website where Queensland pharmacists can access the Core Palliative Care Medicines list along with other educational resources and useful information.


The PSA palliPHARM website can be accessed here:

A win for interdisciplinary collaboration

Tuesday 15 December 2020


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia welcomes the final report released by the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Taskforce, in particular the proposal to encourage increased patient participation and a rebate for non-medical health professionals attendance at case conferences.


PSA National President Associate Professor Chris Freeman said the need to allocate rebates for non-medical health practitioner attendance at case conferences had been raised repeatedly by PSA and other stakeholders.


“PSA has championed pharmacists’ access to collaborative care items on the MBS for a long period of time and this recommendation to the Federal Health Minister brings us one step closer to achieving this,” he said.


“Creating MBS items for non-medical health practitioners to align with the equivalent GP items will foster better collaboration and enhanced safe and quality use of medicine outcomes for patients.


“This recommendation, if implemented by Government, means pharmacists will be one of the eligible groups to be remunerated for participation in interdisciplinary case conferences.


“Across community pharmacies, aged care, and in general practice the change to case conference reimbursement in addition to the recent introduction of the follow up medication reviews will be a game changer in improving the safe and quality use of medicines.”


PSA supports ongoing work to strengthen, modernise, and protect Australia’s world class health system, and the importance of keeping the MBS contemporary and able to meet the needs of patients.


A/Prof Freeman said PSA notes the Taskforce final report suggests the need for more research around MBS services and interventions as well as consideration of alternate funding models that best support patient care.


“PSA acknowledges that the 10-year primary Health Care plan will help provide a platform to this approach.


“PSA congratulates the Taskforce’s commitment to providing high-value recommendations to promote quality health care and patient safety supported by robust evidence.


“We look forward to working with the Federal Government to progress relevant recommendations to implementation.”


Media contact: PSA media 0487 922 176

Outstanding ACT Pharmacists honoured

Thursday 10 December 2020


Three outstanding pharmacists have been honored at the inaugural ACT Excellence Awards hosted by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) at Pharmacy House on Wednesday night.


Brad Butt was awarded Pharmacist of the year with Mandy Wang claiming Early Career Pharmacist of the year and Erin Cooper Intern Pharmacist of the year.


PSA ACT Branch President Renae Beardmore congratulated all three winners who have played a key role in serving the ACT community during a difficult year.


“This year more than ever we need to celebrate pharmacists on the frontline who have continued to provide essential medicines and health care to patients during bushfires and COVID-19,” she said.


“Brad is the epitome of what a community pharmacist should be and has led by example, building a strong community-focused ethic within his pharmacy providing exceptional and innovative personalised customer medication management services.


“His establishment of a service model of men’s health displays many of the qualities consistent with PSA’s Pharmacists in 2023 vision and his professionalism is further exemplified by his desire to deliver more health services to his community.


“Brad’s unique and innovative fee for service model is delivering a significant area of need for men with urological conditions.”


Ms Beardmore also paid tribute to Mandy Wang who as an early career pharmacist has shown tremendous leadership as well as a desire to innovate the pharmacist’s role.


“Over the last twelve months Mandy’s accomplishments, like many ACT pharmacists were framed by bushfire smoke, the threat of bushfire requiring the need for evacuations of her pharmacy and COVID-19.


“During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mandy reached out to special communities she identified as having little or no access to healthcare via PBS or usual Government care.


“As part of the 2020 influenza NIP program, Mandy personally vaccinated 618 patients and has displayed an incredible amount of commitment, professionalism and care for her patients and the community.”


Ms Beardmore also congratulated Erin Cooper who was presented with the Intern Pharmacist of the Year Award.


“Erin consistently exceeds the expectations of her role in pharmacy, implementing various professional services, supporting other pharmacists, and above all, making our community healthier every step of the way.


“Erin’s peers would describe her as a collaborative and kind pharmacists and was the NAPSA President during the early stages of COVID-19, personally contributing to the creation of tools and support for members.


“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all ACT pharmacists for their dedication and professionalism in what has been a difficult year for so many people.”


Media contact: PSA media 0487 922 176

Use Victorian pharmacists to reduce medicine related harm

Monday 7 December 2020


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) has called on the Victorian Government to take action in three areas to reduce medicine-related harm as well as improve access to vaccinations to protect more Victorians, in its 2021-22 Pre-Budget Submission.


The PSA recommends expanding the range of vaccines that trained pharmacist immunisers are able to administer to include Pneumococcal, Varicella Zoster, COVID-19 vaccine and Influenza type B.


PSA Victorian Branch President John Jackson said to protect the Victorian community, it is crucial that pharmacist immunisers can administer all routine vaccines and COVID-19 vaccination when available.


“As trained pharmacist immunisers already have the skills and infrastructure to provide this service,this proposal could be implemented through simple amendments to the Victorian pharmacist administered vaccination guidelines,” he said.


“Increased access to vaccinations by more Victorians will reduce disease burden associated with vaccine-preventable diseases, reduce wait time for patients and increase access in rural and remote areas.


“Pharmacists have been immunising in Victoria since June 2016 and have demonstrated that they have the skills and competence necessary to do so.”


The PSA has also called on the Victorian Government to invest $2.7 million annually to employ pharmacists in state-run residential aged care facilities (RACF) to reduce the use of inappropriate medicines and protect residents from harms caused by medicines.


Mr Jackson said in order to achieve safe and best-possible use of medicines in the aged care sector, pharmacists with their unique knowledge and medicines expertise, must have a greater role in RACFs.


“Our recent Medicine Safety: Aged Care report showed 98 per cent of residents in aged-care facilities have at least one medicine related problem and 80 per cent are prescribed potentially inappropriate medicines.”


“Having pharmacists embedded in RACF will see the reduction in hospitalisations from medicine-related adverse events and the reduction in the use of psychotropic medicines and chemical restraints improving the quality of life for residents.


“We also call on the government to allocate $7 million to provide seven-day, extended hours clinical pharmacist services in public hospitals which will reduce medicine misadventure associated with transitions of care.


“People with complex medical problems are admitted at all times of day and all days of the week and it is not acceptable that a patient admitted to hospital on a Saturday evening for example will not receive timely pharmacist review as they would if admitted on a Tuesday morning.”


PSA also continued to call on the Victorian Government to establish the role of a Victorian Chief Pharmacist to improve implementation of health policy, programs and regulatory controls.


The Chief Pharmacist would liaise with all relevant contact points within government to provide advice to ministers, ministerial staff and agencies also providing a consistent voice and point of contact for peak professional bodies such as PSA.


To view the Pre Budget Submission click here:


Media contact: PSA media 0487 922 176


Victoria Pre Budget Submission 2021-22

Medicines are the most common intervention in health care. Concerningly, problems with the use of medicines are also alarmingly common. In Australia, 250,000 hospital admissions a year are a result of medicine-related problems.


The annual cost of these admissions is $1.4 billion; 50% of this harm is preventable. This burden of harm is felt in Victoria just like it is throughout Australia.


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia recommends provision is made in the 2021/2022 Financial Year Victorian Government Budget in four areas of actions.


Read the submission here: Victorian Budget Submission 21-22

New advice for antibiotics

As part of World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is urging pharmacists to work with patients to take antibiotics for the number of days advised by the prescriber.


To support pharmacists and patients, the cautionary advisory label (CAL D) for antibiotics has been revised and will be published in the next edition of the Australian Pharmaceutical Formulary (APF25) due for release January 2021.


PSA National President Associate Professor Chris Freeman said the revised label is a change to the previous recommendations and is the result of comprehensive stakeholder consultation.


“This is one of a multitude of actions to help combat bacterial resistance to antibiotics,” he said.


“Taking antibiotics for longer than necessary does not improve outcomes and increases the risk of acquiring resistant organisms.


“As the revised CAL D presents a change in behaviour for patients, pharmacists need to work with patients on the appropriate duration of treatment for antibiotics.


“Pharmacists should confirm that patients are aware of treatment duration and if a patient is not aware, or it is not specified on the prescription, the pharmacist should consult with the prescriber to confirm the intended duration.


Under the new guidance, patients should stop taking the antibiotic when the prescribed duration of treatment is complete and any unused antibiotics should be returned to the pharmacy for disposal.


Pharmacists are also reminded to discuss with patients the importance of contacting the prescriber if their symptoms worsen or do not improve in the timeframe advised.


Media contact: PSA media 0487 922 176

Academic Advisory Committee



The role of the Academic Advisory Committee is to provide high level expert advice to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and management team on contemporary and relevant education and training related issues and opportunities.


Specifically, to advise on:


  1. local and international trends on education and training design and delivery
  2. local and international trends in pharmacy practice, including digital delivery, contemporary learning methods and innovative assessment methods
  3. factors that influence the pharmacists’ role in health care provision
  4. areas for capacity building and improving professional practice and service delivery across the pharmacy profession in Australia
  5. national priority areas for PSA’s education and training programs across the various practice settings
  6. the participant learning experience
  7. target audiences and associated needs
  8. potential opportunities for collaboration with other organisations


Operating Parameters


Committee representatives will be appointed for a 2 year term.


Committee members may nominate a proxy to Committee meetings, provided they are fully briefed and competent to act as a proxy, as determined by the Committee Chair. The Committee member needs to consult with the Chair before nominating a proxy.


The line of reporting for the Committee is directly to the CEO.


The General Manager – Knowledge Development and General Manager – Education and Training Delivery, and relevant staff of the respective business units will attend all Committee meetings. Other staff may attend meetings as required and agreed by the Committee Chair and CEO.


PSA Academic Advisory Committee_.TOR 2020


Please fill out the below form and return to by Sunday 6 December 2020


Academic Advisory Committee EOI Form

PSA welcomes NSW Government budget commitments

Tuesday 17 November 2020


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the NSW Government’s budget commitments to healthcare, in particular investing in systems to track prescribed medicines associated with high risk of causing harm or dependence.


PSA NSW Branch President Chelsea Felkai commended the Government on this initiative with PSA having advocated, most recently in its pre-budget submission for funds to be allocated to a real time prescription monitoring system (RTPM).


“The implementation of RTPM will better inform clinical decision-making and improve medicine and patient safety,” she said.


“Deaths from prescription medicines have outpaced deaths from illicit drugs in Australia and RTPM will reduce inappropriate multiple prescribing events, reduce fraudulent prescribing and improve quality of care by facilitating a patient-centred approach.


“PSA also welcomes the $55.9 million investment over four years to increase support for palliative care services to provide the best quality care and support for those reaching the end of their life.


“PSA has worked alongside the Clinical Excellence Commission (CEC) in supporting palliative care education for pharmacists who play a vital role in increasing access to core medicines for anticipatory prescribing, and work as part of a multidisciplinary team to support end of life care.”


Also included in the budget was $169.4 million over four years for mental health, the purchasing of over $1 billion in personal protective equipment to keep frontline health workers safe and $30 million for additional emergency department attendances and ambulance calls.


The PSA pre-budget submission called on the NSW Government to facilitate and fund community pharmacists to manage non-urgent presentations and allocate $9 million to reduce the financial impact and burden on emergency departments and improve access to health care through community pharmacy.


Ms Felkai said more than 10 per cent of emergency department presentations are considered non-urgent and 70 per cent of these presentations occur during business hours of a community pharmacy.


“Building upon the established accessibility of community pharmacies and the skills of pharmacists in the primary health care space will drastically improve the community’s access to health services.


“Allowing community pharmacists to triage, manage or refer patients to doctors for non-urgent or low urgency medical conditions would create significant benefits for both patient health and would save the health system between $131m and $439m a year.


“We also welcome the $1 billion investment in PPE which should include pharmacists in not only community pharmacies but hospitals and aged care facilities.


“As the peak body representing pharmacists in Australia we will continue to work with the NSW Government to ensure that pharmacists are better utilised to improve the state’s healthcare system.”


Media contact: PSA media 0487 922 176

PSA welcomes appointment of new Queensland Health Minister

Thursday 12 November 2020


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia welcomes the appointment of new Queensland Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Yvette D’Ath.


PSA Queensland Branch President Shane MacDonald congratulated Ms D’Ath on her appointment and said PSA look forward to working with the new Minister on behalf of all Queensland pharmacists.


“It is an exciting time to be a pharmacist in Queensland and we look forward to working with the new Minister and building on the work we have already done with this Government,” he said.


“PSA has maintained a strong relationship with the Palaszczuk Government and we expect that to continue with the new Minister, particularly with Yvette’s depth of experience.”


“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, PSA and the Labor Government worked together on a number of important measures to ensure pharmacists remained safe and patients could continue to access their medications,” he said.


“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Dr Steven Miles for his work as Minister for Health and Ambulance Services and wish him well in his new portfolio.”


Prior to the election the Labor party made a number of key commitments to PSA and to pharmacists and PSA stands ready to continue to work with the government as they are implemented.


Mr MacDonald said PSA are also looking forward to working with the Government and Queensland Health to build on the success of pharmacists being embedded into patient care teams in the transition from hospitals to primary care.


“As the peak body for pharmacists, PSA is committed to working with the government to unlock the tremendous contribution pharmacists make to the health of Queenslanders,” he said.


“We will also urge the Government to allow pharmacists to directly administer more routine medicines for Queenslanders. This will improve Queensland patients’ management of complex health conditions no matter where they live and we will continue to reiterate the imperative to appoint a Chief Pharmacist for Queensland.”


Media contact: PSA media 0487 922 176

PSA congratulates returned Palaszczuk Government

Monday 2 November 2020


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) congratulates the re-elected Palaszczuk Government and look forward to working together to improve the health of Queenslanders through supporting the vital role of pharmacists in the Queensland (QLD) healthcare system.


In congratulating the returning government, PSA QLD Branch President Shane MacDonald thanked the labor party on their commitments to PSA and the broader pharmacy profession prior to the election.


“Leading up to the election the Labor party committed to work with PSA to design and implement a trial of pharmacists practicing to their full scope in North Queensland,” he said.


“PSA has long advocated that current regulatory barriers prevent pharmacists from providing the full range of care that is within their professional scope of practice, skills and training.


“The Labor party also agreed to support PSA to develop an evidence based model for embedding pharmacists in transitions of care across all Queensland Hospital and Health Services.


“Employing transition-of care pharmacists to work with a patient’s care team through outpatient consultations or providing outreach services can reduce medicine harm significantly reducing the burden and cost of care on Queensland’s hospitals.”


The returning labor party acknowledged the essential role that pharmacists have played in maintaining the health and wellbeing of Queenslanders, particularly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.


Mr MacDonald said PSA would work closely with the Labor Government and also advocate to allow pharmacists to administer more routine medicines, such as injectable buprenorphine, insulin or Vitamin B12, to improve Queensland Patients’ management of complex health conditions.


“While the Queensland Government has increased access to immunisations, pharmacists are skilled in administering simple injections and amending some regulations will remove the barrier artificially preventing pharmacists from providing safe, convenient and timely health care to Queenslanders at no cost to the government,” he said.


“Although we applaud the role the Chief Allied Health Officer and the public health units during the COVID-19 pandemic, we will also reiterate the need to appoint a Chief Pharmacist to provide strategic leadership in improving medicine safety for Queensland and drive coordination and rapid implementation of public health measures during emergencies.”


“PSA thank the Palaszczuk Government for these commitments and we look forward to working closely with them over the next four years.”


Media contact: PSA media 0487 922 176