Pharmacists thank Rockliff for service to Health portfolio

21 July 2023


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) has thanked Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff for his leadership of the health sector over his years as Health Minister.


The Premier announced yesterday that he will step down as Health Minister, with a successor to be announced in the coming days.


PSA Tasmanian President David Peachey MPS thanked the Premier, drawing on his commitment to expanding pharmacy practice to better serve Tasmanians.


“Premier Rockliff has always been a great supporter of pharmacists, working with us to work closer to our top of scope and support the health of Tasmanians,” Mr Peachey said.


“We are proud to have worked with the Premier to progress the Review of pharmacists’ scope of practice in Tasmania, which will result in more health services being provided by pharmacists around our state.


“Under the Premier’s leadership Tasmanians have greater access to vaccinations through their local pharmacist and can also access a new supply of their medicines in an emergency through expanded continued dispensing.


“These initiatives are having a real and positive impact on the health of our communities.”


“On behalf of all pharmacists in Tasmania, I thank the Premier for his service as Health Minister.


“I look forward to continue working with him and his successor to continue work on supporting pharmacists’ scope of practice and ensuring that our primary care system delivers quality healthcare for all Tasmanians,” Mr Peachey concluded.



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

Free influenza vaccinations from Queensland pharmacists

17 July 2023


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes Queensland Health Shannon Fentiman’s announcement of state-wide, no-cost influenza vaccinations for Queenslanders.


PSA Queensland President Shane MacDonald MPS said that the move will encourage more Queenslanders to make influenza vaccination a part of their regular health care.


“All Queensland age groups have the lowest or second-lowest influenza vaccination coverage of any state or territory this year,” Mr MacDonald said.


“Particularly at risk are young children, of which less than 20 per cent are vaccinated against influenza in 2023. Vaccination rates among Queenslanders aged 5 to 15 years is the lowest in Australia, sitting at just 11.1 per cent.


“We have already seen the deadly impact of low vaccination rates across the country, and if we don’t act now it will only get worse.


“Removing cost barriers and giving Queenslanders greater access to vaccines through community pharmacies is a great first step to improving vaccine uptake,” Mr MacDonald said.


“Pharmacists are able to vaccinate patients 6 months and over, meaning many families can come into their pharmacy together for their flu vaccines.


“With the flu season now in full swing, we need to do everything we can to protect Australian children by increasing access to vaccination and providing Queensland families with optimal protection against this deadly disease.


“As pharmacists we have demonstrated the crucial role we continue to play in protecting the health of Australians. We must do better than this to protect the most vulnerable in our communities.


“Pharmacists are practicing in almost every community from Brisbane to Cape York, supporting the health and wellbeing of our patients.


“Our message to all Queenslanders is simple, visit your local pharmacist and get your influenza vaccine,” Mr MacDonald concluded.


Data from NCIRS (accessed 17 July 2023)



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


JOINT MEDIA RELEASE: MSAC support funding pharmacists in First Nations Primary Health Services


12 July 2023


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) have welcomed today’s release of Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) advice supporting funding to embed non-dispensing pharmacists within Aboriginal Health Services.


Australia’s principal medical advisory group’s recommendation is based on a joint submission from PSA, NACCHO and James Cook University (JCU) calling for funding for the Integrating Pharmacists within Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services to improve Chronic Disease Management (IPAC) project.


The IPAC project integrated 26 pharmacists into 18 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations for 15 months across Queensland, Victoria, and the Northern Territory. Through the project, some Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services embedded pharmacists directly into their services, while others worked with community pharmacies to deliver pharmacy services.


The independent expert advice recognises the significant impact pharmacists can have when integrated into comprehensive primary healthcare teams.


MSAC considered that the model was safe and effective compared to usual care. MSAC considered that the estimated costs for providing this integrated, collaborative, culturally appropriate patient-centred care to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples was good value for money.


NACCHO and PSA are looking forward to working with government on rolling-out this important service nationally. PSA and NACCHO also recognise the leadership of JCU on this work that has led to this successful outcome.


Quotes attributable to the Chair of NACCHO Donnella Mills


“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples continue to experience a higher burden of chronic disease due to cardiovascular, diabetes and other health problems than other Australians. 


“We are thrilled that that this independent medical advisory group has officially supported funding for integrating pharmacists into ACCHOs’ model of care.


Quotes attributable to PSA National President Dr Fei Sim FPS


“Through the IPAC project, pharmacists have proven how valuable we are in improving the health outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ health. 


“One-third of pharmacists involved in the IPAC project were contracted from community pharmacies, highlighting further opportunities for capacity building initiatives within the pharmacy sector to collaboratively deliver better health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.


“PSA is proud to have co-designed the Deadly pharmacists: foundation training for pharmacists working within Aboriginal Community-Controlled Health Services, which more than 900 pharmacists have accessed since its launch in late 2022, but we must continue to work together to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.


Quotes attributable to the Chair of NACCHO Donnella Mills


“Having the support of MSAC confirms when pharmacists are present within our services, both patients and staff at the clinic are better supported to provide safe and effective use of medicine. 


“Our member services have been calling for support and funding for non-dispensing pharmacists integrated into ACCHOs for years, this endorsement further validates their requests and demonstrates the impact of team-based community-controlled healthcare.


“Now that support for funding for pharmacists integrated into ACCHOs has been provided through the advisory committee, we look forward to working with government on how it can be rolled-out nationally.”


Quotes attributable to PSA National President Dr Fei Sim FPS


“Both NACCHO and PSA are ready and willing to work with the Federal Government to implement a collaborative model of care which meets the needs of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and is consistent with the Federal Government’s commitment to the Priority Reforms of the National Closing the Gap Agreement.”



Media Contacts:


Georgia Clarke (PSA)  M: 0410 505 315     E: georgia.clarke@psa.org.au

Verity Leach (NACCHO) M: 0438 944 113 E: Verity.Leach@naccho.org.au

Pharmacists now able to dispense medical terminations medicines across Australia

11 July 2023


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s decision to remove restrictions that prevent health professionals, including doctors and pharmacists, from prescribing and dispensing MS-2 Step (mifepristone and misoprostol).


From 1 August 2023, pharmacists will no longer need to be registered or undertake specific training to dispense MS-2 Step to patients across Australia.


PSA National President Dr Fei Sim FPS welcomes the move, noting that it will significantly improve women’s access to healthcare.


“This move will improve the access to care for women, making MS-2 step available in more pharmacies and in more communities in Australia.


“This approach recognises that pharmacists are medicine experts, and that dispensing MS-2 Step and counselling patients on its use is already within the scope of practice of pharmacists.


“By removing unnecessary red tape, pharmacists can help more Australian women access reproductive care, in line with international experience.


“Pharmacists follow a robust process to ensure all medicines are dispensed safely and effectively.


“Community pharmacists are the most accessible healthcare professional for many Australians and play a critical role to ensure women’s equitable access to reproductive care, especially in rural and remote areas.


“As the Co-Chair of the Access, Care and Outcomes Subcommittee of the National Women’s Health Advisory Council chaired by Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care Ged Kearney, I welcome this TGA decision to improve women’s access to reproductive care.”



Media contact:   Georgia Clarke  

M: 0480 099 798  E: georgia.clarke@psa.org.au

Health Minister Mark Butler to open PSA23

5 July 2023 


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) has today announced that Federal Minister for Health and Aged Care the Hon Mark Butler MP will attend PSA23 in Sydney on 28 July 2023.


PSA23 is Australia’s leading education conference for pharmacists, attended by hundreds of industry leaders, academics and researchers, and pharmacists from all practice settings.


PSA National President Dr Fei Sim FPS said that there had never been a more important time for the Minister to address pharmacists.


“I am pleased to confirm that Minister Butler will address pharmacists directly as part of PSA23,” Dr Sim said.


“This will be the first time that Minister Butler addresses pharmacists since he announced the introduction of 60-day dispensing in April.


“PSA23 will be an opportunity for pharmacists to hear directly from the Minister for Health and Aged Care, as well as the Assistant Minister for Rural and Regional Health Emma McBride on the significant policy changes impacting our profession.”


PSA23 will see attendance from both sides of politics. Shadow Minister for Health and Aged Care Senator Anne Ruston will also be addressing attendees on Saturday 29 July.


For more information on PSA23 and the conference program, visit www.psa23.com.au



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

ACT Pharmacists win expanded scope

27 June 2023


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s (PSA) campaign to expand scope of practice for pharmacists paid off this week, with new authorisations announced by the ACT Government.


Under yesterday’s legislative update, pharmacists in the ACT are authorised to administer medicines for injection, including Long-Acting Injectable Buprenorphine (LAIB).


The PSA’s ACT Branch President Olivia Collenette said the landmark change, which would enhance patient access to vital injectable medications, came after a lot of campaigning.


“We have long championed expansion of pharmacist scope of practice and, while there is still a long way to go, this is a significant step,” she said.


“We are thrilled that our advocacy on this particular issue has borne fruit, signalling a brighter future for pharmacy and reinforcing our commitment to advancing patient-centred care.”


The PSA has already provided comprehensive training on administering medicines by injection.


Pharmacists are encouraged to access these resources to ensure they are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to provide optimal care.


“PSA encourages all pharmacists in the ACT to familiarise themselves with the updated regulations and embrace this progressive expansion of their professional capabilities,” Ms Collenette said.


“By staying informed and ensuring adherence to best practices, pharmacists will continue to play a pivotal role in enhancing patient outcomes and promoting public health.”


For more information on the administration of medicines for injection by pharmacists in the ACT, visit:


Pharmacist Vaccinations and Injectables | Health (act.gov.au)



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Students to compete at National Pharmacy Competition (PSOTY)

23 June 2023


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) today announced the state and territory finalists for the 2023 Viatris Pharmacy Student of the Year (PSOTY) award, with the prestigious national final to take place at PSA’s National Conference PSA23 in July.


During the national final, students will be tested with a real-life clinical situation, where a patient will present with symptoms or a specific product request. Students are then required to use their clinical knowledge and communication skills to identify the most appropriate course of over-the-counter treatment, tailoring their response to provide the most appropriate advice.


A judging panel assesses all state finalists before selecting the national winner to be announced at PSA23’s Gala Dinner.


PSA National President Dr Fei Sim FPS congratulated the finalists, saying that the awards encourage students to draw on their clinical knowledge and emotional intelligence to demonstrate their skills.


“The Pharmacy Student of the Year awards showcase the skills and abilities of some of our outstanding pharmacy students to the broader profession, while also giving students a chance to apply their skills and be judged on them.


“Award sponsor Viatris and PSA are proud to sponsor the finalists to attend PSA23, providing travel and accommodation to ensure that they can get the most out of the leading pharmacist education conference.


“The Pharmacy Student of the Year will also receive a $3,000 cash prize to support their studies and pharmacy careers.


“Congratulations to all the students who’ve participated in the competition this year for their hard work and commitment to pharmacy.


“It’s exciting to see such talented students entering our profession and dedicating their lives to the health and wellbeing of their communities,” Dr Sim said.


The 2023 PSA Viatris Pharmacy Student of the Year finalists are:

  • Jamie-Lee Carew, the University of Newcastle
  • Sarah Foster, LaTrobe University
  • Kennith Lam, Curtin University
  • Samantha Montgomery, Queensland University of Technology
  • Claire Ryan, University of Tasmania
  • Brett Spicer, University of Canberra
  • Amelia Thompson, University of South Australia



They will also be joined by Ingrid Stoud from the University of Canberra, who was awarded the Wildcard winner at the 2023 National Australian Pharmacy Students Association Congress in January.


PSA extends thanks to the PSOTY award sponsor, Viatris, for their ongoing support and wishes all finalists the best of luck at the national final.


Find out more about the PSA Pharmacy Student of the Year competition by visiting www.psa.org.au/psoty 


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



Australia cannot afford cuts to pharmacy: report

19 June 2023


A new independent report released this morning has highlighted the enormous impacts of 60-day dispensing on the pharmacy sector.  


The report from economist Henry Ergas AO with Tulipwood Advisory and the Relational Insights Data Lab at Griffith University, found that more than 20,000 community pharmacy jobs would be lost over the next four years.  


On top of job losses, Mr Ergas found that more than 650 pharmacies would close and a further 900 would be at risk of closing due to financial pressures as a result of 60-day dispensing policies introduced this year.  


Key findings from the report include: 


  • Up to 20,818 community pharmacy jobs could be lost over four years. 
  • Up to 665 community pharmacies could close, with a further 900 at risk of closure due to financial stress. 
  • Free services could be cut, including blood pressure monitoring and weight checking as part of diabetes programs, home delivery of medication, asthma monitoring, extended medicine management (on average each pharmacy delivers 20 or more free consultations each day). 
  • Cuts will disproportionally impact vulnerable communities, including the elderly and Australians living with chronic health conditions. 
  • Regional and rural pharmacies will be the first to close, disproportionately impacting First Nations Australians.  
  • More than $4.5 billion will be cut from community pharmacies over four years. 
  • $2.5 billion cost to Australian health system due to increased hospitalisations from medicine misadventure. 


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) National President Dr Fei Sim FPS said the report’s findings were disturbing. 


“The report’s key findings highlight just how pervasive the impact of 60-day dispensing will be, not only on the viability of community pharmacy, but also on the availability of accessible healthcare for Australians,” Dr Sim said.  


“This is the first economic modelling we’ve seen that looks at the flow-on effects of 60-day dispensing, and the results are scary. 


“Pharmacists are an integral part of our primary healthcare system, and with medicine use on the rise we cannot afford to lose billions from our sector. 


“The 2019 Medicine Safety: Take Care report found that 50 per cent of medicine related harm was preventable, which will no doubt rise without pharmacists available to support communities.  


“All pharmacists support making medicines more affordable, but it cannot come at the expense of medicine safety, a cost that will be worn by our most vulnerable groups. 


“We need to understand that these impacts are significant. We need to genuinely sit down and plan a way forward for patients, the pharmacy sector, and for the government.  


“We want a solution that allows us to continue providing accessible health care to our communities and supporting their safe and effective use of medicines,” Dr Sim concluded.

In the report, Henry Ergas AO says: 


  • “It would seem sensible for the next steps to be suspend the implementation of the first tranche of the MDQ policy change…until an evidence-based, independent review of the financial and economic impacts on the community pharmacy sector and the Australian community more broadly is undertaken and the impacts properly understood”. 
  • “As a key part of this independent analysis… engage in meaningful consultation with all stakeholders in the community pharmacy sector (peak bodies, consumer bodies and individual pharmacists across all of Australia’s diverse regions) so as to properly test the impacts of the MDQ policy change at the individual community pharmacy level, at regional levels, and at a national level”. 


The full report can be found here. 


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

Pharmacists and health leaders recognised in King’s Birthday Honours

12 June 2023


Dr Fei Sim FPS, National President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA), extends her warmest congratulations to three distinguished pharmacists and PSA members who have been recognised in today’s King’s Birthday Honours for their outstanding contributions to the pharmacy profession and community.


PSA Life Fellow Associate Professor Louis Roller AM FPS has been recognised for his significant service to the pharmacy profession through education and governance. Dr Sim highlights Assoc. Prof. Roller’s invaluable contributions to the advancement of pharmacy education and his tireless efforts to improve the standards of pharmacy practice.


“Assoc. Prof. Roller’s exceptional dedication to education and governance has had a profound impact on the pharmacy profession for decades. His passion for knowledge-sharing and commitment to excellence is truly commendable,” Dr Sim remarked.


PSA Life Member Mr Kerry Schiemer OAM MPS, a longstanding contributor to the pharmacy profession has also been recognised for his service to aviation. Dr Sim commends Mr Schiemer’s unwavering commitment to providing quality care and enhancing the health outcomes of patients.


“Mr Schiemer’s tireless efforts and exemplary service reflect the very essence of our profession. We are proud to see his contributions recognised with this prestigious honour,” said Dr Sim.


PSA member and esteemed pharmacist from Queensland, Mr Brett Clark AM MPS has been honoured for his remarkable service to community health, the arts, and sports organisations. As the Founder and Managing Director of ePharmacy since 2005 and the Managing Partner of Chemist Warehouse since 2005, Mr Clark has made significant contributions to improving healthcare access and promoting the well-being of communities.


“Mr Clark’s entrepreneurial spirit and unwavering dedication have transformed the landscape of community health. His excellent leadership and dedication to serving others have left an indelible mark,” Dr Sim said.


PSA would also like to acknowledge the remarkable contribution of the following health leaders to their respective fields –  Professor David Craik, Professor Michael Kidd, Dr Anna Lavelle and Professor Danielle Mazza.


“Professor Craik’s pioneering work in the Victorian College of Pharmacy had a profound impact on the profession. His commitment to education and mentorship has inspired countless researchers and pharmacists,” said Dr Sim.


“Professor Michael Kidd has made invaluable contributions throughout the pandemic, demonstrating exceptional leadership and expertise in medical administration and community health.


“Dr Anna Lavelle’s significant service to science and innovation, exemplified through her various roles, including her position as the Chair of Medicines Australia since 2018, has been truly commendable.


“Professor Mazza’s commitment to women’s health and her research achievements have made a significant impact on healthcare in Australia.


Dr Sim expresses her heartfelt congratulations to all receiving well-deserved honours today. Their exceptional achievements and commitment to excellence inspire pharmacists across the nation to strive for greatness in their profession.