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.


60-day dispensing

To inform our ongoing advocacy and feedback to the Department about this policy, PSA has also established a dedicated contact for members to raise concerns and issues directly with our team.


If you have any examples of unintended consequences or issues as a result of the 60-day prescription policy,  please send an email to 60daydispensing@psa.org.au. This will help gather evidence on the impact on the ground.


If you are concerned about the clinical appropriateness of 60-day prescriptions – contact the prescriber in the first instance.


If you need professional advice – please call the PSA Pharmacist-to-Pharmacist advice line where one of our expert senior pharmacists will be able to help.


The Pharmacist-to-Pharmacist advice line is available exclusively to PSA members, providing confidential, independent and specialised advice to support and guide your practice, referencing the most up-to-date standards, guidelines and resources developed by PSA and regulatory bodies.


Contact the Pharmacist-to-Pharmacist Advice Line on 1300 369 772 – Option 5, between 8.30am and 5.00pm AEST Monday to Friday, or via P2Padvice@psa.org.au.

Stage 1 includes 92 medicines (256 PBS items) and represents roughly one third of all the medicines proposed to be made eligible for 60-day prescriptions. The 256 PBS items include different dosage forms and strengths of Stage 1 medicines.


The list of the Stage 1 medicines is available here.


Australian Pharmacist has published a thorough practice update.


Members who require further support to transition to 60-day dispensing have access to PSA’s dedicated Pharmacist-to-Pharmacist Advice Line for professional and practice support.


1300 369 772






PSA is also continuing our efforts on ensuring there is meaningful reinvestment into our profession to enable pharmacists to continue to deliver high quality healthcare to Australians.


This is no doubt a challenging and emotional time for many of us. Please continue to look after yourself and others around you.  If you require support, the Pharmacists’ Support Service is also available on 1300 244 910.

Previous updates

Securing pharmacy’s future

14 July 2023


We have so far met with around 30 MPs and senators, as well as the Department of Health. In these meetings, we raised our concerns about the 60-day dispensing policy and aged care program, and put forward recommendations on away forward and how meaningful reinvestment can be undertaken to maintain viability of the community pharmacy network.


The way forward must acknowledge the:

  1. real impact of this policy on our profession, patients and health system
  2. essential role that community pharmacies and pharmacists play in primary care


Our message and conversations are clear, that the reinvestment should support pharmacy programs with a focus on accessible care and safe and effective use of medicines. This can include services such as triage and referral/minor ailments programs, removing caps on medication reviews and DAAs, and allowing pharmacists to have greater autonomy to utilise our clinical judgements.


The proposed reinvestment can only be considered meaningful if the needs of the vulnerable and specific patient groups are addressed. These include older Australians on multiple medications, patients on dose administration aids, people living in rural and remote communities, First Nations people, clients receiving Home Care Packages and people living with disability and chronic debilitating health conditions.


The implementation or uptake of any new programs may take time, and therefore safeguards must be in place to maintain viability of the community pharmacy network and ensure good patient care through optimising the role of pharmacists in primary healthcare delivery. As such, there may be a need to review and increase dispensing and AHI fees, or the acceleration of new service implementation.


On aged care, we continue to advocate for flexibility in service administration and delivery, and maximising pharmacists’ time on ground to deliver resident-level and facility-level duties to meet the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.


We have also raised our strong concern that the current proposal (through community pharmacy however without any remuneration for pharmacy engagement) will see significant implementation challenge in terms of uptake and equity. We are continuing our conversations with the Department, with more meetings to come.


Dr Fei Sim FPS

PSA National President

Support us to support you – Update on Senate Estimates

2 June 2023


Last week, the Senate’s Community Affairs Committee held hearings to discuss the Federal Budget measures impacting our profession. I wanted to provide you with an update on these proceedings and highlight the important role that the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) plays in advocating for pharmacists like you.


Alongside our members, PSA has been working tirelessly, in collaboration with other pharmacy organisations who share similar concerns, to represent your interests and to ensure your voice is heard. It was clear that our concerns are being heard.


Recent policy developments highlight the importance of unity and strong representation for all pharmacists. In crucial times like this, it is vital that our profession stays united in solidarity. As PSA’s National President, I am absolutely committed to advocating for your interests. I invite you to join me, our PSA elected officials, members and team, in our shared mission to enable pharmacists to be at the forefront of healthcare in Australia.


During the hearings, the committee questioned officials from the Department of Health regarding various policy measures, including the proposed 60-day dispensing, on-site aged care pharmacist program, and community pharmacy reinvestment.


Senate Estimates highlighted the impact of these proposed policies, with Senators referencing conversations with pharmacists. The discussions covered a wide range of topics, such as medicine shortages, pharmacy viability (especially in regional areas), aged care services, medicines wastage, safety considerations, and policy implementation approaches.


Department heads were asked to respond to a number of questions on topics ranging from medicine shortages, the viability of pharmacies – particularly in regional areas – aged care, medicines wastage, impact on safety, “reinvestment” and policy implementation approach. Senator Anne Ruston questioned the consultation and decision-making process, and the $1.6 billion loss in co-payments.


Much of the testimony explored details already on the public record, however additional insight was provided in some areas. For example, on aged care, the Department was asked to reflect on concerns that pharmacies have been providing DAAs to residential aged care facilities cross-subsidised by dispensing remuneration and that this may no longer be sustainable. Department of Health Deputy Secretary Penny Shakespeare noted that it is not an expectation that pharmacies provide free services to aged care facilities and that there is a willingness to consider ways to manage this impact.


In relation to 60-day dispensing, the Department has also:

  • Confirmed a substantial component of the “reinvestment” in community pharmacy will be used to top-up budgeted funds for professional services within the 7CPA.
  • Recognised there may be an increase in medicines wastage, but have described the likely impact as small in the context of the scale of the PBS and that they intend to monitor this via the RUM program.


In response to questions from ACT independent Senator David Pocock, the Department of Health described some of the remuneration and transition arrangements for opioid dependence program:

  • Patients will pay a PBS co-payment for the medicine (i.e., methadone or buprenorphine), but be subject to no additional charges.
  • Like other S100 HSD medicines, community pharmacies will be paid a markup, dispensing fee, and Dangerous Drug fee for the dispensing of this item.
  • A staged supply fee of $5.66 (including a $0.97 consumables allowance) will be provided for each dose provided by a pharmacist.
  • The Department is exploring transition arrangements so that existing prescriptions can be used for a period following the program’s start date.
  • The Department is exploring some transition arrangements for availability of OTP medicines for private clinics, but reaffirmed the policy intention is to reduce out-of-pocket patient costs.


On other measures discussed:

  • Following Minister Butler’s announcement of a scope of practice review for all health professionals, Department of Health Deputy Secretary Penny Shakespeare provided the committee with an update on preparation for the review. The Department is currently preparing the Terms of Reference for the review which will take 12-18 months to complete.
  • In response to questions regarding vaping reforms, Department of Health Secretary Brendan Murphy indicated that non-prescription supply of nicotine-vapes for smoking cessation by pharmacists is a policy option the TGA is considering.


Please let me emphasise that the momentum of our advocacy efforts must continue if we want to ensure there is meaningful reinvestment into our profession as a pathway forward, to maintain the career prospects of our pharmacists and the viability of the community pharmacy network. Pharmacists can do more, the health system and our patients need pharmacists to do more, but pharmacists can’t do more for less.


As a valued member of our esteemed FB ECP group, I thank you for being part of our dynamic community that is shaping the future of pharmacy. Your dedication and passion are instrumental in driving the progress of our profession.


For those who are already PSA members, I appreciate your continued support and commitment to your professional growth. Your membership enables PSA to provide you with exclusive resources, networking opportunities, and tailored support to help you thrive as an early career pharmacist.


To those who haven’t yet joined us, I invite you to embark on this exciting journey with the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA). Renew your membership today or join us for the first time by visiting PSA Membership or emailing membership@psa.org.au. Together, lets forge a better future for our profession.


If you have any questions or any feedback, feel free to reach out to our team on 1300 369 772.


Best wishes,


Dr Fei Sim FPS

PSA National President

First Nations pharmacists awarded inaugural McMillan Grant

6 June 2023



The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) today proudly announces three recipients of the inaugural PSA Faye McMillan Conference Grant, funding them to attend PSA’s National Conference, PSA23.


Professor Faye McMillan AM is a Wiradjuri yinaa (woman) originally from Trangie, NSW. She is a dedicated community pharmacist and is recognised as the first Indigenous Australian to hold a western degree in pharmacy in this country.


Inspired and supported by Professor McMillan herself, the PSA Faye McMillan Conference Grant will be to be awarded each year to an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander pharmacist to attend Australia’s leading pharmacist education conference hosted by PSA.


Professor McMillan and PSA are very pleased to announce that this year the grant will support three First Nations pharmacists to attend the PSA23 conference in Sydney from 28-30 July 2023.


The recipients of this year’s grant are –


Alexander Burke (NSW)


Attending this conference will allow me to network with leaders of the profession and to be a role model for young upcoming pharmacists especially those of First Nations background. I believe that the research that I am doing is of vital importance to share with my Australian pharmacy colleagues. My research focuses on how to train pharmacists to be more culturally safe with First Nations patients.


Kirra Natty (NSW)


As an intern I am wanting to broaden my horizons and get as much experience from different conferences and events as I can to see the full scope of pharmacy practice and the possibilities that are available.


Scott Bates (SA)


The PSA conference will be a great way to develop my skills and leadership in Aboriginal Health. Particularly attending the Deadly pharmacist panel. It would be a great opportunity to see what my pharmacy peers have done in this space and share back with the working group my learnings from the panel. Additionally, this could be an incredible resource for networking with likeminded pharmacists.


Quote attributable to PSA National President Dr Fei Sim FPS:


“All health professionals have an obligation to provide culturally safe and appropriate healthcare.”


“PSA acknowledges the ongoing need to increase participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in pharmacy, this grant opportunity represents a genuine commitment by PSA to support the existing pharmacist workforce who identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”


“Congratulations to each recipient of the PSA Faye McMillian Conference Grant, we look forward to seeing Kirra, Scott and Alexander at PSA23!”


Quotes attributable to Prof. Faye McMillan:


“Creating spaces of belonging is a critical component for reconciliation in this country. Grant opportunities such as this allow us to hold this space for others to come into.”


“Yindyamarra (respect) to all the grant recipients and to PSA, Mandaang guwu (thank you).”




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

Thank You Premier McGowan

30 May 2023




I am saddened to hear of the retirement of West Australia Premier Mark McGowan this week.


Premier McGowan has supported pharmacists and the health care system through some of the most difficult challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic. We sincerely thank him for his unwavering support and leadership during this time.


Under Premier McGowan’s leadership there has been strong investment into the health sector, including in regional health and mental health services, ensuring that services are accessible and available to all West Australians who need them.


PSA is proud to have supported the McGowan Government’s free influenza vaccine programs in 2022 and 2023 that have supported vaccine coverage across Western Australia.


McGowan’s commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of our state has undoubtedly improved the lives of all West Australians.


On behalf of pharmacists across Western Australia, I thank Premier McGowan for his leadership, and wish him the best for what comes next.


I look forward to continuing to work constructively with the Government and the next Premier to support the health of all West Australians.





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

Palliative Care Pharmacist Training gets green light

26 May 2023


Pharmacists will enhance support for patients receiving palliative care thanks to a new Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) training program announced as one of the successful recipients of the Australian Government’s National Palliative Care Projects grants program.


The Palliative Care Pharmacist Foundation Training program will upskill pharmacists and improve their capacity to provide palliative care.


PSA also will pilot a community palliative care pharmacist service model, with specialist palliative care pharmacists who have undertaken the training.


The training will be co-designed with subject matter experts, partner organisations and consumers.


PSA National President Dr Fei Sim FPS said the training program came after PSA delivered palliative care education and multiple projects.


“PSA has undertaken a lot of projects leading up to this point, including Primary Health Network projects, such as the Palliative Care Access to Core Medicines (PCAM),” she said.


“In South Australia we’ve delivered numerous projects for palliative care pharmacists in Aboriginal Health, in Aged Care and in community palliative care services.


“These projects have enabled timely access to palliative care medicines and support for end-of-life care for people in residential care and at home.”


Dr Sim said the new training would upskill the most easily accessible health professional to support palliative care in the community.


“Pharmacists already conduct medication reviews in the home and in residential care, providing critical care for patients on multiple medicines,” she said.


“They can provide increased support to patients, carers, including in bereavement with the additional knowledge and skills provided by the training program.”


Funding for the innovative training program and pilot of a new community palliative care pharmacist service model was announced by the Federal Government today as part of $68 million palliative care grants package.


Dr Sim said people who reported difficulty accessing appropriate palliative care due to gender, cultural, or disability reasons would benefit through pharmacist’s receiving training in delivering care to diverse patient groups.


“Upskilling local pharmacists in palliative care will increase the capacity of community palliative care teams, community pharmacists, and general practitioners to provide care to palliative care patients,” she said.


“The service model pilot will trial and inform an ongoing model of care.


“The pharmacist will increase collaboration and coordination of local palliative care services, reducing unnecessary hospital presentations.”


Training will be available to all Australian registered pharmacists and more information of when it will launch and how to enrol will be communicated in 2024.


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