PSA and PDL join forces in new partnership

24 November 2022


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) has entered into a new partnership with Pharmaceutical Defence Limited (PDL), to enhance collaboration between the two organisations on medicine safety and pharmacist practice support.


Both organisations agreed to explore new medicine safety initiatives, including support for a future nationally coordinated pharmacovigilance system, and medicine incident and near-miss reporting systems, to provide feedback on the safe and effective use of medicines.


Under the agreement, PSA will commence work on the sixth report in PSA’s flagship Medicine Safety report series. A Practice Support Liaison Group will also be established between the two organisations to enhance support for pharmacists and scope of practice across all areas of pharmacy practice.


PSA National President Dr Fei Sim says that it puts both organisations in a stronger position to make medicines safer for all Australians through excellence in pharmacist practice.


“We are stronger when we work together, and this will allow our organisations to collaborate on future medicine safety reports, and to progress medicine safety initiatives such as a nationally coordinated pharmacovigilance system.


“PDL is incredibly well trusted by the profession, and has supported pharmacists for generations, through investment in pharmacist education and scholarships as well as practice support. PSA is excited to see that practice support expand for pharmacists across all practice settings.


“I’d like to thank PDL for their support and collaboration, and for their ongoing commitment to the pharmacy profession and to improving medicine safety for all Australians.”


PDL Board Chair Paul Naismith said that the agreement will unite PDL and PSA members, who share the common goal of improving medicine safety in Australia.


“As the peak body representing all pharmacists, PSA has demonstrated it is a leader in medicine safety by driving excellence in pharmacist practice. At PDL, we’re excited to be working together with PSA to help tailor practice support across the profession in areas it will have the biggest impact on improving medicine safety.


“We look forward to supporting and working with PSA to further strengthen our great profession as it strives to deliver on Australia’s growing health needs.



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

PDL media contact: Alice Faull P: 03 9958 0504 E: alice.faull@pdl.org.au

Expanded vaccination access for WA residents

22 November 2022



The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes today’s announcement from the West Australian Government that patients will soon have expanded access to the National Immunisation Program (NIP) through their local pharmacist.


From 22 November 2022, patients over 11 years of age will be able to access dTpa and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccinations, and patients over 15 years of age will be able to access Meningococcal ACWY vaccinations, and patients over 16 years of age will be able to access Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccinations, all from their local pharmacist.


WA PSA State President Lusi Sheehan says that the move will make vaccinations more accessible to more West Australians.


“Allowing more patients to be vaccinated by their local pharmacist is a vital step in ensuring accessible healthcare for all West Australians,” Ms Sheehan said.


“Pharmacists are trained and experienced immunisers, having delivered more than 9 million COVID-19 vaccines administered by community pharmacists.


“It’s fantastic to see that WA remains the home of one of the most progressive pharmacist-administered vaccination programs in Australia, an important vote of confidence in our pharmacist workforce.


“PSA has been calling on governments around Australia to allow us to play a greater role in community health and a large part of that is expanding funded vaccinations in community pharmacies.


“We’re looking forward to working with the WA Government to ensure that pharmacists are empowered to practice to their full potential.”


PSA National President Dr Fei Sim said it was vital for regulations around vaccination to be consistent across all states and territories.


“At the moment, every jurisdiction in Australia has different regulations around which vaccinations can be administered by pharmacists.


“COVID-19 related school closures, absenteeism and work from home orders have all impacted community vaccination rates as scheduled vaccination outreach in schools and workplaces have been disrupted. On top of this, GP shortages have also impacted the accessibility of vital vaccinations. The result is patients falling through the cracks, putting our communities at risk from preventable infectious diseases.


“Australians should be able to access the same level of health care regardless of where they live. A nationally consistent schedule of pharmacist-administered vaccinations is key to achieve equitable access to government-funded vaccines by all Australians.


“Allowing pharmacists around Australia to deliver all vaccinations to all ages, they’re sending an important message to the public about the importance of vaccination.


“This is an opportunity for governments around Australia to show significant leadership and to encourage vaccination uptake, particularly in young people.”




Media contact:   Georgia Clarke   M: 0410 505 315     E: georgia.clarke@psa.org.au

Healthcare access top priority for Victorian election

18 November 2022


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) has celebrated the Victorian Labor Party’s commitment to healthcare access, welcoming today’s announcement that Victorians will soon be able to access more services from their local pharmacist.


Labor’s health spokesperson Mary-Anne Thomas has today announced that, if elected, pharmacists in Victoria will be able to provide oral contraception and travel vaccines to patients and will also trial pharmacist prescribing for Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs).


Under this proposal, Victoria will also become the first jurisdiction in Australia to fund pharmacists to deliver these services with no out of pocket costs to patients.


PSA Victoria President John Jackson said that the proposal would improve access to care and reduce out-of-pocket costs for women across the state.


“Giving patients greater access to medicines and healthcare, whether it is renewing prescriptions for oral contraception, treatment for a UTI, or vaccination for overseas travel, is a great step forward for all Victorians,” Mr Jackson said.


“Allowing women to access oral contraception and treatment for UTIs directly from their local pharmacist is about equitable, affordable, and timely access to healthcare.


“All Australians have felt the pressure on our health system. When patients can’t see their GP, they’re instead seeking care at a hospital Emergency Department or not getting treatment at all, which is regularly putting patients at risk of further complications.


“Pharmacists are accessible, skilled healthcare professionals that can work collaboratively with other healthcare providers to ensure all patients can access the care they need, when they need it.”


Mr Jackson also said that the community has demonstrated their confidence in pharmacist-administered vaccines throughout the pandemic, with pharmacists now firmly entrenched as part of Australia’s immuniser workforce.


“Pharmacists have now delivered more than 9 million COVID-19 vaccinations alongside a range of other vaccines. We have proven how valuable we are to improving vaccination accessibility, so we are excited to be able to help patients with their travel vaccinations too.


“While the world has re-opened to travel, the health system remains under significant pressure. Providing patients with more options to access travel vaccinations just makes sense.


“It’s fantastic to see the Victorian Labor Party agree that pharmacists can and should be playing a greater role in primary healthcare.”


Mr Jackson urged all parties standing at the state election this weekend to support the commitment, saying that the outcome of the upcoming state election should not impact the availability of care for Victorians.


“Improving access to basic healthcare is above politics. Patients across Victoria deserve certainty that they will have the same access regardless of who the Premier is in a few weeks’ time.


“I encourage all major parties and all candidates to put the health of Victorians first and commit to improving healthcare access this election.”



Media contact:   Georgia Clarke   M: 0410 505 315     E: georgia.clarke@psa.org.au

Equitable access to basic healthcare must be priority for ACT Government

14 November 2022



The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) has urged the ACT Government to follow New South Wales’ lead to allow pharmacists to do more amidst ongoing GP shortages.


The NSW Government announced yesterday (13 November 2022) that pharmacists who undergo further training will be able to participate in a 12-month trial to prescribe medication for urinary tract infections (UTIs), as well as a pilot to prescribe oral contraception and medications for minor skin conditions and ear infections.


PSA ACT President Olivia Collenette says that Canberrans deserve the same access to basic healthcare as residents living over the border.


“In the ACT we have patients waiting up to three weeks for an appointment with a GP, leaving significant gaps in care,” Ms Collenette said.


“Canberrans deserve better access to medicines, whether it’s anti-biotics for an infection or oral contraceptives.


“Forcing a patient who has been on oral contraception for years, for example, to wait for a GP appointment to get their script renewed significantly limits the accessibility of contraception and basic healthcare.


“Pharmacists are Canberra’s most accessible health care providers, we are ideally placed to support patients to access to contraception and basic healthcare.


Ms Collenette added that allowing pharmacists to treat minor ailments would bridge the access gap caused by GP shortages.


“When a patient has a painful infection and can’t see their GP, they’re going to go to the emergency department to seek treatment. This is only putting more pressure on our already stretched hospitals.


“We know that GP shortages are not going to be fixed overnight, so it’s vital that the healthcare sector work together to ensure patients can access the treatment and medicines they need.


“The ACT Government should take immediate action to allow pharmacists to support community health. The government must put patients first.”




Media contact:   Georgia Clarke   M: 0410 505 315     E: georgia.clarke@psa.org.au

Better access to medicines a huge win for NSW patients

13 November 2022


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes today’s announcement from New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet, improving access to medicines and vaccines by expanding the scope of practice for NSW pharmacists.


The NSW Government has committed to a 12-month trial allowing pharmacists to prescribe medication for urinary tract infections (UTIs) similar to the program already trialled in Queensland, as well as a state-wide trial of pharmacist prescribing for oral contraceptives, and medication for ear infections and minor skin ailments.


Pharmacists will also be able to administer more vaccinations from Monday 14 November, including Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV), Poliomyelitis, Typhoid, and Zoster vaccines.


PSA NSW President Chelsea Felkai said the move will improve access to medicines and vaccination for residents across NSW, helping to address current GP shortages.


“Giving patients across NSW greater access to vaccinations, contraception and medicines for minor ailments through local pharmacies will significantly improve access to healthcare, especially in regional and rural parts of the state,” Ms Felkai said.


“Trained Queensland pharmacists have been successfully prescribing for uncomplicated UTIs since 2020, giving patients timely access to medicines in an environment where it could otherwise take up to six weeks to get a GP appointment.


“Pharmacists have the skills and expertise to renew patient prescriptions for ongoing health concerns, especially where their chronic condition is stable, removing barriers to medicine access.


“As the most accessible healthcare professional, pharmacists should be able to offer patients renewals of their ongoing medications. Allowing pharmacists to renew prescriptions for oral contraceptives is the first step in giving patients greater access to medicines for stable but chronic conditions that have already been diagnosed.”


Ms Felkai said the community has demonstrated their confidence in pharmacist-administered vaccines throughout the pandemic, with pharmacists now firmly entrenched as part of Australia’s immuniser workforce:


“We share the concerns NSW Health has on the potential for Japanese Encephalitis outbreaks in regional NSW this summer. We are proud that pharmacists will be able to play their part in helping at-risk people protect themselves against this disease.


“While the world has re-opened to travel, the health system remains under significant pressure. Providing patients with more options to access travel vaccinations just makes sense.


“Pharmacists are trained and experienced immunisers. In community pharmacies alone, over 9 million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered, and that doesn’t to count the doses pharmacists have administered in hubs, general practices or aged care facilities.


“This is an important vote of confidence in pharmacists across NSW, in our skills and expertise as part of the primary healthcare team. We thank the NSW Government for their support and look forward to working with the NSW Government to implement these measures.

PSA National President, Dr Fei Sim, also commended the NSW Government on this announcement, and called on other jurisdictions to follow suit.


“PSA has been calling on governments around Australia to allow pharmacists to play a greater role in community health. It’s great to see NSW leading the way in improving patient access to medicines. Pharmacists have the skills and medicine expertise to renew prescriptions for stable, chronic conditions. With ongoing GP shortages across the country, it is time for other jurisdictions to follow NSW’s lead.



Media contact:   Georgia Clarke   M: 0410 505 315     E: georgia.clarke@psa.org.au

Pharmacists mark MedSafety Week

9 November 2022


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is this week marking the seventh annual Med Safety Week, running from 7 – 13 November 2022.


Med Safety Week brings together regulators from 81 countries worldwide to focus on the important role that every healthcare professional, patient and carer has in reporting suspected side effects and contributing to medicine safety.


PSA National President Dr Fei Sim said that Med Safety Week was a timely reminder of the importance of medicine safety in preventing hospitalisations and improving quality of life.


“The use of medicines is the most common intervention in health care. The safe and appropriate use of medicines transforms people’s health for the better,” Dr Sim said.


“PSA landmark Medicine Safety: Take Care report found 250,000 Australians are hospitalised each year and another 400,000 present to emergency departments as a result of medicine-related problems. At least half of this harm could have been prevented.


“Pharmacists already play an important role in medicine safety, but there are opportunities for us to do more.


“Pharmacists, as medicine safety experts, should be embedded wherever medicines are used to reduce the risk of medicine-related problems.


“All pharmacists, regardless of their practice setting, continue to play an increasingly important role in ensuring the Quality Use of Medicines.”


Dr Sim said that ensuring pharmacist services are available relied heavily on managing workforce capacity.


“As pharmacist services continue to expand, we need to ensure that consultations are appropriately funded based on time and complexity, possibly through the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS).


“This is something that PSA has been calling on the Federal Government to explore to ensure that access to expert pharmacist advice remains available to all Australians,” Dr Sim concluded.



Media contact:   Georgia Clarke   M: 0410 505 315     E: georgia.clarke@psa.org.au


RADIO INTERVIEW: Future Proofing the PBS

Dr Fei Sim, PSA National President on ABC Radio Adelaide

1 November 2022


PRESENTER: Dr Fei Sim is the National President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, good morning Dr Sim.


DR FEI SIM: Good morning.


PRESENTER: When you see the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, do you think ‘this is great and God bless the person who came up with this’ or do you think it could do with some tweaking?


DR FEI SIM: I think you brought up a good point, the PBS is definitely one of the best health initiatives in the country, so I think we should all wake up every day and be thankful that the PBS is actually in Australia.


PRESENTER: Do you want to change it in any way?


DR FEI SIM: Look, I think the PBS is really good but there is always room for improvement. The key is that the PBS has to be sustainable and it has to be flexible because we live in an era where there’s constantly new medicines coming on the market, so the PBS in order to continue serving Australians I really believe that it needs to be more sustainable and flexible. The previous speaker talked about the presence of the PBAC – which is the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee – so the government does actually have a very rigorous process, and I would consider a rather flexible process as well, to continue to evaluate whether a medicine is cost effective and whether it should be on the PBS.


PRESENTER: It must be really difficult knowing that, because you know you hear these stories about people who’ve got some horrible disease and the only thing that’s keeping them alive is some rare medication that costs a gazillion dollars to buy, but if you put it on the PBS they can suddenly buy… they can afford to live. Making those decisions must be very hard.


DR FEI SIM: Absolutely you’ve brought up another good point which is why I think the government has this rigorous process in place and the role of the PBAC is really not easy because in order to consider whether a medicine should be on the PBS there needs to be a lot of research but also economic modelling. And really it needs to be assessed on a medicine-by-medicine basis to consider if the health benefit, whether its to the few people or to the masses of Australians, whether the benefits justify the costs of subsidising the medication over and above what’s already available. So it’s definitely not an easy process.


PRESENTER: Who applied to the governing body to have a drug? Is the pharmaceutical companies or is it the medical profession?


DR FEI SIM: It often is the pharmaceutical companies, so the pharmaceutical manufacturers are often the sponsors if you like. They would have put a lot of money into research and development, and they may be researching hundreds of molecules at the one time, but often there will be a few that actually make it to the market. At the same time they actually have to apply to the TGA, to the Therapeutic Goods Administration, to actually have the medicine approved or registered to be used. Through that process they have to justify that it is safe and effective and at the same time they have to apply to have the medicine listed on the PBS from a subsidy perspective so that the Australian people can actually access the medicine in a cost effective manner.


PRESENTER: This is Dr Fei Sim, the National President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia.



PRESENTER: Dr Fei Sim let’s come back to you, any final comment you want to make?


DR FEI SIM: I think it’s important to highlight that it is the responsibility of every one of us living in Australia, benefitting from the PBS, to protect . For instance from the public’s perspective it’s important that we all understand that we shouldn’t be stockpiling medicines because if we actually get medicines and have them subsidized but then stockpile them at home we are actually using up the resources of the PBS when it can actually benefit others that might actually need them. At the same time, Dr Melanie Smith highlighted the importance of GP in prescribing and that is something all health professional work together . Pharmacists when we’re dispensing are using, for Trulicity as you used as an example, you know pharmacists would be actually checking the medicines that are on and through medication reviews pharmacists can also help to deprescribe, which means suggest to the GP what medicines should not be taking. All this would help to improve the judicious use of medicines which will actually help to preserve the sustainability of the PBS moving forward.


Flood victims must have access to medicines. PSA calls for urgent restoration of full PBS Continued Dispensing initiative.

19 October 2022


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is again calling for the Federal Government to reinstate full continued dispensing arrangements amid widespread flooding in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.


Continued dispensing arrangements came into effect in late 2019 allowing people separated from their medicines and prescriptions to access a standard box of their medicines as a one-off one month supply without a prescription.


Despite being in force for over two years without any known safety incidents, the Federal Government reduced the number of eligible medicines from over 900 to only 168 from 30 June 2022.


PSA National President Dr Fei Sim says that while pharmacists are working harder than ever to ensure patients have access to the medicines they need, their hands are tied when it comes to supplying prescription medicines to those who have been most affected.


“We have been speaking with pharmacists who are staying open and trying to help patients with intermittent power, water damage and without stable phone and internet lines. They have told us the watered-down arrangements are putting them in an impossible situation of having to deny reasonable requests for lifesaving medicines or risk losing their AHPRA registration by breaking the law.


“There are common medicines, like anti-depressants, antiarrhythmic, anticoagulant, and antiepileptic medicines for example, that are dangerous to suddenly stop taking. In a disaster situation it is the patients on these sorts of medicines who will suffer without permanent continued dispensing arrangements in place.


“This is unacceptable. The current continued dispensing arrangements are simply not fit-for-purpose. Governments need to make sure that all patients have access to their medicines in emergency situations, regardless of what medicines they take,” Dr Sim said.


“It is vital the full PBS Continued Dispensing list is restored, as it guarantees access to full PBS quantities Australia-wide for people affected by an emergency. Without this, the quantity of medicines a pharmacist can supply varies depending where you are in Australia, which can be as little as only 3 day’s supply We all know emergencies last longer than that.


“Full continued dispensing is necessary to ensure medicines remain affordable in an emergency. Without PBS subsidy, either the patient or pharmacist has to wear the full cost of the medicine at a time where the individual costs of the disaster are starting to roll in.


The last thing these pharmacists and patients need is unnecessary bureaucratic red tape getting in the way of emergency patient care.


“After two years where this problem has been solved, it feels like we’ve gone back to Groundhog Day again. We cannot wait for the next natural disaster to revisit this issue yet again. Restoring full continued dispensing permanently will help improve our disaster response and protect the post-disaster health of our communities.”




Media contact:   Georgia Clarke   M: 0410 505 315     E: georgia.clarke@psa.org.au

PSA announces Consultant Pharmacists Conference 23 (CPC23)

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) has today announced the commitment to host the PSA Consultant Pharmacists Conference 23 (CPC23) as part of PSA’s accreditation support program. PSA’s CPC23 will be hosted in Adelaide, South Australia, from 5-7 May 2023.


PSA National President Dr Fei Sim reaffirmed PSA’s commitment to supporting accredited pharmacists, saying that the Consultant Pharmacists Conference was a vital professional develop opportunity for many pharmacists.


“PSA is committed to preserving the legacy of AACP and we are very excited to be able to continue offering a dedicated national conference for accredited pharmacists, the Consultant Pharmacists Conference 23,” Dr Sim said.


“ConPharm had a long history of bringing together hundreds of accredited pharmacists from around Australia to connect and receive high-quality education targeted to the accredited pharmacists, those undergoing accreditation, and those looking to advance their practice.


The PSA Accreditation Expert Advisory Group has played a key role in ensuring that PSA’s accreditation offer supports the contemporary demands on accredited pharmacists. With this feedback, CPC23 will offer the best fit-for-purpose training development, engagement and networking opportunities for accredited pharmacists.


“PSA made a commitment to give career-long support to accredited pharmacists. PSA will work with the PSA Accreditation Expert Advisory Group to deliver a program that meets the needs of accredited pharmacists.”


PSA will also continue the proud tradition of the Consultant Pharmacist of the Year – announcing next year’s winner at Consultant Pharmacists Conference.


Dr Sim confirmed the continuation of the Consultant Pharmacist of the Year award saying, “I am delighted that PSA will be continuing these awards, when I look back at all the winners of the past, I see the names of so many incredible pharmacists – many of whom are advising PSA on how we can continue supporting accredited pharmacists.”


“PSA-accredited pharmacists will be able to access professional support and professional development throughout your entire career, not only through your training. This is an important part of the support AACP has provided, and PSA is proud to carry on that legacy.”


To register for more information on the Consultant Pharmacists Conference 23 (CPC23), visit https://psa.eventsair.com/conpharm-2023/informreq/Site/Register


SAVE THE DATE: Consultant Pharmacists Conference 23 (CPC23)


Date: 5-7 May 2023


Venue: Adelaide Convention Centre, South Australia



Media contact:   Georgia Clarke   M: 0410 505 315     E: georgia.clarke@psa.org.au


SA Pharmacists to deliver Japanese encephalitis virus vaccines

18 October 2022


The South Australian Government has today announced that pharmacists will soon be able to deliver free Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) vaccines to people over five years of age who travel to, live or work along the River Murray.


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the announcement, with SA/NT President Veronika Seda highlighting the role of pharmacists in ensuring that the vaccination is accessible to all eligible people.


“Pharmacists play an important role in enabling access to vaccinations for every eligible person living in South Australia,” Ms Seda said.


“While 90% of JEV infections are asymptomatic, the virus can cause a rare and potentially life-threatening infection of the brain. It’s vital that we encourage the uptake of JEV vaccines in affected areas.


“As the most accessible health care professionals, community pharmacists completely support any measures that strengthen the health and wellbeing of our communities. Pharmacists are skilled and ready to provide any additional advice people may need regarding mosquito borne diseases, such as JEV.”


The vaccine will be available to patients free of charge, with pharmacists receiving $20 (inc. GST) in remuneration for each dose delivered. This is less than pharmacists receive for delivering an influenza vaccination, despite JEV vaccinations requiring a longer consultation.


“As the organisation representing all pharmacists practising in Australia, PSA is concerned that the rate of remuneration for South Australian pharmacists delivering JEV vaccinations is insufficient.


“JEV has a strict eligibility criteria, which requires pharmacists to spend more time consulting with patients. That extra time is time taken away from the dispensary and helping other patients, which can have a significant impact in small, regional, or rural pharmacies.


“In comparison, general practitioners are delivering the same service, administering the same vaccine, and are able to claim $39.75 for each patient under Medicare. Pharmacists deserve to be paid the same rate,” Ms Seda concluded.

More information on the Japanese encephalitis virus and vaccines can be found here.



Media contact:   Georgia Clarke   M: 0410 505 315     E: georgia.clarke@psa.org.au