Medicine safety should be a priority in 2019-20 Federal Budget

Wednesday 6 February 2019


Innovative and cost-effective solutions to current health system challenges, including harm caused by medicine misuse, have been recommended by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) in its 2019-20 Federal Budget submission.


PSA National President Dr Chris Freeman said PSA’s Medicine Safety: Take Care report, released last week, showed medicine safety was a major problem in Australia.


“PSA’s Medicine Safety report reveals that 250,000 people go to hospital each year because of medicine misuse, costing the health system $1.4 billion annually,” Dr Freeman said.


“Every day, pharmacists are faced with situations where the health system fails to meet their patients’ needs. Pharmacists want to use their knowledge to provide more effective care.


“The public considers pharmacists approachable, knowledgeable and highly trusted. People value pharmacists’ expertise and want to see it put to full use.


“However, structural and funding barriers are holding pharmacists back from participating in key Government initiatives. As the peak national body for pharmacists, PSA has made cost-effective recommendations for removing these obstacles and maximising the safe use of medicines.”


PSA recommends the 2019-20 Federal Budget makes provision to:


  • Provide seed funding to embed pharmacists in residential aged care facilities to improve the Quality Use of Medicines and in particular to reduce harm caused by overuse of psychotropic medicines, opioids and antibiotics
  • Grow the extensive immunisation network in primary care to boost vaccination rates
  • Facilitate the appointment of a Commonwealth Chief Pharmacist to improve the Commonwealth Government’s coordination and responsiveness to medication issues in Australia’s complex healthcare system
  • Establish funding mechanisms to facilitate collaborative practice between Aboriginal Health Services and community pharmacies
  • Add pharmacists to the list of eligible allied health professionals that can deliver MBS services to patients with chronic diseases under the allied health chronic disease management items.


These recommendations aim to enhance the Government’s existing health investments and do not duplicate or inhibit any initiatives in the 6th Community Pharmacy Agreement.


“The 2019-20 Federal Budget is an opportunity to enhance the use of pharmacists’ skills and expertise for the betterment of Australia’s health,” Dr Freeman said. “We urge the Government to partner with pharmacists to unlock this opportunity by funding the initiatives in PSA’s submission.”


Media contact:

Jarryd Luke
Senior Communications Officer
0487 922 176