WA pharmacists to expand oral contraceptive access

28 May 2024


Western Australian pharmacists are set to be able to resupply oral contraceptives to women across the state as part of a new pilot program.

The Pharmacist Resupply of Oral Contraceptive Pills Pilot enables pharmacists to supply up to 12 months of a combination or progestogen-only contraceptive pill to women* between 18 and 39 years of age who have a stable history of using the pill for two years. Patients aged between 16 and 17 years can access up to four months’ supply as an extension to their original prescription.

Pharmacists are required to undergo additional training before commencing services.


Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) WA President Kristian Ray welcomed the Pilot announcement.

“WA has now joined the majority of Australian states and territories giving women greater autonomy and choice when it comes to accessing oral contraceptives,” Mr Ray said.

“It shows how pharmacists working together with GPs and other healthcare professionals can improve the care we provide, relieving strain on our healthcare systems in a safe and efficient way.


“This is a step forward, ensuring that reproductive care is accessible and safe.

“We applaud the Cook Government’s initiation of this pilot, recognising not only pharmacist’s role as medicine safety experts, but also underscoring the importance of a collaborative, patient-centred approach to healthcare delivery.”

With compulsory training now available, Mr Ray encouraged pharmacists across the state to take up the opportunity.

“The oral contraceptive pilot is a new opportunity for pharmacists to develop new skills, underpinned by quality education and training and best-practice care.

“The oral contraceptive pilot isn’t just about expanding our scope of practice, it’s about ensuring that every individual receives the care and support they need to make informed decisions about their reproductive health,” Mr Ray concluded.


*Pharmacists providing contraception and sexual health advice for transgender and gender diverse individuals presumed female at birth must ensure the service is safe and accessible. It’s important to verify that transgender and gender diverse individuals seeking contraceptive care are actively engaged with appropriate sexual health services as needed. The resupply of OCP is permitted for transgender and gender diverse individuals, provided all other protocol conditions are met.

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

NIP Vaccination in Pharmacy expansion improves equitable access to vaccines

20 April 2024


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the Albanese Government’s expanded funding for National Immunisation Program Vaccination in Pharmacy (NIPVIP) program in aged care and disability homes from 29 April 2024, actioning one of PSA’s key recommendations in its 2024-25 Federal Budget Submission.


Ahead of World Immunisation Week beginning 24 April 2024, the Minister for Health and Aged Care, Hon Mark Butler MP, has announced that pharmacists will be funded to deliver National Immunisation Program vaccines to some of Australia’s most vulnerable priority population groups.


The Minister has also announced that NIPVIP payments will also be indexed in line with Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) indexation from 1 July 2024.


PSA Chief Executive Officer, Adjunct Associate Professor Steve Morris welcomed the move, which PSA – as the only peak body representing all of Australia’s 37,000 pharmacists – has been advocating for, to expand access to funded vaccination services to all pharmacists practising in all locations.


“The expansion of the National Immunisation Program Vaccination in Pharmacy program to include pharmacists practising in residential aged care facilities and in disability care will drastically improve the specialised care pharmacists provide to these patients,” Adj. A/Prof Morris said.


“PSA has been supportive of increased investment in pharmacist vaccination services, supporting the delivery of ‘all vaccines, to all ages, in all locations’ – and therefore, pharmacists welcome this announcement.


“It means pharmacists can deliver more services to the priority groups who are the most heavily reliant on vaccines.


“We are continuing to work with governments across Australia on improvements to the accessibility of vaccination services for all Australians ahead of the winter flu season.”


Adj. A/Prof Morris also welcomed the confirmation of service payment indexation in line with indexation of MBS service payments.


“Lifting remuneration to meet the rising costs of service delivery allows pharmacists to continue delivering critical vaccination clinics,” he said.


“Pharmacists continue to be some of the most accessible vaccination providers, supporting increased vaccination coverage around the country. Adequate pharmacist remuneration is critical to ensuring that these essential services delivered by pharmacists can be delivered sustainably, which ultimately protects and maintains equitable access to vaccination services for all Australians.”


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


PSA release pharmacist prescribing position statement

15 April 2024


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia has released its Pharmacist Prescribing position statement, highlighting the growing need for pharmacists to practise to their full and top of scope.


Ahead of the release of the next Scope of Practice Review Issues Paper, PSA clarifies support for pharmacist prescribing through emphasising patient safety and quality practice, and make clear that pharmacists have the required competencies to conduct both prescribing and dispensing.

PSA National President Associate Professor Fei Sim FPS said that regulation should exist to support timely access to medicines, not limit it.

“Pharmacists should not be prevented from helping patients when they need care,” A/Prof Sim said.


“Pharmacists can prescribe medicines within their scope of practice. The red tape and regulation that gets in the way of pharmacists helping patients needs to go.

“Pharmacists currently prescribe within a limited formulary, namely under Continued Dispensing arrangements and Pharmacist-Only medicines, but we have the skills and knowledge to do more.

“Current emergency supply provisions do not adequately mitigate the risks associated with ceasing therapy when a patient cannot access their medicines for a wide range of reasons.

“We need to remove the out-of-date regulatory barriers that get in the way of delivering timely, effective health care.

“We’ve seen in other countries pharmacists are prescribing a wider range of medicines than in Australia. This has been successful in providing safe access to medicines where patients have had trouble accessing other prescribers.

“The emergence of pharmacist prescribing pilots in many Australian jurisdictions is further evidence that pharmacist prescribing is driven by real demand on the ground, and serves to address a gap to improve overall health system capability and capacity.

“We know that the Scope of Practice Review is long, so we have renewed our position statement to meet the evolving health needs of our population.”


The position statement also clearly articulates PSA’s commitment to quality and safety measures for pharmacist prescribing.

”Prescribing and dispensing remain as two discrete clinical activities, and pharmacists’ practice in these two activities will continue to be underpinned by appropriate clinical governance to ensure quality and standards,” A/Prof Sim said.

“This position solidifies our commitment to evidence-based health service delivery.

“PSA strongly believes in the implementation of evaluation and quality frameworks for prescribing services, ensuring that all health service delivery is responsive to the care and therapeutic needs of patients.”

PSA’s Pharmacist Prescribing Position Statement is available here.

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

South Australian pharmacists welcome oral contraception access

11 April 2024


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the announcement of oral contraceptive pill resupply services through South Australian community pharmacies from May 2024.


Announced by SA Health Minister Chris Picton MP today, the Community Pharmacy Oral Contraceptive Pill (OCP) Resupply Services Scheme authorises appropriately trained pharmacists to resupply certain oral contraceptive pills to South Australian women* aged 17 to 50.

It is a requirement that the requested OCP was initiated by a medical practitioner or other authorised prescriber, and the patient has a history of stable continuous use for a minimum of 2 years prior to resupply through community pharmacy. Medicines included in the protocol include low and standard dose estrogen, and progestogen only contraceptive pills.

PSA South Australia and Northern Territory President Dr Manya Angley FPS said the move secures timely access to care for thousands of women.


“Improving the accessibility to and continuity of contraceptive medicines is essential to empower women to manage their reproduction. This program will make oral contraception more accessible to more South Australian women, particularly those in regional and rural areas,” Dr Angley said.


“Pharmacists are also some of the most accessible health care professionals, giving consumers safe, and equitable access to quality health care and advice as well as provision of medicines, now including approved oral contraceptive pills.”


Dr Angley said that pharmacists can now complete PSA’s Contraception Essentials online training module in preparation for the program’s start on 6 May 2024.


“PSA’s Contraception Essentials online training program is open for enrolment to support pharmacists with the required approved, high-quality education ahead of the program’s start.


“I strongly encourage all South Australian pharmacists to complete the PSA training program now so that services can be delivered immediately,” Dr Angley said.


* These services are inclusive of transgender, gender diverse, intersex or non-binary people assigned or presumed female at birth.

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

Tas expands pharmacy services to UTI treatment

12 February 2024


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the Tasmanian Government’s announcement that pharmacists will be authorised to supply treatment for uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTIs) from March this year.

Every community pharmacist in Tasmania will be able to take part in additional training to offer the program which is modelled on services already operating in other states.

PSA Tasmania President David Peachey MPS said the move utilises the state’s most accessible health care professionals to continue supporting timely patient care.

“PSA welcomes Minister Barnett’s move to give Tasmanians greater access to safe health care when and where they need it,” Mr Peachey said.

“We have already seen UTI prescribing programs work successfully around the country – and in Queensland for quite a few years now.

“We know that around half of women will experience a UTI in their lifetime, and that timely access to treatment is key to alleviating discomfort and preventing further complications or hospitalisation.

“Pharmacists are key to strengthening the health care system. Regional and rural communities across Tasmania will benefit enormously from being able to access treatment from their local pharmacist, freeing up our hardworking rural GPs for more complex patient needs.”

PSA’s Managing uncomplicated cystitis training program is now available to all Tasmanian pharmacists. Successful completion allows the pharmacist to provide an assessment and treatment, if deemed appropriate, for uncomplicated UTIs in women aged 18 to 65, once the program commences from 1 March 2024.

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

Unleashing the potential of pharmacists: Scope of practice review

31 January 2024


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the release of the first issue paper from the Unleashing the Potential of our Health Workforce Scope of Practice Review (the Cormack Review) last week.

The issues paper recognises the existing barriers that are preventing Australia’s healthcare professionals, including pharmacists, from practising to their full and top of scope.

PSA National President A/Prof Fei Sim FPS said that the paper highlights both the urgent and the long-term need for pharmacists to contribute to improving access to care and medicine safety through working to their full and top of scope.

“The Cormack Review’s first issues paper confirms that inconsistent regulations, unnecessary restrictions on practice, and siloed workforces are having a detrimental impact on patients,” A/Prof Sim said.

“As pharmacists, we welcome the paper as the first step in the review process, however we need to now look towards solutions.

“PSA is making the case for solutions that recognise the potential of pharmacists as vital members of the healthcare team.

“PSA sees a future where community pharmacies are supported and funded to fulfill their primary care role as urgent care clinics where pharmacists can triage, manage and consult on a range of acute common ailments.

“This includes the ability to prescribe PBS medicines, harnessing the accessibility of pharmacists to deliver timely, cost-effective care – dramatically reducing patients’ out-of-pocket costs.

“We see a future where pharmacists are embedded in multidisciplinary health care teams wherever medicines are prescribed, supplied, administered, or reviewed, and where pharmacists are utilised to support patients in managing chronic health conditions – whether that is a medicine or a referral to another healthcare provider.

“To achieve these aims, regulatory, financial and systems barriers must be recognised and removed, and only until then, we can see the full potential of pharmacists unleashed.

“As the next phase of consultation begins, we are continuing to advocate directly to government for the future of our profession and importantly, the future of our patients.”

A/Prof Fei Sim currently sits on the Cormack Review’s Expert Advisory Committee, representing the pharmacy profession.

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

Access to RSV vaccine critical to its efficacy

19 January 2024


Following the welcome approval of a new vaccine to protect older Australians against the highly infectious respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is urging governments to ensure its accessibility for those most at risk.

This week the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved AREXVY for Australians aged 60 and over, the first RSV vaccine approved in Australia.

PSA National President A/Prof Fei Sim FPS said that allowing pharmacists to administer the vaccine would significantly improve its uptake and in turn, reduce hospitalisations from severe infections.

“Having a vaccine on the market is not enough, we need to ensure that it’s as accessible as possible to those who need it most,” A/Prof Sim said.

“Pharmacist immunisers are limited by red-tape and regulation imposed by states and territories, preventing them from fulfilling their potential to administer all vaccines to all at-risk Australians.

“Millions of Australians attend pharmacies for their vaccinations, with more than 15 million COVID-19 and influenza vaccines administered by pharmacists over the last few years.

“By making vaccinations more accessible to vulnerable groups, we can limit the serious health complications RSV can cause and in turn reduce hospitalisations.

“Allowing pharmacists to practise to the top of their scope makes efficient use of health resources, benefitting the broader health system.

“I urge all state and territory governments to authorise pharmacists to provide the RSV vaccine, supporting access to preventive care and keeping older Australians healthy and well.

“This access should extend to all vaccines, for all eligible people, in all locations where pharmacists work.

“Reducing barriers to vaccination, reducing barriers to care, should always be our priority,” A/Prof Sim concluded.

AREXVY will soon be made available nationally, on private prescription.

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

Pharmacists welcome Climate and Health strategy

7 December 2023


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) lauds the Federal Government’s first National Health and Climate Strategy released this week, recognising the urgent need to build climate-resilient health systems and limit the emissions created by the health care network.

In welcoming the Strategy, PSA National President Dr Fei Sim FPS thanked Federal Health Minister Mark Butler MP and Assistant Minister for Health Ged Kearney MP for their leadership in recognising the impact of climate change on health.

“The leadership of the Federal Government in acknowledging and assessing the impacts of climate change on the health of our population and the provision of care is crucial, because our health system, and our country need to do better,” Dr Sim said.


“Climate change is already having a significant and direct impact not only on the health of our every person in Australia, but also on the way we deliver quality health care.

“The rapidly changing climate adversely affects the health of the nation. It disproportionately harms vulnerable individuals. And we all need to work together to be part of the solution.

Dr Sim also reiterated the urgent need for environmentally sustainable practices across the pharmacy and broader health network.

“As a health issue, pharmacists and all health professionals have a professional obligation to work towards limiting the negative health impacts caused by climate change through direct action, leadership and patient support.

“Proactively responding and preparing for a changing climate will continue to alter many aspects of professional practice.

“In 2022 we released the first PSA Environmental Sustainability position statement, reaffirming our commitment to guiding pharmacists in improving our sector’s environmental footprint.

“PSA has led the way, having implemented measures across our organisation that contribute to a more sustainable future.

“We all have a responsibility to move toward sustainable practices, whether in the pharmacy or as an organisation – a responsibility that we take seriously and continue to develop and improve on,” Dr Sim concluded.

PSA’s 2022 Environmental Sustainability Statement is available here.


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

SA’s 24/7 pharmacies deliver quality care and peace of mind

4 December 2023


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the Malinauskas Government’s investment in supporting pharmacies to open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to deliver expert care when and where South Australians need it.

Three pharmacies have been selected to participate in the program, covering Central, North and South Adelaide.

PSA South Australia President Dr Manya Angley FPS said the government’s support for around-the-clock access to pharmacist expertise will reduce pressure on emergency departments.

“Many South Australian parents know the stress of sick kids, especially when illness strikes overnight,” Dr Angley said.

“24-hour access to pharmacists gives Adelaide residents the peace of mind that if they get sick or need after hours health advice, they will be able to access expert care from a trusted health professional.

“Giving South Australians another option for after-hours care will improve health outcomes, while also reducing pressure on our emergency departments.

“We know that 250,000 Australians are hospitalised each year, with another 400,000 presenting to emergency departments as a result of medication misadventure.

“Health care needs can change unpredictably at all hours of the day or night. People who require medicines for pain management or other palliative care medicines can be assured they can access them around-the-clock, along with the advice and expertise of pharmacists ready to help.

“PSA is looking forward to continuing our work with the South Australian Government to improve access to quality healthcare through our excellent pharmacists.”

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