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PSA Press Releases

Issue: Issue 81: April 2009
Author: Peter Waterman

PSA News - the latest from the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia. Keep in touch with activities of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia and their professional support for Australian pharmacists.
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The announcement that an extra 64 clinical pharmacists will be employed in NSW hospitals has been welcomed by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia.

President of the NSW Branch of the PSA, Peter Gissing, said the decision by NSW Health Minister, John Della Bosca, to appoint extra hospital pharmacists was timely and recognised the pivotal role that pharmacists play in all aspects of patient health care in Australia.

“The PSA has been advocating for some time for an increase in the number of hospital pharmacists, particularly in light of some of the problems which have surfaced in the NSW hospital system,” Mr Gissing said.

“We have made submissions in person and in writing to the Government and inquiring bodies and the speedy response by Mr Della Bosca to these submissions is a very clear indication of the value he places on pharmacists in the hospital system.”

Mr Gissing said the role of hospital pharmacists went well beyond that of dispensing medications.

“The quality use of medicines is a critical aspect of ongoing health care in this country and hospital pharmacists are at the frontline in being able to help educate patients about the correct use of their medications,” Mr Gissing said.

“In addition, they can provide advice to other medical professionals in the hospital system with the result that patient stays may be reduced.

“It is also gratifying to see that the opportunity for community pharmacy involvement in delivering public health services will also be actively considered by the NSW Government.

“The PSA looks forward to continuing to work with the Minister, NSW Government and NSW Health in finding the best way forward with this and other recommendations from the Garling Report.”

The National President of the PSA, Warwick Plunkett, said the Garling Report pointed to medicine misadventures being the cause of about 140,000 hospital admissions a year, with an annual cost to the public in the order of $380 million.

“Educating consumers is the key to reducing this huge burden on the hospital and financial systems of Australia and pharmacists have the expertise and accessibility to lead in this critical education campaign,” Mr Plunkett said.

“The additional NSW hospital pharmacists will go some way towards addressing the concerns of the PSA and the issues raised in the Garling Report, and the PSA urges all other States and Territories to follow the lead set by Mr Della Bosca.”


The latest edition of Australia’s everyday guide to pharmacy practice – APF2 – is now available in a revised format designed to meet the growing needs of pharmacists in today’s ever-changing practice environment.

Building upon previous editions, and after extensive market research aimed specifically to review content and the overall product, APF21 brings together the past, present and future of pharmacy practice and teaching.

The content incorporates theory and best practice, developed and rigorously reviewed by a range of expert contributors and an editorial board chaired by Emeritus Professor Lloyd Sansom.

In its 107th year of publication, APF21 has a new contemporary feel that is easy to read and navigate. The layout has also been re-organised to further enhance readability. Some of the many changes to content in the 21st edition include:

* The addition of new medicines in all relevant sections.
* A new 'OTC Counselling guides' section.
* The addition of new extemporaneous formulae.
* More relevant information is provided in the Clinical monographs section; including Hepatic and renal impairment data.
* A new style for clinical monographs and complementary medicines monographs with improved consistency of terms/information between sections.
* Content has been re-organised and restructured to enhance flow and readability.
* New products have been added to the updated wound management section.

In keeping with the APF's design as the everyday guide to pharmacy practice, this edition provides valuable information for students and pharmacists in all settings, be they in community, hospital or academia.

APF21 is available as a book and CD-ROM package. To order your copy of the new fully reviewed and revised APF21 contact the PSA BookZone at www, or phone Ray or Ash on 02 6283 4783 during business hours.


A report in today’s Sydney Morning Herald newspaper claiming pharmacists do not live up to their claims of being caring professionals is without substance and totally ignores the reality of pharmacy practice in the Australian community.

The President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, Warwick Plunkett, said that the caring reputation pharmacists enjoyed in the community had been earned by the profession’s commitment and dedication to the communities that pharmacists served.

“The caring nature of pharmacists is backed up by consumers themselves who have over the past 20 years consistently rated pharmacists among the top professions in the annual Morgan poll,” Mr Plunkett said.

“The reputation pharmacists have as a caring profession has been earned over many years of service to the community. It is not a claim pharmacy makes . . . it is an honour given to the profession by the Australian public.”

Mr Plunkett said the reaction by community pharmacists in the recent Victorian bushfires and Queensland floods was a good example of the caring nature of the profession.

“The pharmacists in the affected areas immediately set about ensuring people in need received advice and medications and that those who had lost their prescriptions and medications in the disasters were given emergency supplies,” Mr Plunkett said.

“The community pharmacists in these areas were able to meet all the demands placed on them. Extra supplies were organised and in Queensland arrangements were made to have emergency medications sent by helicopter to people who were trapped by the floods.

“In Victoria, the pharmacies met the needs of people, even to the extent of bottle-feeding training for nursing mothers who, because of their trauma, found they could not produce milk.”

Mr Plunkett said the Australian public were the best judges of whether the reputation of pharmacists as a caring profession was justified and the public consistently reaffirmed this in the Morgan polls.

“Every day there are examples in this country of how pharmacists go out of their way to care for the communities in which they serve. This is recognised in the support and loyalty of customers who rate their local pharmacists so highly,” Mr Plunkett said.


The need for pharmacists to be part of Project Stop was highlighted on Channel 7’s Sunday Tonight program last night, 1 March 2009, which dealt with pseudoephedrine and its use in making ‘ice’.

During the program, the producers referred to Project Stop as being the pharmacy profession's tool in the war against the illicit conversion of pseudoephedrine-based products into 'ice'.

The producers said they visited a number of Western Sydney pharmacies where they purchased pseudoephedrine-based products. At many, but not all, of the pharmacies visited their ID was checked and details taken but they were not challenged when they visited the next pharmacy as expected under Project Stop.

The President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, Warwick Plunkett, said Project Stop was the best vehicle available to pharmacy to stop the illegal diversion of pseudoephedrine-based projects into ‘ice’.

“What is not known is whether the pharmacies visited by the television crew were actually part of Project Stop, and with NSW having the lowest uptake of the scheme in Australia at just under 50 per cent, the likelihood of the pharmacies not being part of the program are high,” Mr Plunkett said.

“It is essential that these products remain available for patients with therapeutic needs and pharmacy must make every effort to ensure the robustness of processes designed to protect the availability of such medications for genuine needs.”

Mr Plunkett urged pharmacies that are not part of Project Stop to immediately register with the program in order to help reduce the availability of illicit drugs in the Australian community.

“The strength of Project Stop lies in its full uptake by pharmacies and until that occurs it cannot operate to its fullest efficiency in protecting the Australian community from the horrors that result from this illegal diversion of pseudoephedrine-based products,” Mr Plunkett said.

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