PSA Media Releases – 1. New RUM Project Manager 2. Strong Support for Practice Rx

August 28, 2015
PSA welcomes new Project Manager for RUM 

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia has welcomed the appointment of Victorian pharmacist Toni Riley as Project Manager of theNational Return and Disposal of Unwanted Medicines Limited (The RUM Project).

Ms Riley will take over as the new Project Manager from September 1, 2015, replacing Simon Appel OAM who has served as the Project Manager since the inception of the RUM program in 1998.

National President of the PSA, Joe Demarte, congratulated Ms Riley on her appointment and said she was well-placed to continue the work initiated by Mr Appel.

Mr Demarte congratulated Mr Appel on his achievement is getting the RUM project underway to the extent that today it organises the safe and environmentally friendly disposal of some 700 tonnes of medicines each year.

Mr Appel said that having just completed successful negotiations with the Government for a new three-year funding agreement for RUM, he had decided that it was the perfect time for him to retire and enjoy his other life interests.

The RUM Project operates out of virtually every community pharmacy across Australia and is responsible for the collection and disposal of returned medicines.

An audit last year reported that every year in Australia, some 500 tonnes of medicines find their way into landfill and waterways.

“This can result in the development of cumulative long-term exposure of communities to trace amounts of drugs which is of particular concern to vulnerable people in our society,” Mr Demarte said.

“The audit pointed out also that the unsafe disposal of antimicrobials such as antibiotics, antivirals and antifungals, may also contribute to the development of antimicrobial resistance. 

“The RUM Project is a very positive step in addressing these issues and concerns.

“PSA has long been a strong supporter of the RUM Project and we look forward to working with Ms Riley to ensure its ongoing success,” Mr Demarte said.


August 28, 2015
Strong support for PSA model for integration of pharmacists into GP clinics

Around 100 pharmacists, GPs, researchers and industry participants attended the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s Pharmacists in General Practice Forum held in Sydney this week.

The forum was designed to inform and help equip pharmacists and GPs who are interested in furthering their practice through working in GP practices.

Keynote speaker pharmacist Ravi Sharma – a UK expert in the integration of pharmacists in general practice –  described the UK experience and the associated benefits of this model, as well funding mechanisms and the political journey involved in seeing the practice pharmacist model acknowledged.

Mr Sharma said pharmacists were able to contribute a “massive amount” in the GP setting.

“This is a setting where we are able to provide our skills and expertise, particularly around the use of medicines,” he said.

“As we go forward extending our role in the GP setting and start working collaboratively with other health professionals, particularly GPs and nurses, we are helping develop person-centre care.

“This holistic approach to patient care better promotes the best use of medicines and better management of patients’ long-term complex conditions.”

Mr Sharma said it was important that existing community pharmacy services were not duplicated in the GP clinic.

“We have a unique opportunity in GP clinics to utilise the great services that community pharmacies offer on a day-to-day basis and to not only to support general practice but also to support the general public.

“It’s important that we integrate care a lot better into the primary care setting so that by working together with community pharmacy teams we are able to deliver the best possible form of care to our patients.”

Mr Sharma said practice pharmacists also need to engage with community pharmacies to access additional support and services.

This was important as community pharmacies had programs which supported the work of practice pharmacists.

Queensland-based practice pharmacist Dr Chris Freeman said he has been integrated into a GP setting for more than six years and was “proud to acknowledge that the interventions that I have made have benefited the consumer on many levels from those which have resulted in potentially saving a life to those where the consumer is able to have a better quality of life.

“I also provide practice level services which indirectly benefit the consumer such as providing drug information and education for GPs as well as conducting medicine use evaluations to improve the quality of prescribing. It is heartening to receive letters of appreciation from consumers expressing their gratitude of my input into their care.”

The forum also examined current evidence and detailed the proposed funding model prepared by Deloitte Access Economics andresearch by Deloitte showing that for every $1 invested in the program, $1.56 could be generated in savings to the health system

An interactive panel session allowed for discussion and debate of the key enablers that will be needed to take this forward.

Other speakers included:

  • Dr Christopher Freeman: Clinical Pharmacist at Camp Hill Healthcare 
  • Dr Kean-Seng Lim: General Practitioner at Mt Druitt Medical Centre
  • Dr Brian Morton: AMACGP Chair
  • Ms Leanne Wells: CEO of the Consumer Health Forum
  • Dr Frank R Jones: President of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
  • Dr Neil Cottrell: Associate Professor: School of Pharmacy, University of Queensland
  • Dr Ian Williams: General Practitioner at Camp Hill Healthcare
  • Ms Laura Little: Clinical Pharmacist, Galambila Aboriginal Health Service
  • Ms Radhika Somasundaram: Clinical Pharmacist, Mt Druitt Medical Centre
  • Mr Warwick Hough: Director – General Practice, Legal Services and Workplace Policy, AMA
  • Mr Joe Demarte: National President: Pharmaceutical Society of Australia

Pharmacists seeking more information should go to the PSA website at, to register their interest to be kept up to date on this area of practice, email:


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