PSA Media Releases – 1. Tasmanian Pharmacists First Flu Vaccinations 2. Medicinal Cannabis Important First Step

Pharmacists set to give first flu vaccinations in Tasmania
12 February 2016

The first pharmacists have undergone immunisation training in Tasmania to enable them to provide vaccinations for the coming flu season, Australia’s peak body for pharmacists the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) said today.

In a win for pharmacists and the community, the Tasmanian Government last week reformed health regulations to enable trained pharmacists to administer flu vaccines in approved sites across Tasmania.

PSA Tasmanian Branch President Rachel Dienaar said following an amendment to Poisons Regulations, the first group of pharmacists underwent training in Launceston today.

“The PSA’s training will ensure pharmacists in Tasmania will be ready to administer flu vaccinations in time for the 2016 flu season,” Ms Dienaar said.

With the 2015 flu season being one of the worst on record in Tasmania, Ms Dienaar said pressure would be eased on the local health system as pharmacists prepare to vaccinate.

Influenza had a significant impact on the state’s health system last year with 1434 notifications, Ms Dienaar said.

“This positive health outcome for Tasmania has occurred thanks to the support of State Health Minister Michael Ferguson and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia,” Ms Dienaar said.

“The real winner is the community – a recent Queensland immunisation trial showed 15 per cent of people vaccinated had never had a flu vaccination before and 40 per cent were walk-in patients, highlighting the appeal of easy access.”

Already 80 pharmacists in Tasmania have signed up for the PSA training.  Mr Ferguson is expected to attend a training session with pharmacists in Launceston tomorrow.

The PSA training courses, which have already been run in Victoria, SA, WA, NSW and Queensland, are based on the training used internationally by more than 150,000 pharmacists and in the highly successful Queensland Pharmacy Immunisation Pilot.

The PSA’s vaccination training program comprises two parts: online pre-reading, and face-to-face workshops, which have been held across the country.

Medicinal cannabis Bill an important first step
10 February 2016

A Bill to establish a national licensing and compliance scheme for medicinal cannabis has been welcomed by the peak pharmacists’ organisation, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA), as an important first step to allow for the safe and appropriate therapeutic use of cannabis.

Health Minister Sussan Ley introduced the Narcotic Drugs Amendment Bill 2016 to develop a single, nationally-consistent compliance scheme to allow the controlled cultivation of cannabis and manufacture and distribution of cannabis products for medicinal or scientific purposes.

PSA National President Joe Demarte said consistent with Australia’s National Medicines Policy, the pharmacy profession supported timely access to medicines for all Australians.

“Pharmacists have an important role in Australia advocating for and supporting consumers and carers to access appropriate medicines,” Mr Demarte said.

As stated in PSA’s position statement Therapeutic use of cannabis, the PSA supports the development of an appropriate regulatory framework to allow formal research to be undertaken to investigate the potential benefits of therapeutic use of cannabis.

“We also recommend that the Bill should support clinical trials currently underway in some States,” Mr Demarte said.

In its position paper, the PSA noted that in some medical conditions, cannabis had provided positive outcomes to individuals who may not have experienced comparable therapeutic benefits from other clinically proven medicines or treatment protocols.

“In order to make cannabis available for therapeutic use, it’s in the interests of the public and patients to have cannabis-based products appropriately regulated to guarantee product quality and safety,” the PSA’s paper said.

In the paper, PSA supported the outcomes of research into the therapeutic use of cannabis to be made widely available so that the evidence base in Australia could be established and enhanced.

“Where under the treatment of a medical practitioner it is established that the potential therapeutic benefits outweigh the risks, PSA supports the use of medicinal cannabis with appropriate medical oversight and ongoing monitoring of outcomes,” the paper said.

The PSA has also called for investment in pharmacist education in relation to medicinal cannabis.


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