PSA Media Releases – Four Releases this Week

May 8, 2015
Medicines labels help to minimise risk

A significant number of medicines have the potential to pose a health and safety risk as a result of unintended exposure when people other than the patient – such as carers, family members or healthcare professionals – handle the medicine.

To help protect people from such exposure, the latest edition of the Australian Pharmaceutical Formulary and Handbook (APF23) contains a list of hazardous medicines that are:

  • cytotoxic
  • designated as pregnancy category X or D reported to pose a risk to patients or carers through inappropriate handling.

APF23 recommends such medicines be identified as hazardous though the use of a Cautionary Advisory Label (CAL) which reads Special handling and disposal required – ask your pharmacist. 

Chair of the APF23 Editorial Board, Emeritus Professor Lloyd Sansom, said the unintended exposure to a hazardous medicine during preparation and administration could occur through skin contact, ingestion or inhalation and some people, such as pregnant women, may be at greater risk from unintended exposure than others.
“Some hazardous medicines may not pose a significant risk if they are administered to patients intact, (that is via coated tablets, capsules), but the risk can be increased if these formulations are modified (e.g. cutting, crushing, or opening capsules), or with long-term, low-level exposure.” he said.
Oral products of hazardous medicines should be swallowed whole where possible, and should not be removed from their original packaging for transfer into a dose-administration aid. Standard operating procedures should be developed by institutions to minimise risk.
 “APF23 recommends patients and their carers are made aware of the risks of hazardous medicines and the precautions that can be used to minimise risk of exposure, including the use of gloves, face masks and non-permeable gowns,” Professor Sansom said.
“There is limited data available on exposure limits for individual medicines identified as being hazardous. The APF provides general guidance, but this may not be applicable to all possible scenarios encountered in practice. Pharmacists are advised to conduct their own risk assessment to determine the appropriateness of labelling and handling requirements in specific circumstances.
“Cautionary advisory labels are an important counselling tool for pharmacists.”

For more information regarding the use of CALs email or to order APF23 go to


6 May 201
Pharmacists welcome Vic Govt budget commitments

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia has welcomed Victorian Government funding initiatives to improve access to pharmacist services and to progress the implementation of real time reporting to help reduce inappropriate use of some medicines.

In the Budget announced last night, the Victorian Government committed $28.7 million for 15 metropolitan and five rural 24-hour, seven-day-a-week pharmacies; $300,000 for planning and development of a real time prescription monitoring system; and a $117.8 million increase in mental health funding.
Acting Victorian Branch President of the PSA, Ben Marchant, said the funding would increase delivery of pharmacist services to Victorian consumers and help to improve health outcomes.
“The commitment to progressing real time prescription reporting aligns with PSA calls in its recent policy paper, Minimising harm from the inappropriate use of over the counter analgesics, to implement such a system,” Mr Marchant said.
“PSA supports real-time recording and reporting for codeine and the Victorian Government move is an important step in managing and identifying possible inappropriate use of some medicines, while also focussing on the continued Quality Use of Medicines.”
Mr Marchant said PSA had experience and expertise in developing after-hours pharmacy services and looked forward to working with the Government to help develop and implement these services.
“The 24/7 pharmacy model increases patient access to vital services while also reducing pressure on doctors and hospital services,” Mr Marchant said.
“They recognise the changing needs of many people who cannot readily access a pharmacy during regular opening hours. ThePSA has experience in implementing after-hours pharmacy services and looks forward to sharing this experience with the Victorian Government.
“The increased spending on mental health is particularly welcome and is something PSA has long advocated for. The pharmacist is more often than not the first healthcare professional a person with mental illness may see, and so our role is fundamental to their wellbeing.
“As detailed in the recent National Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services report by the Mental Health Commission (MHC), there is a strong role for pharmacists in assisting people with mental illness. The PSA has been involved in developing these roles – we anticipate seeing this role further integrated into the service mix for people with mental illness and will be seeking talks with the Government to help move this forward.”
Mr Marchant said the Victorian Government had also committed $3.4 million to the coordinated public eye health program, The Vision Initiative, of which PSA was a major partner.


May 6, 2015
PSA and Australasian Sleep Association working together to improve sleep health outcomes

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia and the Australasian Sleep Association (ASA) have entered into a memorandum of understanding to support pharmacist education in sleep health and sleep science.

The purpose of the MOU is to establish a framework for commitment and cooperation between the PSA and ASA to underpin this education.
National President of PSA, Grant Kardachi, said this in turn would strengthen both organisations’ advocacy in order to achieve mutually agreed objectives to enhance patient outcomes.

The objectives of the MOU are to:

  • develop and foster a strategic alliance that recognises, supports and promotes the professional role of pharmacists in the delivery of sleep health services as part of the primary health care team to improve patient outcomes
  • promote joint initiatives between the PSA and ASA, consistent with the vision of the two organisations
  • develop, promote and deliver a co-branded sleep training program focused initially on best practice CPAP Delivery for pharmacists across Australia
  • promote collaborative research and exchange of information on specific mutually agreed issues.

“We are excited to announce that in collaboration and with input from relevant stakeholders, practice guidelines have been developed for the provision of sleep apnoea services within pharmacy and these will be launched at the PSA15 conference in July,” Mr Kardachi said.
“In addition joint education modules are under development for release later this year and these will further enhance the role of pharmacists in this area. Moderate-to-severe sleep apnoea, if left untreated, can lead to health problems such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, strokes, diabetes, and depression. Untreated sleep apnoea, in addition to being a health risk, is a safety risk for many people including long-distance drivers.
“Pharmacies are frequented by consumers due to easy access and convenience; and pharmacists and pharmacy staff who are educated and trained in this area are well placed to provide sleep apnoea services.” 
ASA President Nick Antic said he was delighted with the partnership.

“We are very keen to help deliver best practice sleep care through pharmacies in Australia, and delighted the PSA shares the same vision. The partnership with the PSA will help us work together to achieve these aims,” he said.
“The two organisations are currently developing Guidelines for CPAP Delivery in Pharmacies and in time we hope to address broader sleep health issues including best practice insomnia management. The two organisations are running a short course in Melbourne in October just prior to the Australasian Sleep Association Annual Scientific meeting to help further develop skills in CPAP delivery in pharmacies.”


May 4, 2015
Professional service delivery experts to share their secrets and tips at PSA15

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s new concept in pharmacy conferences, PSA15, will feature two award-winning pharmacists who will share with delegates their hands-on experiences in the growing area of health service delivery.

Canberra’s Samantha Kourtis will share her knowledge of wound management and Bathurst’s Paul Jones will relate how sleep apnoea services have gained prominence in his pharmacy.

Ms Kourtis is a community pharmacist and the managing partner of Capital Chemist Charnwood (ACT), which was named QCPP Pharmacy of the Year 2014. She was also named Telstra ACT Business Woman of the Year 2014.

During her session, Ms Kourtis will explain the steps she took when planning to offer her wound management service and describe what actually happens in her pharmacy when a patient requires wound management assistance and care. She will offer useful tips to pharmacists looking to set up a sustainable, financially viable and valued wound management service in their pharmacies and provide advice on overcoming the barriers to successful implementation.

Paul Jones, a community pharmacist since 1997, has been working mainly in rural and regional areas of NSW, but has also worked as a hospital pharmacist in Manchester, England.

He has lived and worked in Moree, Forbes, Parkes, Bathurst, Dubbo and Orange as a pharmacist and bought Moodie’s pharmacy in January 2003.
In 2014, Moodie’s Pharmacy was a top 10 finalist for QCPP Pharmacy of the Year and in 2015, it was the winner in the professional services division.

Since taking over the pharmacy in 2003, the team at Moodie’s Life Pharmacy has been committed to providing an environment that has a “can do attitude” and which fosters lifelong learning for all team members.

Mr Jones is passionate about meeting the needs of patients, particularly where access to health services is not accessible or timely and as a result, Moodie’s pharmacy has had a consultation room since 2005.
This was complemented by the addition of a consultation booth in 2007, and in 2012, two consultation rooms known as “Easy Clinic rooms” were added.

The Easy Clinic rooms has allowed the team to develop a range of services that are delivered to patients and these include weight loss, blood pressure monitoring, cholesterol testing, quit smoking, sleep apnoea, influenza vaccination, Medschecks and so on.

Both these speaker will provide delegates with invaluable information on professional service delivery and are not to be missed.
PSA15 – Leading pharmacy innovation – will be held at Sofitel Sydney Wentworth, 31 July – 2 August 2015. Further details and registration are available at

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