ASMI Media Releases – 1. Self Care Drives Pharmacy Growth 2. Calcium reduces osteoporosis risk

Increasing consumer self care is a key driver of pharmacy growth
12 March 2015 –

Increasing consumer self care is a key driver of pharmacy growth, said Mark Sargent, President of the Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI), at APP 2015.

“More down-scheduling from prescription (Rx) to over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and removal of S3 consumer communication restrictions could increase opportunities for consumer self care and fuel pharmacy growth,” said Mr Sargent.

“There is a high level of acceptance of non-prescription medicines by consumers and significant pharmacy growth potential from increasingly health literate, time-poor consumers who prefer purchasing their medicines at a pharmacy rather than consulting their GP for minor conditions.

“This is borne out by recent research, which reveals that non-prescription medicines are taken regularly by one in nine consumers, with 80 per cent of adults and 40 per cent of children using them monthly. 1

“However, the Federal Government’s overly risk averse approach to scheduling policy for low risk OTC medicines is placing Australia behind the rest of the world on Rx to OTC switch and reducing consumer access to medicines.

 “One of ASMI’s top priorities is to pursue reforms in this area.
We need a ‘Switch Task Force’, comprising a broad cross section of stakeholders, to reignite the switch agenda in Australia and drive policy changes.

“Reforms proposed by ASMI include development of scheduling policy; implementation of a supporting regulatory framework, and streamlining of processes.

 “We also need to identify candidates for future switches through collaboration with consumers, pharmacists, GPs, industry and Federal and State governments.

“ASMI advocates for the removal of restrictions on the advertising of S3 medicines and, along with the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, has proposed a new model of consumer communication that emphasises the educative role of the pharmacist.

“The model involves three elements: Information about the disease or condition, branded product information, and the key element – emphasising the role of the pharmacist in determining whether the medicine is appropriate for a particular consumer and/or condition.

 “The wider availability of low risk, proven and affordable medicines has the potential to make a positive impact on individual and public health by providing consumers with easier, more convenient and faster access to therapeutic products to treat illness and maintain health.

“Increasing consumer access to medicines through regulatory reform will drive pharmacy growth,” he added.

References 1. Macquarie University. OTC Value Study. March 2014.


Calcium supplements can reduce risk of osteoporosis when dietary intake is inadequate
10 March 2015 –

The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) said that calcium supplements have a role in preventing osteoporosis when dietary intake is inadequate.

This was in response to the publication of data from the Australian Health Survey, which showed that across all age groups, only one in four females and one in two males met their dietary calcium requirements.

Only about 10 per cent of women in the high risk group for osteoporosis – those over 50 years of age – had adequate calcium intake from their diet. 1

Steve Scarff, ASMI Director of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs, said:
“While a balanced diet should provide calcium needs, calcium supplements can bridge the gap when dietary intake is insufficient to meet nutritional requirements. Calcium supplements play a particularly important role in preventing osteoporosis and osteoporosis-attributed bone fractures 2,3,4,5,6,7 .

The Therapeutic Guidelines: Endocrinology state:
 “Calcium supplementation can reduce the rate of bone loss.
Supplementation may also reduce fracture rates.
The benefit is most marked in older women with a low dietary calcium intake but without previous fragility fractures.
For fracture benefit plasma vitamin D concentration needs to be optimised as well as calcium.” 8

A recent study found that the relative risk reduction of an osteoporosis-attributed fracture event given the use of calcium and vitamin D at preventive intake levels was 19.7%.
The researchers, from Frost and Sullivan, reviewed seven randomised controlled studies that tested for a cause and effect relationship between utilisation of calcium and vitamin D supplements and osteoporosis-attributed bone fractures 9 .

 “Osteoporosis is one of Australia’s most debilitating and costly health problems, with approximately 1.2 million Australians affected.
Because fracture risk increases with age, postmenopausal women and older individuals need to maintain good bone health through appropriate levels of physical activity and adequate calcium intake,” explained Mr Scarff.

“Australians who are unsure about their calcium intake are encouraged to talk to a healthcare professional, who can provide advice on ways to monitor and if needed, increase calcium levels,” he added.


1. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian Health Survey 2011-2013.

2. Chapuy, MC., Arlot, ME., Duboeuf, F., Brun, J., Crouzet, B., Arnaud, S., et al., (1992). Vitamin D3 and calcium to prevent hip fractures in the elderly women. N Engl J Med. , 327(23):1637- 42.

3. Chapuy, MC., Pamphile, R., Paris, E., Kempf, C., Schlichting, M., Arnaud, S., et al., (2002). Combined calcium and vitamin D3 consumption in elderly women: confirmation of reversal of secondary hyperparathyroidism and hip fracture risk: the Decalyos II study. Osteoporos Int. , 13(3):257-64.

4. Dawson-Hughes, B., Harris, S., Krall, E., & Dallal, G. (1997). Effect of calcium and vitamin D consumption on bone density in men and women 65 years of age or older. N Engl J Med , 337(10):670-6.

5. Grant, A., Avenell, A., Campbell, M., McDonald, A., MacLennan, G., McPherson, G., et al., (2005). Oral vitamin D3 and calcium for secondary prevention of low-trauma fractures in elderly people (Randomised Evaluation of Calcium or vitamin D, RECORD Group): a randomised placebo-controlled trial. Lancet , 365(9471):1621-8.

6. Jackson RD et al., (2006). Women’s Health Initiative Investigators: Calcium plus vitamin D consumption and the prevents osteoporotic fractures in elderly community dwelling residents: a pragmatic population-based 3-year intervention study. J Bone Miner Res , 19(3):370-8.

7. Porthouse, J., Cockayne, S., King, C., Saxon, L., Steele, E., Aspray, T., et al., (2005). Randomised controlled trial of calcium and consumption with cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) for prevention of fractures in primary care. BMJ , 330(7498):1003.

8. Endocrinology Expert Group. Therapeutic Guidelines: endocrinology. Version 5. Melbourne. Therapeutic Guidelines Limited; 2014.

9. Shanahan, C and Lorimier,R. Targeted Use of Complementary Medicines: Potential Health Outcomes and Cost Savings in Australia. Frost and Sullivan, October 2014.


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