PSA Media Releases – Eight Current Releases

November 21, 2015
PSA Victorian Pharmacist of the Year

Ms Fiona Robertson, a community pharmacist at Swan Hill was presented with the Victorian Pharmacist Medal at the Victorian Pharmacists Dinner held on Friday evening, 20 November 2015.

Ms Robertson works full time at the Marraboor Pharmacy where she has been a partner since 1997.
A graduate of the Victorian College of Pharmacy in 1986, she was inspired from about age 10 by her maternal grandmother who was a pharmacist.

She has been actively involved in the mental health care of patients ensuring complete care by coordinating with mental health team and doctors. It is not unusual for her to pay for medicines or DAAs for some patients out of her own pocket to help remove their stresses.

The PSA Victorian Branch President Mr Benjamin Marchant said Ms Robertson’s dedication to her patients and the local community is second to none.

“This can be clearly demonstrated by her helping a young mother who is burdened by mental health issues by getting her children involved in the community through sport, taking them to Saturday games and look after the children for days at a time when the mother is ill.

“She would help patients with their tedious health care claim paperwork, and regularly visits patients home to delivery their medications and provides appropriate counselling after work.

“Ms Robertson is certainly one of the many unsung heroes in the pharmacy profession that deserves recognition for their dedication and hard work towards better health outcome for many,” Mr Marchant said.

The Victorian Pharmacist Medal recognises the excellent contribution of pharmacists at the grass root level in improving health outcome and the wellbeing of the general public.
Through this award the Victorian State Branch Committee seeks to tell the stories of the work of many quiet achievers within the pharmacy profession.

November 15, 201
Codeine rescheduling deferral consistent with PSA advocacy

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the deferral of a final decision on the possible rescheduling of codeine.

PSA National President, Joe Demarte said that the extra time allowed by the deferral must be used to prepare a full Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) on the proposal to reschedule codeine.

Mr Demarte said the Society in its submission had called for the proposal to be referred to the Office of Best Practice Regulation given the nature of the proposed changes and potential scope of impact.

“This is an opportunity to investigate what the impact of such a decision would be, on consumers and the broader health care sector.

“The deferral also provides the opportunity to investigate and implement real time recording and reporting which was also suggested by the PSA in its submission,” Mr Demarte said.

A final decision will not now be made before 23 June 2016 (the publication date of final decision outcomes of the March 2016 meeting of the Advisory Committee on Medicines Scheduling (ACMS)). Should the final decision require an implementation date, it will not be before 2017.

“The ACMS’s interim decision would have required consumers to obtain a prescription to access low-dose codeine analgesic, and cold and flu preparations but would not have solved the problem of inappropriate codeine use, given that only 40 per cent of all codeine-related deaths recently analysed were due to over-the-counter (OTC) codeine sales.

“PSA believes that Schedule 3 remains appropriate for codeine-containing analgesics in three day packs and strongly urges the implementation of a national real-time reporting and recording system.

“I have no doubt that a RIS will confirm what PSA has been saying about the impact rescheduling would have on the vast majority of consumers who have been using OTC codeine medicines appropriately.

“The changes would have had significant and costly implications for consumers seeking to access a large range of products for appropriate use and for GPs and hospital emergency departments dealing with the increased burden of consumers seeking prescriptions, and Governments faced with increased healthcare costs.

“PSA was never convinced of the merits of such a substantive regulatory change” Mr Demarte said.

“Given the problem of inappropriate use also surrounds prescription opioids, it was unlikely that rescheduling would have been effective in addressing the issue of codeine-related harm.”

Mr Demarte said PSA remains concerned about reports of harm associated with the inappropriate use of codeine-containing medicines, and will continue to advocate for a strong, collaborative and multi-faceted approach to assist consumers, and particularly those at risk of misuse, with the quality use of codeine-containing medicines.

“PSA has already developed and implemented resources to support pharmacists in providing solutions to consumers who are seeking to manage pain and addiction. It is imperative that these initiatives have adequate time for implementation to take effect”.

“However, alongside current practice support tools, implementation of a national real-time recording and reporting system is needed to provide holistic and comprehensive information to pharmacists and prescribers, to inform decisions regarding the appropriate supply of all medicines, including OTC products with the potential for misuse and abuse. Implementation of such a system must be given absolute priority.” Mr Demarte said.

November 18, 2015
PSA postgraduate pharmacy qualifications in leadership and management now offered to New Zealand pharmacists

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) along with the Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand (PSNZ) are excited to annouce a joint collaboration for exclusive access for New Zealand pharmacists to formal postgraduate education in leadership and management, tailored especially for pharmacy.

“PSA is pleased that these qualifications have been recognised by our colleagues across the Tasman as relevant and applicable to New Zealand pharmacy practice.  The delivery of these programmes through our online learning platform is ideal for PSNZ members to study at their own pace and without having to coordinate with timezone differences” says PSA National President Joe Demarte.

“We are delighted to be able to offer our member’s exclusive access to these PSA qualifications as there is currently nothing similar, designed exclusively for pharmacists available in New Zealand.  The learning offered by these qualifications is of a very high quality and is ideal for pharmacists with leadership or managerial responsibilities.  Our members have consistently asked for these types of courses to be made available” says Richard Townley, PSNZ Chief Executive.

PSA is a Registered Training Organisation with the Australian Skills Quality Authority and offers diploma-level qualifications tailored specifically for pharmacists and pharmacy practice.  The qualifications now available to PSNZ members are the Diploma of Leadership and Management, ideal for building skills and knowledge in team and business management and leadership, and the Graduate Diploma of Applied Pharmacy Practice which enables pharmacists to lead, innovate and advance their practice.

Visit for further information.

November 18, 2015
Overwhelming support for PSA from members, survey shows

A survey of Pharmaceutical Society of Australia members has shown that the vast majority of PSA members are satisfied or extremely satisfied with many aspects of their membership of PSA, in particular the provision of the Society’s high-quality continuing professional development programs and learning resources.

The survey, conducted in August and completed by more than 1,500 pharmacists, showed that 97 per cent of respondents rated the provision of CPD and learning resources as an important or critical function of PSA. In total, 91 per cent of members indicated they were satisfied or extremely satisfied with PSA’s delivery of CPD.

Chief Executive Officer of the PSA, Dr Lance Emerson, said the results demonstrated that PSA’s aim of delivering the highest-quality CPD in Australia was recognised by members. He said the survey also showed that 76% per cent of respondents believed membership of PSA was important or critical to being a successful pharmacist.  

“The survey was conducted to gain feedback from members on the range of strategic activities undertaken by PSA in order to better understand what is important to our members, how they think PSA performs and what they think about the various services provided,” Dr Emerson said.

“After CPD, 96 per cent of members indicated that keeping members informed and up to date with developments in the profession are important, and 89 per cent indicated that they are satisfied or extremely satisfied that PSA does this effectively.

“The third most important service mentioned by members was the development and maintenance of professional standards and guidelines with a 95 per cent rating.

“The survey also showed other important benefits of belonging to PSA are access to information about the profession and thePSA standards and guidelines.

“Again, members rate PSA’s performance of these function highly, with 89 per cent and 88 per of members respectively indicating that they are satisfied that PSA performs these functions effectively. Members are also relatively satisfied with the quality, relevance and frequency of PSA communications.”

In highlighting the positive survey results, Dr Emerson pointed out that more could always be done to improve PSA’s member offer.

“We will always strive to constantly review and improve services for members to deliver the highest-quality education in Australia, keep them informed and maintain our role in standards and guidelines setting,” he said.

PSA members strongly encouraged PSA to do more about issues they are most concerned about, stating that inadequate remuneration, increasing competition from discounters and oversupply of qualified pharmacy professionals were very important to them.

“The PSA Board and management are listening to PSA members concerns and doing something about them. We are already addressing some of these areas through our Health Destination Pharmacy, career pathways and pharmacists in GP clinics programs. Following this survey we will further develop opportunities for members to expand their remuneration and career options – stay tuned for some announcements in the near future,” Dr Emerson said.

November 16, 2015
Scarlet fever re-emergence a warning on antimicrobial resistance

The re-emergence of scarlet fever in Asia and parts of the UK provides a timely reminder at the start of Antibiotic Awareness Week (16-22 November) that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is real and happening now.

An international study published in Scientific Reports and led by University of Queensland researchers has tracked the re-emergence of scarlet fever, a childhood disease, which had virtually disappeared over the past 100 years.1

Reports suggest that over the past five years there have been more than 5,000 cases in Hong Kong (a 10-fold increase) and more than 100,000 cases in China. Close to 15,000 cases have been reported in England in the past year.2

The President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA), Joe Demarte, said these findings and reports reinforced the importance of the Society’s efforts through the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) for pharmacists globally to drive antibiotic stewardship across all sectors of pharmacy.

“These scarlet fever outbreaks confirm that bacterial evolution is ongoing. Researchers studied the genomes from the Hong Kong and China scarlet fever outbreak strains. They found that these strains carried modified genetic elements including the expression of a new super antigen and resistance to tetracycline, erythromycin and clindamycin which are medicines commonly used in primary healthcare.

“Antimicrobial resistance poses a great threat to the health of people no matter where they live, and this includes Australia,” Mr Demarte said.

“Earlier this year the PSA partnered with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society to present a submission on antimicrobial resistance to the FIP.
“Our submission was well received and as a result global awareness of antibiotic resistance was included on the agenda for the annual FIP Congress in Dusseldorf in October. This in turn resulted in an international discussion paper on AMR which will be presented to the World Health Organization.”
Mr Demarte said pharmacists can help combat the spread of antimicrobial resistance locally and internationally by:

* promoting education about AMR and infection;

* lobbying governments to establish national strategies, including community based stewardship of AMR;

* supporting the active preservation of existing antibiotics through optimising use and appropriate prescribing, and;

* encouraging the development of new antibiotics both nationally and internationally.


1.     Ben Zakour NL, Davies MR, You Y, et al. Transfer of scarlet fever-associated elements into the group A Streptococcus M1T1 clone. Sci Rep 2015;5:15877. DOI:10.1038/srep15877. At:

2.     Public Health England. Group A streptococcal infections: sixth update on seasonal activity, 2014/15. Health Protection Report 9(23): Infection Report. 2015; Jul. At:

November 13, 2015
Advance Practice Pharmacists eligible for automatic elevation to Fellow of PSA (FPS)

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia has welcomed the results if the of the Credentialing of advanced practice pharmacists pilot program.

National President of the PSA, Joe Demarte, congratulated all the trial participants.

He said all PSA members who took part in the trial and were credentialed at the Advanced stage would be eligible to become Fellows of the Pharmaceutical Society and use the post nominals (FPS).

“This is a major step forward for the pharmacy profession and is the culmination of many years of hard work to create a career framework for pharmacists,’ Mr Demarte said.

“In the future PSA will recognise all members who become advance practice pharmacists by offering them the opportunity to become fellows of the society which enables the use of the FPS post nominal.”

The Australian Pharmacy Council (APC) has been undertaking the pilot which uses the Advanced Pharmacy Practice Framework (APPF) for Australia as a tool for evaluating practitioner performance and guiding development.

The pharmacists taking part in the pilot program demonstrated the impact of their practice through a portfolio of their training, achievements and experience.

The pilot resulted in 28 pharmacists being credentialed as Advanced stage 3.

November 12, 2015
PSA16 about leading pharmacy innovation

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s national conference, PSA16, will be held at Sydney’s most exciting new hotel and convention space – Four Points by Sheraton, Darling Harbour in July 2016.

The venue was announced at a function in Sydney today to launch PSA16.

At the launch, PSA National President Joe Demarte said that PSA16 will continue to lead pharmacy innovation, understanding that the future of the profession and the industry is in innovation, diversity and expanded and new models of practice.

“At PSA15 we redefined the framework and context of professional practice events. With PSA15 we set about leading pharmacy innovation and created a showcase event to inspire the profession with new directions and opportunities.

“It also created unparalleled engagement levels between industry partners and pharmacists to deliver quality use of medicines to consumers by empowering pharmacists to recommend products and services with confidence,” Mr Demarte said.

PSA Chief Executive Officer, Dr Lance Emerson, said that the PSA wanted to highlight that it has listened to the valuable feedback the industry provided from PSA15.

“You told us that the delegate engagement at PSA15 was like no other, with delegates interested in your products and services, to take back with them to their practice and help them make a difference to their patients.”

PSA16 will run from 29–31 July 2016 and will be held at Sydney’s most exciting new hotel and convention space – Four Points by Sheraton, Darling Harbour.

PSA NSW Branch Director and PSA16 Chairman, Steven Drew, said that the revitalised delegate engagement area at the Four Points will allow for the expected 1,000 delegates without compromising the level of intimacy which facilitates the delegate engagement.

“The PSA16 program design facilitates regular breaks for maximum interaction time with delegates, providing a fresh, focused and cost effective solution to promote your company and brands.”

The PSA16 program together with the revitalised delegate engagement area will:

1.         Enhance the latest in clinical education

2.         Engage and spark new direction in pharmacy, and

3.         Empower delegates to recommend your products and services with confidence

Thus creating better health outcomes for their patients and a more innovative and sustainable future for their practice.

November 11, 2015
PSA calls for pharmacists to be included in MBS items

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) has called for the Medical Benefits Scheme to be expanded to allow pharmacists to help improve consumer health outcomes and quality use of medicines.

In the PSA submission to the MBS Taskforce Review, the National President of the PSA, Joe Demarte said:
‘This is an opportunity to improve outcomes in the care of patients with chronic diseases and complex care needs by optimising the contribution of pharmacists in multidisciplinary care teams and primary health care settings – areas of the MBS which may be better utilised to reduce the impact of medication misadventure.’

PSA welcomes this review, alongside a number of other initiatives being progressed by the Minister, all of which seek to strengthen the focus on evidence-informed health policy, services and payment systems, to deliver better outcomes to consumers.

The PSA submission points to the Chronic Disease Management (CDM) Service as an example of a service funded through the MBS which represents high value care for patients with chronic disease and complex care needs. However, this service is currently underutilised due to the exclusion of pharmacists as eligible allied health practitioners.

“Pharmacists are currently the only allied health practitioners not eligible to provide allied health services through the CDM service. Given the evidence for a range of pharmacist services, and central role of medicines in the care and treatment of consumers with chronic disease, this just doesn’t make sense,” Mr Demarte said.

“All proposed changes in the PSA submission focus on fully utilising pharmacists’ knowledge, skills and accessibility and do not duplicate any existing services. All are for services that are well within a pharmacist’s current scope of practice,” Mr Demarte said.
Other changes that PSA proposed include:

  1. Establishing a Pharmacists in General Practice Incentive Payment (PGPIP), analogous to the Practice Nurse Incentive Payment (PNIP). PSA recognises that the PNIP is funded outside of the MBS, however, in the event that a PGPIP is implemented, pharmacists should be eligible to provide, where appropriate, the same services under the MBS as practice nurses.
  2. Expanding existing services remunerated through the MBS to enable rural and remote Australians to access pharmacists as primary health care providers, allow continuity of care and minimise hospitalisations.
  3. Extending the eligibility of MBS remunerated services for the provision of after-hours care to include pharmacists.

The full PSA submission is available at:

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