The week in review


For yet another week, vaccination was a key issue in pharmacy headlines; also making the news were pharmacists in emergency settings, and off-label use of doxylamine

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt expressed an interest in a Pharmacy Guild proposal which would see some community pharmacies (in areas with one or no GPs) fast-tracked into the COVID-19 vaccination rollout. And the National Cabinet met to work out issues with the rollout to date, recalibrating it; Secretary of the Department of Health Professor Brendan Murphy said that offering Pfizer for under-50s and AstraZeneca for over-50s was “a bit like how we have two flu vaccines”.

Monash University focused on how pharmacy students have been involved in the vaccine rollout. And we took a look at the latest adverse event update, following the confirmation that a 48-year-old NSW woman’s death following vaccination was likely linked to the jab.

Dr Debra Kennedy and Ron Batagol highlighted inconsistencies in the labelling of and patient information relating to doxylamine in managing nausea and vomiting in pregnancy; this article generated a lively discussion, and Ron Batagol’s update can be read here.

We found out how pharmacists are being utilised in emergency settings, with a Monash University initiative looking at the significant difference emergency medicine pharmacists can make when added to stroke call-out teams; and a Belfast City Hospital study showing that pharmacists are vital in ICU follow-up. Back in the community setting, another UK study looked at how community pharmacy interventions can help adults with asthma.

The TGA rejected the proposed downscheduling of budesonisde-formoterol (Symbicort), but told us that bilastine will go to S3 in some preparations.

We found out how shift work impacts workers. National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre researchers found problematic opioid use is often temporary. Researchers from the University of Sydney and ANU looked at burnout in pharmacists, thanks to the impact of COVID-19.

And Jenny Kirschner highlighted the issue of loneliness, which has had a spotlight shone on it thanks to the COVID-19 crisis.

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