Dispensing advice


Nine out of ten pharmacists pass Board audits, new data reveals, while a warning is issued on dispensing process failures

Around 90% of pharmacists successfully passed audits by the Pharmacy Board of Australia in 2017, it has been revealed.

In its latest newsletter, the Board said “approximately 90% of pharmacists were found to be in full compliance with the registration standards”.

Of the remaining 10%:

  • 3.6% required consideration and decision by the Board or other relevant body
  • 3.3% changed to non-practising registration
  • 2.5% surrendered their registration, and
  • 0.6% failed to renew.

The Board said it has, where appropriate, “adopted an educational approach to conducting audits, seeking to balance the protection of the public with the use of appropriate regulatory force to manage those practitioners found to be non-compliant with the audited standards”.

Meanwhile, the Board also issued a reminder of the importance of having suitable dispensing processes in place in order to minimise the occurrence of dispensing errors.

“When errors are brought to the Board’s attention there is usually a demonstrated failure in process that could have been easily prevented through good dispensary processes that are routinely followed by staff,” the Board stated in its latest newsletter.

It reminded pharmacists that extra caution was required when dispensing look-alike or sound-alike medications, such as prednisolone and prednisone, or high-risk medicines such as warfarin which has multiple strengths and a narrow therapeutic index.

The dispensing of expired medications is another type of complaint commonly seen by the Board, it said.

“This can be prevented through having thorough checking processes when dispensing medicines, and having good stock management which includes periodical checking of expiry dates of stock, identification of near-dated stock, and the safe disposal of expired stock”.

Another common occurrence seen by the Board is failure to change the initial in the dispensing program to accurately reflect the dispensing pharmacist.

“Maintaining accurate records in the dispensing program of who has dispensed a medicine, and if different which pharmacist checked and issued the medicine (which can be reflected on the dispensing label), is vital in identifying the pharmacist(s) responsible for a dispensed medicine,” the Board said.

“Proprietors are reminded of their obligation to ensure that the business procedures, policies and protocols are developed, implemented and routinely followed for all services delivered at the pharmacy, including those relating to the dispensing of medicines”.

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