Happy World Pharmacists Day!

What’s happening around the country for World Pharmacists Day? We take a look at what the stakeholders and pharmacists on the ground are getting up to…

Pharmacy Guild of Australia: National president of the Pharmacy Guild George Tambassis said that the organisation was asking all Australians to join it in saluting local pharmacy heroes.

World Pharmacists Day this year highlights how “tough and gruelling” 2020 has been for the profession, the Guild says.

“Pharmacists are Australia’s most accessible health professionals, and their contribution to our world class health system is worthy of celebration and thanks – not just on this day, but every day,” Mr Tambassis said.

“Local community pharmacies and their staff have been there for people through this tough year. I encourage everyone to drop into their pharmacy today and let the pharmacists and staff know how much you appreciate and value everything they do.”

Health Minister Greg Hunt: In announcing a raft of pharmacy-related measures this week, Mr Hunt paid tribute to member of the profession.

“On World Pharmacists Day, our Government acknowledges the outstanding work of Australia’s pharmacists and pharmacy staff in communities across the nation,” he said. 

“Community pharmacies have kept their doors open to support Australians throughout some of the most challenging times in our recent history, including bushfires, floods, drought and a global pandemic.”

He announced an investment of $25 million through the Medical Research Future Fund for research to improve the safe use of medicines and medicines intervention by pharmacists.

He also said that the existing medicines related COVID-19 measures, including the Home Medicines Delivery Service and Continued Dispensing emergency arrangements will also continue for a further six months in line with other COVID-19 health measures.

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia: PSA National President Associate Professor Chris Freeman said 2020 has been an extraordinary year, one where pharmacists have gone above and beyond to serve the community under significant stress.

“Pharmacists have remained accessible, approachable and have put themselves in harm’s way to ensure that patients have had the care they need, when they need it,” he said.

“Our profession is the bedrock of many parts of the health system, and as an essential service has been called upon by governments and the public to protect the most vulnerable in our society and to continue to care for patients.”

“Now is the time for the shackles to be taken off and for government to thank pharmacists for the extraordinary role they have played in addressing the challenges of COVID-19,” he said.

“Pharmacists practising to full scope and being remunerated appropriately for not only the sacrifices made but expert skills and training must be the acknowledgement and clear support from governments and policy makers must ensure there is the reward for the incredible effort.

“While today is a time for us to celebrate our profession and reflect on the past twelve months, it is also an opportunity for us to look forward to the next year and beyond.”

Ramsay Health: Ramsay Pharmacy General Manager Michelle Lynch highlighted the importance of pharmacists in avoiding medicine misadventures, which are responsible for more than 250,000 hospitalisations a year.

Ramsay said that on World Pharmacists Day it wants to highlight the important role that pharmacists play in being that last line of defence in the community and in a hospital setting.

“Pharmacists are not just there to dispense medication; they ensure patients have a full understanding of the correct dosage they should take and can discuss any potentially dangerous drug interactions,” Ms Lynch said.

Ramsay said that it conducted more than 26,000 medicine interventions a year, helping to identify a range of issues and prevent minor to potentially fatal problems relating to medication use.


SHPA: The Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia used World Pharmacists’ Day to welcome the extension of measures supporting the safe supply of PBS medicines and also to join a global “blackout” in memory of pharmacists lost in the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Peter Fowler says SHPA strongly supports the extension, which supports the safe supply of medicines for the most vulnerable and high-risk hospital patients.

“Hospital pharmacists have taken the lead and restructured their clinical services, operations and departments to allow the supply of PBS medicines off digital image and copies of prescriptions, reducing the risk of potential exposure to COVID-19 in healthcare facilities,” he said.

“This is critical to the safety of vulnerable Australians – such as post-transplant or older patients, and those receiving treatment for cancer and a high chronic disease burden – as well as the safety of health professionals themselves.”

Chief Executive Kristin Michaels said World Pharmacists Day carries a very different tone in 2020.

“In honour of pharmacists from around the world who have died from COVID-19 and in partnership with the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), SHPA will ‘black out’ out all social media channels at 11.00am AEST.

“On this day it is important we stand in solidarity with the global profession, while also recognising the outstanding achievements of hospital pharmacists across Australia.”


Shadow Health Minister Chris Bowen: On this World Pharmacists Day, the Shadow Minister for Health, Chris Bowen, in a video message thanked pharmacists and pharmacy staff for everything they do for the community.

“If anything good comes out of COVID-19 it is that it increases the understanding and importance of public health and community pharmacy as we come through the crisis and out stronger on the other side,” Mr Bowen said.


TerryWhite Chemmart: TWC said that as pharmacists around the world celebrate their day, the banner group is preparing for a substantial increase in demand for its vaccination services in the year ahead with a potential COVID-19 vaccine, in addition to a growing need for influenza, pPertussis and MMR vaccinations.

TWC Chief Pharmacist Brenton Hart said the network have been exemplary in its approach to its vaccination service in the last 12-24 months and will continue to be an invaluable resource for driving unprecedented public vaccination participation.

“We are already in an incredibly strong position to make a huge impact on the lives of Australians next year if and when a COVID vaccine is rolled out.

“We welcome the comments from the Prime Minister, that the COVID-19 vaccinations will be free to the public, and we look forward to understanding the role that pharmacists will play in supporting what will be the one of the most essential public health services in recent times,” said Mr Hart.

Pharmacy Guild Queensland: The Queensland branch of the Guild is encouraging Australians to tag their local community pharmacy on social media and thank them for their support.

Australians are invited to visit the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Queensland Branch’s, Facebook page and share the pinned video post.

“This year’s World Pharmacists Day theme is ‘transforming global health’ and we’re taking the opportunity to celebrate the many ways that community pharmacists contribute to a world where everyone has access to safe and convenient primary health care,” said branch president Trent Twomey.

“As we know2020has been challenging but the immense work and extraordinary dedication that local community pharmacies, pharmacists and their staff have shown is remarkable. They have truly been therewith Australians every step of the way and continued to stay open and serve on the coronavirus pandemic frontline.”


New Zealand Ministry of Health: Across the Tasman, New Zealand’s Ministry of Health thanked pharmacists, technicians and their teams for the work they do.

“Pharmacists are trusted and highly skilled health professionals and their work is integral to the delivery of a wide range of treatment and care,” says Andi Shirtcliffe, Clinical Chief Advisor Pharmacy. “The global COVID-19 pandemic has impacted on the lives of people across the world, and it has brought the value of a cohesive healthcare system to the fore,” says Andi.

“Our health system is made up of passionate individuals such as pharmacists and the teams they work with. These teams have stepped up to this unprecedented global challenge.

“New Zealand’s pharmacists, technicians and their teams have gone above and beyond to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and care for those impacted by it, as well as continuing to cater to the ongoing daily medicines related needs of New Zealanders.

“The pharmacy sector has undertaken significant practice change, including physical changes to practice layout and patient flow, long hours, split shifts and the incorporation of routine PPE use into practice to ensure that both the profession, their staff and the public remain safe and well.

“This is a marathon not a sprint and we understand that for pharmacists and other New Zealanders the disruption and uncertainty of this global pandemic can be hard. We would like to thank pharmacists for everything they and their teams have done and continue to do on behalf of the people of Aotearoa.”


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