Most influential people in pharmacy: Debbie Rigby


We speak to the next person in our 14 most influential people in pharmacy campaign, as voted by you

Debbie Rigby
Consultant clinical pharmacist
General practice pharmacist, Garden City Medical Practice
Director, NPS MedicineWise
Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Pharmacy, University of Queensland
Associate Clinical Professor, School of Clinical Sciences, Queensland University of Technology

Long-time pharmacist Debbie Rigby believes her strength is in being perceived as an independent and pragmatic voice for pharmacists by those within the profession, as well as the wider health system.

“My role as director of NPS MedicineWise is an example of that. NPS has a strong continued role to play in safe and quality use of medicine – I’m very proud of my role with them,” says Ms Rigby.

“I’m also on a lot of other committees, which allows me a voice in government policy as well as wider policy.

“I’ve got strong connections and respect from the medical profession, and they see me as that independent but also pragmatic voice of what pharmacists can do and should be doing in the care of patients.”

We need people with a vision and the courage and integrity … to sustain the role of pharmacists in the healthcare system.

Ms Rigby, who also came first in AJP’s 10 Women of Influence campaign in 2016, says her career highlight outside of her 11 years with NPS MedicineWise includes her role across medication reviews, HMRs and RMMRs and more recently, pharmacists in general practice.

Debbie Rigby FPS receives the PSA QLD Gold Medal Award from Queensland Branch President Jacqueline Meyer
Debbie Rigby FPS receives the PSA QLD Gold Medal Award from Queensland Branch President Jacqueline Meyer

“I’ve been involved at every level of all of those programs, from research to policy and guidelines, education, as well as actually doing them,” she says.

“To me that’s an exciting role for pharmacists and there has always been a lot of frustrations and barriers, but I feel very privileged to have been part of the whole implementation and development of those services.”

Ms Rigby also works hard to develop relationships with younger pharmacists, to support and mentor them, which she “really enjoys”.

There are lots of opportunities for pharmacists at the moment, she adds.

“Obviously the 7CPA negotiations will be critical where the direction of a lot of pharmacy goes over the next decade,” says Ms Rigby, praising PSA for doing a “great job” in advocacy for funding and roles for pharmacists including practising to full scope and looking at alternate funding mechanisms such as Medicare.

However she adds: “I still get a sense that many pharmacists are trying to hold onto the past, and just want to accept the status quo.

“We do need strong leadership to sustain the role of pharmacists in the healthcare system. We need people with a vision and the courage and integrity to make that happen, often in the face of opposition from outside and inside the profession.”

See the full list of the 14 most influential people in pharmacy here

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