Labelling, counselling improvements


a line of pill bottles

As part of its commitment to the safe and quality use of medicines, the PSA recently convened meetings to discuss improvements in the labelling and counselling for antibiotics and opioids by pharmacists

Attended by medical, government, pharmacy and consumer stakeholders, and chaired by Emeritus Professor Lloyd Sansom AO, the meetings focused on reviewing cautionary advisory labels (CALs) and their associated advice.

CALs are a convenient and effective way for pharmacists to reinforce verbal communication with patients about the safe and effective use and storage of medicines, the PSA says.

PSA National President Dr Chris Freeman says the meetings were important in continuing to address the issues of antimicrobial resistance and opioid-related harm.

“Actions three and five of our Pharmacists in 2023 report, look at embedding pharmacists within healthcare teams to improve medicine-related decision making; and advancing pharmacist stewardship of medicine management to improve outcomes at transition of care,” he says.

“Through these measures pharmacists will be empowered to not only play a greater role in addressing antimicrobial resistance and opioid-related harm, but improving the overall safe and quality use of medicines in Australia’s healthcare system.

“This builds on PSA’s position on antibiotics as shown through our Choosing Wisely recommendation 3 – do not dispense a repeat prescription for an antibiotic without first clarifying clinical appropriateness.”

The Australian Pharmaceutical Formulary and Handbook (APF), published by PSA, includes wording for a range of standard CALs and provides guidance on their use for specific medicines.

By providing CALs and other written information alongside their professional advice, pharmacists can ensure patients are fully aware of why they are taking a medicine, understand how to take their medicine safely, and have the opportunity to ask questions.

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