The week in review

Bushfire smoke at Parliament House, Canberra. Image by Simon Troman.
Bushfire smoke at Parliament House, Canberra. Image by Simon Troman.

As Australia continues to be affected by fire, smoke and poor quality air, pharmacists have been on the ground helping out

Capital Chemist‘s Andrew Topp told of the tireless work of pharmacists and staff affected by fire on the South Coast of NSW. One group of researchers from Queensland University of Technology took a look at the role pharmacists could and should be playing when such disasters occur.

We heard from Sam Kourtis about the way pharmacists in Canberra have been helping patients deal with hazardous air quality due to bushfire smoke. Pharmacy Alliance launched a bushfire appeal. And the TGA let us know that salbutamol is not in shortage, and that it has made provision for pharmacies to let patients know it is available.

Meanwhile PDL offered some advice on owing scripts, now that special authority for supply without a prescription in bushfire-affected areas is available in some jurisdictions, such as South Australia, which announced this week that such a measure would apply to Kangaroo Island.

The Pharmacy Programs Administrator announced that from 1 February 2020, it will commence ongoing active monitoring and compliance activities, and the Australian Digital Health Agency launched a new clinical document, the Pharmacist Shared Medicines List, within My Health Record. The Australian College of Pharmacy’s Board is set to hold a general meeting allowing in-person debate on the controversial proposal for a restructure.

We examined the UK‘s new scheme to relieve pressure on GPs and Emergency Departments, which has seen more than 100,000 patients have appointments with “expert pharmacists” in only 10 weeks. And we discovered the results of NSW Health’s investigation into GP practices at high risk of being non-compliant with vaccine storage.

Experts are calling for a new vaccine for whooping cough… and measles is out and about in Australia already this year. Researchers from New Zealand found that restricting tobacco sales to pharmacies could help reduce access to tobacco, and reduce smoking cues… but also that pharmacists would need to be on board with such a move.

Finally, we’d like to know what you think about health, the bushfires and climate change: tell us in our poll here!

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