The week in review

As toilet paper shelves empty out and worried Australians start to stockpile medicines, the number of COVID-19 cases in the country continues to rise

The Federal Government had some questions to answer about medicine deliveries during times of crisis—with the novel coronavirus raised as an issue. The World Health Organization teamed up with TikTok to crack down on fake news surrounding the virus.

Meanwhile patients are “really freaking out,” said Sydney pharmacy owner Caroline Diamantis, as the Guild and PSA pointed out to the general public that there is no advice at this time to stockpile medicines, and that this behaviour could trigger stock shortages. Pharmacists are reportedly copping the brunt of patient concerns… on top of existing high stress levels observed this week by researchers from Monash University and the Pharmacists Support Service.

We also looked at stock shortages in general, with new information about what’s happened since the introduction of mandatory reporting in January 2019.

The Pharmacy Guild suggested that given the pressures on other health providers, the sector could do more to help, an idea the RACGP rejected as a “cynical ploy”.

Of course, regular seasonal influenza will be an issue this year as always, and with predictions of a bad season ahead, the Department of Health has issued new advice for vaccine providers… plus the Guild’s Anthony Tassone has again called for pharmacists to have access to vaccines under the NIP in all Australian jurisdictions. NSW and South Australia both moved to allow pharmacists to administer the flu vaccine to children as young as 10.

We discovered that the number of pharmacists in GP surgeries continues to grow. Changes to mandatory reporting came into effect. The Victorian Pharmacy Authority told us that management and storage of S8s continues to be a problem, and we reported on the rise in psychotropic prescribing as Australians enter aged care.

And congratulations to Charlestown pharmacist Michael Minter, who was named TerryWhite Chemmart Pharmacist of the Year for 2020… and to Monash University, which was ranked second in the world in terms of its Pharmacy and Pharmacology courses. Congratulations also to Shelley Forester, who received the SA/NT Pharmacist of the Year Award from the PSA, Dr Renly Lim who won the SA/NT Early Career Pharmacist Development Award and Raymond Truong, who was presented with the 2019 PSA Gold Medal.

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