Connecting...

Pharmacy Connect 2017 Conference Highlights

14 Sep 15:00 by Shefali Parekh

W1siziisijiwmtcvmdkvmtqvmdkvmdmvndyvnjy5l0xpr08tughhcm1hy3ldb25uzwn0mjaxny5qcgcixsxbinailcj0ahvtyiisijgwmhg0ntajil1d

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia’s Pharmacy Connect Conference was held at the Hilton Sydney last weekend. The three-day event attracted over 700 pharmacists, industry representatives and students.

Program highlights included a plethora of education sessions featuring local and international speakers on topics such as professional services, medical cannabis and pain management.

An all-female panel empowering women of community pharmacy

Pictured from left to right:
Facilitator:
Pam Price, Strategic Adviser, The Pharmacy Guild of Australia
Panelists:
DeAnn Mullins, President, National Community Pharmacists Association (US); Christine Venter, President, South African Association of Community Pharmacists; Lucy Walker, Winner, Guild Pharmacy of the Year 2017; Rhonda White, Managing Director, White Retail Group; Shu Fen Liauw, Community Pharmacy Owner; Caroline Diamantis, Branch Committee Member, The Pharmacy Guild of Australia, NSW Branch

The Judy Liauw address on empowering women in community pharmacy included an all-female panel. The inspiring women spoke of their determination towards their work and shared their experiences of a work life balance. It was clear that these women have it all. It was also encouraging to recognise how valuable the inherent female abilities to care and nurture are as qualities for a successful career in pharmacy. Their passion for the industry is what motivates me to continue with my pharmacy career, and make a change in someone’s life. To read more about this panel discussion, follow the link.

An update on the Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation Review

Pictured from left to right:
Facilitator:
Greg Turnbull, Communications Advisor, The Pharmacy Guild of Australia
Panellists:
George Tambassis, National President, The Pharmacy Guild of Australia; David Quilty, Executive Director, The Pharmacy Guild of Australia

An overview of the Guild’s official response to the Review of Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation and its impact on the whole pharmacy sector was presented to delegates and is summarised below:

page2image5248

Positives

Negatives

Abolist $1 discount

Dispensing Remuneration ($9-$11.50)

High Cost Medicine Remuneration Model

Remove Location Rules

 

Requirement to provide detailed financial data

 

Future Agreements pared back, with CHF participating

 

Manufacturers responsible for supply standards

Emerging market of medical cannabis
This session provided an understanding of the key medicinal element of medical cannabis, the cannabinoids, including what they are and how they work. The current market in Australia for medical cannabis suggests the primary reasons for use of medical cannabis is non-cancer chronic pain, mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression, palliative care, insomnia and epilepsy. Of important note is the current licensing of nabiximols in Australia for spasticity experienced in the Multiple Sclerosis disease. While there is a strong consumer demand for medical cannabis use, there is also limited evidence of its efficacy; and health care professionals are still trying to understand the different dosing for different conditions.

Changes relating to the codeine rescheduling

Pictured from left to right:
Facilitator:
Caroline Diamantis, Branch Committee Member, The Pharmacy Guild of Australia, NSW Branch Panellists: Joyce McSwan, Clinical Program Director, Gold Coast Primary Health Network Persistent Pain Program; George Tambassis, National President, The Pharmacy Guild of Australia

The upcoming rescheduling of codeine from Schedule 3 (over-the-counter) to Schedule 4 (prescription only) will impact both pharmacies and their customers. In this session I learnt about strong pain alternatives to codeine such as Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAID) gels, capsaicin gels, Devil’s Claw and Willow Bark. Since pain is not a unidirectional stimulus but in fact is complex and sophisticated, it’s important to realise pain can change. Therefore, a care plan and follow-up phone call between pharmacist and patient is an imperative clinical intervention. The Pharmacy Guild of Australia and Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) are working together

to develop tools and information sources to help pharmacies with the change in codeine scheduling.

International involvement

Pictured from left to right:
Facilitator:
Greg Turnbull, Communications Advisor, The Pharmacy Guild of Australia
Panelists:
Darragh O’Loughlin, Secretary General, Irish Pharmacy Union; Jan Du Toit, ExecutiveDirector, South African Association of Community Pharmacists; Ian Strachan, Chairman, National Pharmacy Association (UK); DeAnn Mullins, President, National Community Pharmacists Association (US); Graeme Blanchard, National President, Pharmacy Guild of New Zealand; Alistair Bursey, Chair, Canadian Pharmacists Association; George Tambassis, National President, The Pharmacy Guild of Australia

Collaboration was a key theme for the conference program. A panel of representatives from the USA, Canada, South Africa, the UK and Ireland discussed lessons for Australia about remunerated professional pharmacy services that all national health systems should have in place to ensure community pharmacy remains a viable part of the healthcare system. These are however determined by whether the pharmacy is focused on price and high-volume or on value and outcomes. Some examples included opioid substitution therapy programs, emergency contraception, immunisation, minor ailments, pharmacogenetic testing, transition of care services and care plans.

Social Events

Pictured from left to right:
Sandra
Minas, National President, National Australian Pharmacy Students’ Association; Shefali Parekh, Immediate Past National President, National Australian Pharmacy Students’ Association; Evie Lucy, National Secretary, National Australian Pharmacy Students’ Association

Friday night’s welcome reception kicked off the social activities. The social events coinciding with the event allowed us students to not only meet other students but also network with some of the biggest names in the industry. This gives students an opportunity to discuss their own opinions about the industry.

The trade exhibition of more than 50 stands, provided the perfect opportunity for delegates to connect with colleagues, Guild officials, international speakers and industry representatives. This networking opportunity with industry suppliers allowed delegates to gain ample hands-on experience with products and services to improve their pharmacy. 

National Pharmacy Student Survey
The National Australian Pharmacy Students’ Association (NAPSA) launched their National Pharmacy Student Survey (NPSS) at the trade exhibition. Each year, NAPSA and its partner organisations uses the NPSS data to understand the views and opinions of students and interns pertinent to pharmacy affairs, including employment, remuneration, undergraduate placements, and more. Everyone who completes the survey goes in the draw to win a 2018 edition of the Australian Medicines Handbook, so I would encourage you to participate!page5image13472

National Student Business Plan Competition

Pictured from left to right:
Sandra
Minas, Ingrid Carey, Shefali Parekh, Eleanor Stewart, PharmHealth Pharmacy, La Trobe University/Monash University; Emma Conway, Vasilios Sotiropoulos, Matthew Maclean, James Buckley, New Life Pharmacy, James Cook University/University of South Australia/Queensland University of Technology; Alison Hay, Monique Scott, Caitlin O’Keefe, Madeline Spencer, Isle Pharmacy, University of Tasmania

The National Student Business Plan Competition (NSBPC) finals saw three finalist teams ‘pitch’ a business plan in five minutes. Entries were judged on viability, research, business management, community engagement, innovation in professional services, financials, marketing and clinical health elements. The competition encourages innovation amongst pharmacy students and assists them in gaining the skills required to own or manage a pharmacy. A total of 14 teams entered the competition this year and I extend my congratulations to Isle Pharmacy from the University of Tasmania for taking out the win! The two runners up were PharmHealth Pharmacy and New Life Pharmacy respectively.

As a student, I am always blown away by industry conferences. This year, Pharmacy Connect was bigger and better with the education and networking opportunities on offer.

It was a unique and eye-opening experience where I learnt about specific product knowledge and was updated on the transforming pharmacy industry. This kind of knowledge about products and industry provides me with a competitive edge, and a much better understanding on how to provide quality healthcare to the community.

 

Shefali Parekh

Marketing Consultant 

Raven's Recruitment