Zero Medicine Harm: The Goal of Pharmacists

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​In 2019, Medicine Safety and Quality Use of Medicines was announced as Australia's 10th National Health Priority Area. This work is divided into two phases. The first phase is focused on aged care, issues of polypharmacy, and the use of antipsychotic medicines, and the second phase is focused on the investigation of broader issues of Medicine Safety.

For three years until today, the goal of all pharmacists is to reduce harm. The use of medicines is vital in addressing health issues. However, although they can promote positive changes in people, they can also cause problems, especially when medication errors occur. Additionally, the number of medicine-related hospital admissions and readmissions is significantly increasing because of co-morbidities and the use of more medicines.

On the upcoming WHO World Patient Safety Day, September 17, there is a challenge to reduce severe avoidable medication-related harm by 50%, and pharmacists play a big role in this mission. Pharmacists’ integration is crucial to promote effective collaboration and communication between health workers. Based on the Australian Pharmaceutical Formulary and Handbook, a pharmacist can identify and reduce medicine harm by the following techniques:

  • Recording a patient’s best possible medication history (BPMH)

  • Reconciling differences between the BPMH and medication orders, especially during transitions of care

  • Conducting medicine reviews

  • Providing medicines information to the patient

Apart from pharmacists, all medical workers are encouraged to introduce better pharmacovigilance services to avoid making non-life threatening cases into worse health conditions.

High-Risk Medicines in Australia

In line with the WHO’s World Patient Safety Day, high-risk medicines in the country have been identified. These medicines are the following:

  • Opioids

  • Insulin

  • Antipsychotics

  • Anticoagulants

Moreover, GP-pharmacist relationships can also prevent medication harm as this communication can also assist in reducing hospital readmissions because of proper medication management.

UTI Management: Is Reducing Dipstick Use Better?

Generally, UTI is a common health condition, especially in hospitals and aged-care settings. In adults, this condition is diagnosed based on the patient’s symptoms and signs such as frequency of urination. For some, the use of UTI dipsticks is considered.

Unfortunately, the use of the dipstick technique is not as reliable as the patient thinks. Getting a false-positive result in a dipstick test can result in misuse and overuse of antibiotics. A urine dipstick test can provide positive results, but sometimes, these results do not require antibiotic treatment.

In line with this, the UTI Pharmacy Pilot was introduced in June 2020 and has been extended to allow pharmacists to make a difference by raising awareness about UTI, especially among consumers. This program allows Australians ages 18-65 years who are experiencing uncomplicated UTI symptoms to get treated in a local community pharmacy. These consumers can be helped without having to use antibiotics. Another great thing about this is that this pilot program can also reduce antibiotic resistance.

For consumers who wish to avail of this service, pharmacists will first do a screening test to ensure the safe use of medications for UTI. After the assessment, the pharmacist will then supply the medication as well as give self-care tips to avoid the recurrence of UTI.

If you want to work as a community pharmacist and join the Government’s goal to reduce medication harm, Raven’s Recruitment can help you out. At Raven’s Recruitment, we can help you find the best part-time and full-time pharmacy jobs not just in the community pharmacy profession but in hospitals and other areas as well.


​Since 1987, Raven's Recruitment has been specialising in Pharmacist recruitment, so we have expert knowledge in the space. If you are looking for an exciting opportunity to work as a locum pharmacist or want a permanent job, then look no further - get in touch with our Recruitment Consultants today.​​​​​​