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Pharmacists take up challenge on better health care



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The P H A R M A C Y G U I L D o f A U S T R A L I A

N A T I O N A L SECRETARIAT

13 May 1996

PHARMACISTS TAKE UP CHALLENGE ON BETTER HEALTH CARE

-- Pharmacy Week to highlight quality care through pharmacy

The Federal Government can achieve significant improvements in quality health care for families and more than $2 billion a year savings in national health costs if it works with Australia's pharmacists.

Mr John Bronger, National President of the Pharmacy Guild, said this today at the launch of National Pharmacy Week 1999 by the Minister for Health and Aged Care, Dr Michael Wooldridge.

Mr Bronger said one program alone - action to improve consumer medication compliance - could save up to $2.4 billion.

He said the huge benefits available because patients could achieve better health outcomes simply by taking their medication properly were confirmed by a Pharamacy Guild survey of more than 180 Australian and international research studies over the past eight years.

"We can demonstrate conclusively the value of pharmacy services and the very real potential for cost savings and health care benefits," he said. "Pharmacy's projections of massive savings and improved health care outcomes are realistic and achievable.

"If Australian governments support an innovative, modern approach to pharmacy services the dollar savings will be immense.

"As well as savings for the health care budget, services such as pharmacist interventions to encourage proper patient use of medications, medication reviews and disease state management programs can bring enormous benefits to the consumer."

Mr Bronger said that in the United States an estimated $76 billion was spent each year because of problems with patients' use of medicines.

"Research shows these medication problems cause 8.7 million hospital admissions and 115 million visits to doctors," he said. "These figures have staggering implications for Australia, especially since the people most at risk of medications problem, the elderly, comprise a higher percentage of our population."

Mr Bronger said pharmacy's vision for the next century would press all Australian governments to take up the health care challenges of the future.

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National Pharmacy Week - from 16 to 22 May - will highlight pharmacy's contribution to health care, especially through the quality care and services provided by the national network of 5,000 community pharmacies.

Backed by the Pharmacy Guild, the Pharmaceutical Society and the Society of Hospital Pharmacists, this year's activities will include information and advice on a wide range of subjects -- including the medicine needs of older Australians, risks associated with driving while on medication, asthma care, smoking cessation and diabetes management.

Mr Bronger said Pharmacy Week's messages would reinforce the significant public benefit of Australia's system of pharmacist-owned pharmacies.

"Australians can get advice from a qualified health professional simply by walking into their local community pharmacy," he said. "Each person visits a pharmacy 14 times a year.

"That's 200 million occasions on which the network of 5,000 pharmacist-owned community pharmacies across the nation provides quality advice and service."

Mr Bronger said that during Pharmacy Week pharmacies would display posters urging consumers to "Stay Healthy, Be Informed, Talk With Your Community Pharmacist. "

He said Pharmacy Week would provide an opportunity for everybody associated with Australian pharmacy to support initiatives which focus on tne value and importance of its services to the community.

"Far too many people become ill because they don't take their medicines properly," he said. "It is particularly important for patients taking prescription drugs - and especially older Australians - to follow their doctor's instructions.

"Pharmacists can help by reinforcing the doctor's advice, reviewing medications and checking for problems such as patients taking prescription drugs and non­ prescription drugs without telling their doctor.

"Patients should always know the purpose of the medicine they are taking."

Mr Bronger said the Pharmacy Guild - through its business arm, Guild Commercial - was proceeding with its plans to introduce banking services in local community pharmacies.

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Queries: Nina Webb Libby Breden

JAX Media National Consultant Pharmacist

026 282 3395 Pharmacy Guild

0418 469 668 02 6281 0911