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Local pharmacists to counsel patients on medications

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


23 January 1998


People with concerns about changes in Federal Government medicine subsidies from 1 February can obtain advice from a health care professional simply by walking into a community pharmacy.

Mr John Bronger, National President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, today announced details of a national information campaign to ensure patients know they can talk to their local community pharmacist about the changes.

Mr Bronger said the $4 million campaign - funded by the Federal Government - would include television, print and radio advertising and the distribution of point-of sale resource materials for use in Australia's 5,000 community pharmacies.

He said the participation of Guild members in the campaign reflected community pharmacy's commitment to high quality standards of service for the public.

Research shows that Australians depend on their local community pharmacy. On average, each visits a pharmacy 14 times a year.

"The Guild is not being asked to be an advocate for the Government's policy," Mr Bronger said. "The new system is being introduced to help slow the growth in PBS costs and we must be ready to explain the changes to patients who have questions when they take their prescription to their community pharmacy.

"We believe we have a responsibility to counsel our patients professionally and to ensure they know it is critical they keep taking the medication prescribed for them." ’ ~

Mr Bronger said the campaign would be spearheaded by a TV commercial to be broadcast by capital city and regional stations throughout the country, starting this Sunday 25 January. The commercial would feature these key messages:

- some patients taking prescription medicines for heart disease, high blood pressure, peptic ulcers or reflux could be affected by the changes;

- these patients should obtain more information by talking to their doctor the next time they need a prescription; - patients could ask their pharmacist for information if they still have questions when they go to their local community pharmacy to have their

prescription dispensed; and

- it is crucial that patients keep taking their prescription medicine.

14 T hesig er C o u r t PO B ox 36 D e a k in W est ACT 2600 T e l e p h o n e ( 06 ) 281 0911 ยท F a c s im il e (06) 282 4745

Mr Bronger said Pharmacy Guild advertisements in regional and suburban newspapers across Australia in January/February - along with a series of radio commercials - would underline the availability of expert advice from a health care professional in local community pharmacies.

He said the Guild was providing community pharmacists with a range of resource materials including a health professional's kit developed by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Family Services (DHFS) in consultation with health professionals.

As well as the necessary technical and clinical information contained in the kit, pharmacists would have ready reference sheets with information on the cost impact of the PBS changes for consumers, together with changes in brand price


They would also be supplied with consumer brochures developed by the DHFS in consultation with key interest groups and a display poster urging patients to keep taking the medication prescribed by their doctor.

Mr Bronger said the health professional's kit provided to pharmacists and doctors included referral forms endorsed by the Pharmacy Guild and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

"This is very important because the pharmacist can use the referral pad to advise the patient's doctor of clinical and cost issues raised by the patient and doctors, in turn, can refer patients to pharmacists for point-of-purchase information.

"Pharmacists will be able to build on professional links with doctors and reinforce their role as a source of expert advice on medicines for consumers.

"We agree with the Federal Government's view that co-operation between the professions will be particularly important in helping patients manage medication changes under the new policy."

Further information:

Graham Bridge Acting Executive Director 026 281 0911 Mobile - 015 296 944

John Webb or Neil Smail JAX Media National 026 282 3395 Mobiles-0419 604 096

- 0418 469 668