Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist July 2015 Contents Australian Pharmacist July 2015 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
the development of Northern Australia’.
(A green paper on developing Northern
Australia was released by the Government
late last year and a follow-up white paper
was released on 18 June.)
The Australian Tropical Medicine
Commercialisation Grants Programme
will provide $8.5 million to commercialise
research in new tropical therapeutics
and diagnostics undertaken in Australia.
A further $6.9 million will be used to build
Australia’s primary research capacity,
funding collaborative projects focused
on priority diseases including dengue,
malaria, Hendra, multi-drug resistant
tuberculosis and others.
Crisis response capacity
The second Budget announcement of
$100 million to improve Australia’s ability
to quickly and effectively respond to a
health crisis caused by a natural disaster
or terrorist attack at home or abroad was
made by Health Minister Sussan Ley.
Ms Ley said the funding boost ensured
Australia remained an international leader
in providing emergency health protection
and included $34 million to replenish the
National Medical Stockpile and $64 million
to support the Darwin-based National
Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre.
‘I think they really are going to be a key
component in response strategies. I hadn’t
really thought about that. But then
it makes sense. Pharmacists see a lot
‘You need good monitoring systems to be
able to manage them [infectious diseases].
Pharmacists could be a component of
those monitoring systems – whether that’s
asking the right questions or referring
people on for serology testing or, with the
advent of new diagnostics.
‘Do we push the diagnostics right out into
pharmacy? It’s hypothetical but because
we are getting more rapid diagnostics
being developed – salivary antigens and so
forth, that does open up new possibilities
for enhanced surveillance.
‘Our surveillance of diseases is not bad
but it could stand some improvements.
We are very reliant of serology collected
in a medical setting and that’s a rate
Impact on pharmacy
Ms Singleton said pharmacists needed
to be aware firstly, on how climate
change would impact on health and,
secondly, on the effect it would have on
‘ We are going to see an increase in
mosquito borne diseases. We are starting
to see more dengue and Ross River fever
here in Brisbane for example. There’s a
real risk that we will start to see malaria in
Australia,’ she said.
‘Because of global warming we will see a
lot more heat-related events mainly with
renal patients and heart patients. The more
comorbidities patient has, the higher the
risk of heat problems.’
Ms Singleton’s research in Tasmania
following the 2013 bushfires found that
once people go over their heat comfort
(acclimatisation) zone, hospital admissions
for heat-related problems increase.
‘No matter where you live you acclimatise.
So here in Brisbane we are able to tolerate
quite well temperatures up to about 35 °C.
Once it gets over about 35 °C you start to
see increased admissions to hospitals.
In 2050, according to Mr Robb, half the
world’s population will live in the tropical
zone, including 60% of its children, and the
region will be home to more middle-class
consumers than anywhere else.
‘ The tropical zone currently produces
around 20% of global economic output
but it is growing at a much faster rate than
the rest of the world. By 2025, its combined
output is projected to reach US$40 trillion.
Northern Australia’s proximity to the
fast growing Tropical region presents
extraordinary opportunities for Australian
tropical medicine,’ he said.
Australian medical research could help
manage or eradicate many of the diseases
specific to this region, including Australia’s
own tropical zone.
If the AAS report is correct, Australia’s
tropical zone will be larger than
Mr Robb anticipates.
‘ The National Critical Care and Trauma
Response Centre and the National Medical
Stockpile are the backbone of our national
health emergency management capability
in the event of a bio-terrorist attack or
devastating natural disaster,’ Ms Ley said.
‘In a time of national emergency such as an
influenza pandemic or a bio-terrorist attack
the National Medical Stockpile is a key
element in defending Australians. In recent
times we have seen disease threats like
the bird flu pandemic and Middle East
Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak,
while last year was one of the worst flu
seasons on record. These recent outbreaks
reinforce the importance of maintaining
our strategic reserve of drugs, vaccines
Assoc Prof Williams said that with the
emergence of diseases such as dengue and
‘some of the acute respiratory syndrome
viruses’ pharmacists are ‘coal face to
this stuff ’.
Australian Pharmacist July 2015 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
We know it’s happening so
how do we adapt. I think
this Government seems to
be ok on the adaptation
but not so much on the
Associate Professor Craig Williams
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