Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist December 2015 Contents Australian Pharmacist December 2015 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd. 77
The need to seek advice and counselling from a community pharmacist
when buying medicines has been highlighted by research released in
November in the US showing alarming rates of non-compliance in patients
who fill their prescriptions via what is termed mail order.
The research, funded by the Community
Pharmacy Foundation, examined more
than 6,500 prescriptions consumers
returned for disposal at pharmacies
participating in the National Community
Pharmacists Association's (NCPA) Dispose
My Meds program between June 2012
and June 2013.
It found that prescriptions filled through
mail order were more likely to have more
than 80% of the medication remaining
when compared with those filled by retail
Mail order disposals were also more likely
than retail-supplied ones to be brand
The report on the research states:
'The returns from community pharmacy
ranged from 0.2% to 17.1%, and the
returns from mail order pharmacy ranged
from 0.1% to 38.5%. However the returns
from mail order, within its pharmacy type,
appeared to have a higher proportion
returned with 80% or greater remaining.
'Nearly 58% of the medications returned
from mail order had 80% or more of the
medication left, compared to 37% from
'Additionally, the returns of brand
medications were proportionally higher
from mail order pharmacy. Community
pharmacies had a higher percentage of
returns on generic medications compared
to mail order.'
The report points out that a general
benchmark indicator of adherence is
completion of 80% or more of therapy
within a given timeframe. This contrasts
with the 80% of medications remaining
from mail-order sourced medicines under
Commenting on the research,
National President of the Pharmacy
Guild of Australia, George Tambassis,
said consumers should be very wary of
buying medicines online.
'The reality is that medicines are not like
other products which people may buy
online,' Mr Tambassis said.
'Medicines have the potential to cause
serious side effects and health problems if
not used and stored properly.
'There can be risks when consumers
are taking a range of different types of
medicines and talking to your pharmacist
can help to minimise that risk.
'It's important that consumers seek advice
from their doctor or pharmacist before
Chemmart champions forward dispensing
Chemmart members have committed
to becoming the industry leaders in
They made the pledge on the final day
of the Chemmart Member Conference
as part of the brand's revitalised
The conference, with 300 people
attending, was held in Ho Chi Minh
City, Vietnam, between 25--29
October. It centred on a renewed,
customer-focused strategy addressing
challenges such as PBS reforms,
the $1 co-payment issue and
Chemmart Executive Director Duncan
Phillips said the brand would strive to
be the most agile and ambitious brand
in the community pharmacy market.
'The challenges for pharmacy are as
significant as they have ever been.
The environment dictates that to
survive, change is required, and to win,
game-changing is needed,' he said.
'We need to be more relevant to our
customers, provide better value and
ranges and, by growing our business,
continue to invest in our proposition.'
Chemmart also announced an
innovation fund which will provide
interest-free loans to members as a way
to drive innovation in their stores.
'When I first came on board and was
visiting stores and meeting staff,
it struck me just how many ideas are
out there -- and that's why I wanted to
start the Chemmart Innovation Fund,'
Mr Phillips said.
taking any medicine. Buying on-line does
not offer that face-to-face consultation with
Mr Tambassis said the US research finding
about the high rate of unused prescription
medicines was alarming.
'Adherence is one of the key issues
community pharmacists often address
when talking to patients; explaining the
need to complete a course of medication as
directed by the doctor to ensure the patient
gets the maximum benefits out of that
medicine,' he said.
'Another important fact to take to
consideration is that if you buy your
medicines online, they will not contribute
towards your PBS Safety Net, which means
that you could be wasting your money.
'The PBS gives all Australian residents
(and eligible overseas visitors) access to
affordable prescription medicine that is
subsidised by the Australian Government.'
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