Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist May 2016 Contents Australian Pharmacist May 2016 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
OTC growth accelerating
Consumer healthcare products, including over-the-counter (OTC) and
complementary medicines, are fuelling strong growth of pharmacy 'front
of shop' according to the Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI).
At APP 2016 in late March ASMI's Acting
Chairperson, Mark Sargent, presented a
snapshot of the industry'
He said there was fast double-digit
growth of consumer healthcare
products, which were increasingly
making up a higher share of total
'Front of shop (non-prescription
products) growth of 18.% is driving
total pharmacy market expansion and
continues to outpace the prescription
market. The largest contributions to
growth in 2015 came from the top three
segments -- vitamins and supplements,
skincare and analgesics,' Mr Sargent said.
'Overseas demand for Australia's
consumer healthcare products is
strong because of the high levels of
trust international consumers have in
Australian products. This reflects our
rigorous regulatory system for OTC and
complementary medicines and the high
quality of these products.
'Demand for Australian complementary
medicines is particularly strong,
driven by both local and off-shore
consumers. Over 70% of Australian
consumers take complementary
medicines and the pharmacy channel
grew 37% cent last year. Asia's emerging
middle class, an ageing population and
high uptake of cross-border electronic
commerce underpin robust demand in
Asian nations,' Mr Sargent said.
Mr Sargent said that prescription to OTC
switching (or down-scheduling) offered
a promising opportunity for pharmacy
'front of shop' growth.
He said switching made it possible to
create new categories such as nicotine
replacement therapies and anti-fungals,
which were once prescription categories
and have become staple OTC categories.
'In New Zealand, recent switches
have been driven by pharmacists,
and Australia's down-scheduling of
naloxone was instigated by Melbourne
pharmacist, Angelo Pricolo. This is a
great example of the pharmacy-led
innovation necessary to drive 'front of
shop' expansion in Australia.
'Another significant opportunity is
leveraging the role of pharmacists
in managing minor ailments. Minor
ailment schemes exist in the UK and
Ireland, which have seen the leveraging
of pharmacist skills ease the strain on an
overloaded healthcare system.
'The PSA recently launched its Health
Destination Pharmacy program, which
will improve health outcomes for
consumers and contribute to pharmacy
financial sustainability. Also, the
Pharmacy Guild secured $50 million in
funding through the 6th Community
Pharmacy Agreement to run the
Pharmacy Trial Program (PTP), which has
the potential to broaden the scope
and value of pharmacy in the primary
'ASMI is keen to collaborate with
pharmacy to design a pilot which sees
pharmacy take on a broader minor
ailment management role to enable
better patient healthcare outcome,'
Mr Sargent said.
Victorian children with severe epilepsy
will have access to medicinal cannabis
as early as next year, through fast-
tracked funding to support the rollout
of the Victorian Medicinal Cannabis
The $28.5 million package, provided
in the 2016--17 Victorian Budget, will
support the establishment of the Office of
Medicinal Cannabis and an Independent
Medical Advisory Committee to make sure
seriously ill children can access treatment
as soon as possible.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews
said: 'We promised families that their
children would be able to access this
life-changing treatment as early as next
year, and we're getting it done.
'Never again will families have to make
the heart-breaking choice between
watching their children suffer and
breaking the law,' Mr Andrews said.
The funding will also support:
• The Victorian Government's
cultivation trial, which is presently
underway, as well as the regulation of
medicinal cannabis, further product
development and the development
of clinical, public and manufacturing
• Research grants to assist in building
the evidence base for medicinal
• The establishment of a hardship fund
to help make medicinal cannabis more
affordable for parents doing it tough.
The Office of Medicinal Cannabis
will be responsible for all clinical
and manufacturing aspects of the
medicinal cannabis framework, and will
work closely with medical specialists,
general practitioners and pharmacists
to help them understand their role
in prescribing medicinal cannabis.
The Office will also work with patients
and families to provide them with
information about medicinal cannabis,
as well as eligibility requirements and
registration for the scheme.
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