Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist July 2012 Contents 514 Australian Pharmacist July 2012 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
easier would they be to use properly if an
expert explained them to you?
'One patient said that medicines are
wonderful poisons. We should value the
wonder and respect the poison.'
Professor Barber said the intervention was
simple. 'Basically it was calling them [the
patients] up and asking -- "How are you
getting on with your medicines?"
'The point is, just ask! Start with the
medicine and ask the patient what their
experience is. We just asked, we didn't tell,'
To test the intervention, a study of
500 people was completed where
pharmacists rang patients two weeks
after they received their medicines to
ask how it was going. The conversation
took on average 12 minutes and had
positive results. Nonadherence fell from
16% to 9%. Reported problems fell from
34% to 23% and the intervention was
cost-e ective because there were fewer
visits to the doctor after the intervention.
In October 2011 the British Government
funded the New Medicines Service
which is based on Professor Barber
and his team's research but includes a
'patient-centred' in-pharmacy discussion
with the patient after two weeks (in the
UK 84% of pharmacies have a private
consulting room) as well as a follow-up
call after four weeks. The pharmacy
receives between $AUS40 and $50
The program is presently limited
to a number of conditions such as
hypertension, asthma/COPD and
type 2 diabetes.
Professor Barber said that in October last
year 10,121 interventions were recorded
and in November 43,759 were recorded.
By May this year 220,000 consultations
had been completed with 11% of patients
being referred back to the prescriber.
'Pharmacists like it because it is easy to
use. They feel that they can do something
to help people.'
The service was linked in with the adverse
drug reaction reporting service which led
to an 84% increase in reports.
More monitoring needed
Medicines which have been released onto
the market but need additional monitoring
should have additional labelling, according
to Professor Emily Banks, Chairperson of
the Advisory Committee on the Safety of
Speaking at the NPS National Medicines
Symposium, Professor Banks called for an
additional symbol to be placed on a new
medicine's packaging, advertising and
other materials indicating that authorities
are interested in gathering additional
information on the medicine and inviting
consumers to be a part of this process.
said that under
testing before being
registered for use in
'However, when medicines are rst used,
it is vital that we gather information about
the experiences among people using
it, particularly whether there are any
unexpected adverse e ects, outside the
clinical trial setting.
'A better risk communication system would
help keep consumers better informed
about the medicines they are using and
encourage their participation in ensuring
we can collect further information once the
medicine is in use.
'In announcing TGA Reforms: A Blueprint
for the Future of the TGA in December 2011,
the Government agreed that the TGA
should conduct, and report on, a feasibility
study into the development of an early
post-marketing risk communication
scheme for therapeutic goods, with
consideration of international models.'
Similar programs are currently underway or
planned in Europe.
Professor Banks said it is important
consumers remain at the centre of care
when it comes to ensuring medicines
are used safely and e ectively in
'This means providing consumers with
the information they need to make the
best decisions about their medicines.
Providing people with a more complete
NEWS NATIONAL MEDICINES SYMPOSIUM
picture about the ways of evaluating the
risks of their medicines would help facilitate
a better understanding of the processes
that work to ensure we have safe medicines
in Australia,' she said.
A new competency framework outlining
the skills, knowledge and behaviours
required for safe and e ective prescribing
was launched at the 2012 National
The project involved 12 months of broad
consultation with health professionals
and representative groups from around
Australia to develop the framework.
Launching the framework, NPS CEO Dr
Lynn Weekes said that good prescribing
involved a complex range of skills, and that
all prescribers -- regardless of professional
background -- should demonstrate
adequate competency before they are able
'The competency framework will be
able to be applied broadly to all health
professionals, including new and existing
prescribers,' she said.
The competency framework incorporates
seven competency areas, each describing
an activity essential for prescribing.
The competency areas include: how a
competent prescriber understands the
patient's social and clinical needs, assesses
their treatment options, supports shared
decision making, and implements and
communicates a treatment plan.
A competent prescriber also communicates
the treatment plan clearly to other health
professionals, and monitors and reviews the
person's response to treatment. In addition,
the competency framework identi es
that a competent prescriber practises
professionally, and communicates and
collaborates e ectively with the person and
other health professionals.
'We will be encouraging Australian
registration, accreditation, professional and
other organisations to adopt this framework
as the benchmark for the training,
credentialing, and ongoing professional
development of prescribers,' Dr Weekes said.
For more information visit: www.nps.org.
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