Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist March 2013 Contents 14 Australian Pharmacist March 2013 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
Humpty Doo likes pharmacy
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
students from as far as away as Humpty
Doo in the Northern Territory attended the
inaugural University of Sydney Pharmacy
Indigenous Camp in January.
Two students from Humpty Doo, a small
rural township in the Top End, 16-year-olds
Danika Williams and Yvonne Neave, were
among 23 students who attended the
four-day Pharmacy Indigenous Camp
(SydPIC) aimed at boosting the numbers
of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
students currently employed in the
The pair who attend Taminmin College in
Humpty Doo said they would like to work
in healthcare and the course will give them
the opportunity to explore pharmacy as a
With fewer than 50 registered pharmacists
in Australia who identify as Aboriginal or
Torres Strait Islander, course coordinators Dr
Nial Wheate and Dr Rebekah Moles believe
it is imperative more Aboriginal pharmacists
are trained, particularly in regions where
Aboriginal communities are lacking
Dr Wheate said the shortage of Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander pharmacists was
a result of lack of engagement with high
school students about career options
'We developed the camp to bring interested
students from all around Australia to get a
taste of what it's like to be a pharmacist and
experience university life first-hand.
'During the camp the students will took
part in pharmacy workshops and laboratory
sessions. They had the opportunity to
produce their own simple aspirin tablet and
'They also visited a Fresh Therapeutics
compounding pharmacy, Webstecare and a
RPA hospital pharmacy.
We aimed to give our potential students
a clearer idea of what to expect when
studying at university and more particularly
a career in pharmacy,' Dr Wheate said.
Dr Moles says recent reports show that
while Aboriginal people often consider
pharmacists as more accessible and
less intimidating than other health
professionals, to date pharmacists have
had little or no training in Aboriginal health
or cultural issues and consequently may
fail to convey the correct messages about
medication usage in terms understood by
She said the feedback was overwhelmingly
positive and the students 'had a ball and
many of them will consider pharmacy when
they complete their HSC.'
'We intend to run another camp next year at
about the same time'.
The camp was supported by grants from
Pharmaceutical defence Ltd and the
University of Sydney Social Inclusion Unit.
Increase patent terms call
Medicines Australia (MA) has called for
patent terms for innovative medicines to
be extended to compensate for increasing
delays in regulatory approval.
Speaking at a public hearing of the Federal
Government review of Australia's patent
system last month MA chief executive
Dr Brendan Shaw said there was a strong
argument to be made for increasing patent
term extensions given that Therapeutic
Goods Administration approval processes
had lengthened significantly since 1998,
when patent term extensions were
introduced, and delays in listing on the
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme had
'This review should certainly be looking
at the option of increasing the term of
patent extension. There's compelling
evidence that patent extensions are too
short. The Government's own standard for
an effective patent life is 15 years, but nearly
half of Australian pharmaceutical patents fall
short of that.
'Extensions to the patent life for health
technologies like pharmaceuticals are
important because the regulatory and
reimbursement processes consume years of
'Given it takes as long as three years to get a
new medicine listed on the PBS, and rejection
rates by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory
Committee are increasing, it's timely to look
at whether patent terms are long enough.
For many years Australia has been widely
regarded as having a world-class IP system
that supports innovation. It will be important
to ensure that Australia maintains this
reputation in the future,' he said.
'A strong, stable and predictable IP
system is critical to Australia's ability to
attract investment in R&D and high-tech
manufacturing. It is also critical to Australian
patients' ability to receive the latest
treatments as quickly as possible. and
biotech companies in international markets,'
Mr Shaw said.
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