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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Pharmacists to offer medication reviews virtually during COVID-19 pandemic

Health Industry Hub | April 20, 2020 |

Pharma News: Australians will be better supported to avoid medicine-related harm during the COVID-19 pandemic following the announcement that pharmacists will able to undertake a MedsCheck, Diabetes MedsCheck, Home Medicines Review or Residential Medication Management Review via telehealth.

In a move that has been strongly supported by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA), the Government announced that in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, where a patient has been identified as eligible, according to the relevant program rules medication reviews can take place via video or teleconference from 21 April 2020.

PSA National President, Associate Professor Chris Freeman said this measure to allow medicine reviews via telehealth will ensure those most vulnerable in the community were able to remain isolated but still receive vitally important medicine reviews.

“Throughout the entire COVID-19 pandemic, pharmacists are adapting and innovating to ensure they continue to provide the best healthcare for their communities,” he said.

“Allowing medicine reviews via telehealth whether it be on videoconference or teleconference is a commonsense decision made by the Government to ensure Australians continue to receive the support and medicine safety information they need without the risk of contracting COVID-19.

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“This announcement also helps reduce the risk to pharmacists, who now no longer need to deliver essential comprehensive medication reviews face to face and run the risk of getting contracting COVID-19 themselves.”

A/Prof Freeman said while PSA welcomes this announcement he will continue to work with the Government and other healthcare professionals to improve medicine safety in the community, particularly around Home Medicine Review (HMR) follow-ups.

“Currently pharmacists can provide just one HMR per patient every 24 months with similar restrictions imposed on RMMR and MedsCheck programs and I am calling on the Government to allow pharmacists to be able to perform additional follow-ups as clinically necessary,” he said.

 “As medicines experts it is essential that pharmacists are able to properly review patient’s medications as well as provide advice to other members of the health care team to ensure the safe and quality use of medicines for the elderly,” he said.

“In a time where so much attention is given to managing the immediate COVID-19 pandemic, we must also not lose sight on the importance of chronic disease management and the safe and quality use of medicines”

“Medicine-related problems lead to 250,000 hospital admissions each year costing $1.4 billion annually. Patients who take more than one medicine are at risk of problems associated with their medicines and medication review services are vitally important in identifying these issues.

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