Pharmacists back Stroke Foundation’s call for greater support

Media release: Tuesday 4 August 2020

In a report released last week by the Stroke Foundation it is estimated 11,169 New Zealanders will experience a stroke this year, at a cost to the country of $1.1 billion.

The Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand agrees with the Stroke Foundation “that very little is being done to prevent strokes.”

The Pharmaceutical Society is calling for more funding support from District Health Boards so people at risk of stroke can get their blood tests and warfarin medication from their local pharmacy.

Pharmaceutical Society president Ian McMichael says there is no need for people taking warfarin medication to travel to a laboratory to provide a blood sample, or to wait for the doctor to ring them with their test results.

Accredited pharmacists can test a person’s blood using a gentle finger prick and immediately provide them with their test results and advice on their next warfarin dose.

According to a report by Dr Paul Harper, haematologist, at the end of 2018 approximately 28,000 people were regularly taking warfarin. Currently pharmacy manages 6600 people and this number could easily be increased two or three-fold to deal with over 20,000 people.

“Some pharmacies have waiting lists of warfarin patients wanting to get their blood tests and medication from them. It is up to District Health Boards to prioritise funding for these people,” says McMichael.