World Pharmacist's Day 25 September 2018

World Pharmacists Day is today!

25 September 2018

Your Medicines Experts

(Click the images to see their videos)

The Fédération Internationale Pharmaceutique (FIP) are promoting World Pharmacists Day in 2018 by focusing on the extensive expertise that pharmacists have and put to use every day to ensure better patient health. This expertise is applied through science and research, through educating the next generation, and through transforming patient needs into services.

Dr. Carmen Peña (President of FIP) says,

“the theme of World Pharmacists Day emphasises that pharmacists are a trusted source of knowledge and advice, not only for patients but for other healthcare professionals. For every patient who walks into a pharmacy, pharmacists ensure that the right medicine is provided at the right dose and in the most suitable formulation.

Pharmacists work with other healthcare professionals to ensure that every individual receives optimal treatment. Moreover, as one of the most accessible health care professionals globally, pharmacists use our learning to protect health and prevent illness.”

The Society supports pharmacists in their role as medicines experts

We reflected on the concepts highlighted by FIP above and applied them to our work in supporting New Zealand pharmacists in their roles as medicines experts. Click on the links to learn more.

  • Educating the next generation of pharmacy professionals through the EVOLVE intern training programme.
  • Supporting all pharmacists as a trusted source of knowledge and advice through:
    • Continuing professional development support - ENHANCE
    • Practice resources online e.g. the Practice Handbook and telephone advice - PRACTICE
    • Access to up to date online clinical resources – databases and journals - RESOURCES
  • Helping to ensure that patients receive individual optimal treatment through the delivery of high quality, relevant, and timely training designed specifically for pharmacists - COLLEGE
  • Working with the wider multi-disciplinary team to foster and facilitate collaborative work (e.g. the Integrated Healthcare Framework)
  • Supporting transformation of patient needs into services by involvement in health system conversations and advocacy on behald of the profession - PRACTICE

member stories: celebrating pharmacist contributions to care

We asked Society members to share stories about the work they are doing to optimise medicines use and received some superb examples:

Community Pharmacy - simple can be very meaningful

A community pharmacist colleague pointed out that our ability to contribute to patent care and optimising medicine outcomes can sometimes lie in the simplest of answers. They described a 68-year-old woman complaining about her blood pressure monitor not working properly and requesting that it be recalibrated. Upon discussion about her medications (she was not a regular patient of the pharmacy), she produced diltiazem 120mg modified release once daily from an earlier prescription along with diltiazem 180mg modified release once daily from a recent prescription dispensed two weeks ago. The higher dose had not been used due to concern about taking too much medicine. She was encouraged to commence the new medication, measure BP daily over the next 2-3 weeks and call with any questions. This case was interesting because the patient felt the problem lay with the BP machine rather than suspecting a medication issue. She is now a regular visitor to the pharmacy and her target BP is being achieved.

Hospital Pharmacy - integration at the care interface

The MidCentral DHB hospital pharmacy team have recently extended their clinical pharmacy service to the transition of care between hospital and community with the establishment of a new ‘hospital to community pharmacist’ role. The new role is part of the ‘pharmaceutical continuum of care’ as depicted in the diagram below. A ‘hospital to community pharmacist’ is a clinical pharmacist accredited in Medicines Therapy Assessment. They meet with the patient, either at the hospital or in their home. From the information shared at this appointment and after reviewing the patient’s notes, the pharmacist identifies medicine related issues and provides recommendations to their GP. The integration project has been very well received by community pharmacies, general practice and patients involved in the service.

Primary Health Organisation - pharmacists working within general practice

Te Awakairangi Health Network, a PHO in the Hutt Valley, have integrated experienced, non-dispensing clinical pharmacists into six general practice teams. The pharmacists add value by providing a complementary skill-set to fellow clinicians, supporting GPs and other clinical staff to minimise risks associated with medicines, developing and ensuring best practice in prescribing systems and processes, reducing inappropriate use of medicines, and optimising patient outcomes. They have found a number of factors to be key for successful integration into existing primary care teams:

  • Understand the needs and priorities of the team and their patients
  • Educate the team about your role, and equally, understand other team members’ roles and contribution
  • Ensure the practice infrastructure can support the role
  • Be highly visible and accessible to the team
  • Ensure clinical and non-clinical skills are strong and up to date
  • Take responsibility for the outcomes of patients you interact with
  • Develop and maintain trust and professional relationships with other team members

Community Pharmacy - communication and education are key

A patient presented in the pharmacy concerned about their sleep. They were taking lorazepam and zopiclone and asked the pharmacist if they could increase their zopiclone dose as they were still having sleep problems. The pharmacist spent about 10 minutes talking with them about sleep, medications, realistic sleep requirements and ways to achieve this. The person left realising that no further medication was required and even felt confident to stop their zopiclone. The patient will be returning in the next 2 weeks to report back on how things have gone and discuss any further plans from there. This is a great example of pharmacist educating and supporting a patient around health and medication use which has reduced the risk of harm from overuse of medicines as well as improving the quality of life for that person.

Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) - pharmacists in recovery and rehabilitation

ACC has registered pharmacists with current practising certificates whose core function is to assess pharmaceutical funding requests. This involves checking appropriateness of use and whether the medicine use will lead to recovery and rehabilitation. They also provide advice to injury prevention programmes where medicines might be the topic of discussion.


  • check that medicine use/supply is safe, appropriate and cost-effective
  • maintain pharmaceutical sector relationships and pharmaceutical service expenditure
  • liaise with prescribers and monitor best prescribing practice
  • share medicines information and best practice updates with colleagues in ACC

ACC pharmacists work closely with case owners in ‘Client Services’ and clinical colleagues in ‘Clinical Services.’ The team has developed expertise in the biopsychosocial management of chronic pain management, medicine used to manage consequences of spinal cord injury and opioid use after injury. The team is becoming ‘expert’ in new funding areas such as immunotherapy and precision medicine. Their work is based on integrating their analysis of best prescribing practice literature and the unique injury rehabilitation needs of a client. Their goal is to assist case owners, prescribers and clients to ensure that ACC medicine funding is cost effective, safe, appropriate and will lead to rehabilitation after injury.

Clinical Pharmacist Facilitators - coalescence of care

The following case was shared which further illustrates the role pharmacists can play in facilitating cohesive care between hospital and the community:

Mrs P, a 75-year-old woman with Parkinson’s Disease was referred to the pharmacist facilitator by the multidisciplinary team for a review of her medications due to multiple falls and polypharmacy. She was under Older People’s Mental Health (OMPH) for a history of depression; Neurology for her Parkinson's, and her GP who was trying to manage her lower back pain. She was taking 4 medicines that work on the central nervous system and still not managing to sleep. Some recommendations were made to the OMPH consultant, to withdraw three of the medicines as these were not working. A trial of melatonin was recommended, with good effect. Neurology were managing her Parkinson’s with medication and an apomorphine pump. An email was sent to Neurology asking for further education around the pump for nursing staff and emergency department staff, due to a recent hospital admission where Mrs P suffered from rigidity with no apomorphine pump for 24 hours - no one knew how to administer the pump until Neurology arrived at ED. This caused Mrs P extreme anxiety and she did not want this to happen again. The hospital pharmacist was contacted to look into the policy for administering apomorphine pump within the hospital. An apomorphine label was obtained from her community pharmacy and put on her apomorphine pump for identification if Mrs P was unable to communicate again. A medication card was written up for her also. Medication changes were made as recommended and Mrs P has had a reduction in her falls, minimising her risk of fractures.

We hope you have a wonderful day!

How would you like to celebrate World Pharmacists Day next year?

Please let us know: PRACTICE@PSNZ.ORG.NZ