Pharmacy In Focus

Welcome to Pharmacy in Focus

Join our host, Shirena Vasan, where she will be having conversations with pharmacy colleagues working in primary care, hospital, community pharmacy and industry. You will hear from project managers, community pharmacy owners, heads of Market Access, and clinical pharmacists. Join us every Tuesday to learn about how they started out, and their journey into their current roles. Find out about challenges they have faced, overcoming fears, their accomplishments and much more. 

Available through your favourite podcast app NOW.

Episode 18 - Cyclone Gabriele in the Hawkes Bay with Vanessa Brown

Cyclone Gabriele hit New Zealand on 12th Feb 2023. Prime Minister Chris Hipkins called it the biggest natural disaster this century.

On Feb 14th 2023 Cyclone Gabriele cause widespread damage to homes and infrastructure in Hawkes Bay due to flooding, slips and silt. Over 70,000 residents were left without power, internet, cell phone networks, health services, wastewater, drinking water or roads. Many were left isolated.

In this episode, I am talking to Vanessa Brown, a pharmacist based in Hawkes Bay about her experience during this time. What happened, the challenges faced and learnings that have come from it.

Episode 17 - 40+ years as a pharmacist, locuming, and advocating for CPAMS, with Gary Chalmers

In this episode I chat to Gary Chalmers about what pharmacy was like when he first started his career in pharmacy, some differences he has found as a locum in different regions, and why he is an advocate for CPAMS.

Episode 16 - Resilient Communities, with Lanny Wong

In this episode I chat with Lanny Wong about her experience during the recent weather events, her experience when the co-payments were removed, and why she decided to be a GirlBoss Edge mentor.

Episode 15 - Being a pharmacy technician and Girlboss mentoring experience, with Palki Kaur

In this episode, I talk to Palki Kaur, a pharmacy technician and PACT. We talk about Palki’s background, her experience as a Girlboss Edge: Healthcare mentor and her thoughts on technicians mentoring others.

Episode 14 - Parenting challenges when returning to the workforce, with Susie Farquhar

In this episode we discuss Susie’s experience of being a new mum and returning to work full-time, the challenges she faced and how she managed these.

Episode 13 - Medicine Reclassification with Billy Allan

When applying for a medicine to be reclassified, there is a set process that is followed. However, the COVID-19 antivirals did not follow this process and were reclassified through a specific legislation in the Medicines Act.

In this episode, Shirena talks to Billy Allan, Manager Pharmacy, Te Whatu Ora, Health New Zealand to find out about the usual medicine reclassification process, and also why the COVID-19 antivirals were reclassified under this different mechanism.

Episode 12 - Cytotoxic Waste Disposal with Sara Hanning

Cytotoxic medication undergoes a different disposal process to other pharmaceutical waste. What is this process and why does it have to happen overseas?

In this episode Shirena Vasan will be talking to Sara Hanning who has started researching pharmaceutical waste management and minimisation strategies.

Episode 11 - Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal with Sara Hanning

Over 3000kg of pharmaceutical waste was returned to pharmacies in September 2020.

How are these unused or expired medicines, foils, sachets, and devices disposed of? What is the environmental impact of this?

In this episode Shirena Vasan will be talking to Sara Hanning who has started researching pharmaceutical waste management and minimisation strategies. Find out about this research, what pharmaceutical waste was found in 12 pharmaceutical waste bins, what contents surprised the researchers, and what NZ research is being undertaken into alternative disposal processes.

Episode 10 - The Future of Pharmacy with Professor Rhianon Braund

Could the COVID-19 oral antiviral reclassification reshape the future of pharmacy?

The role and range of services provided by pharmacists has expanded in recent years with selected oral contraceptives, vaccinations and rapid antigen testing as some examples. With the recent addition of oral antiviral therapies, will pharmacists’ medication expertise continue to be sought and funded? Is pharmacist contribution seen as integral to the health and wellbeing of communities?

In this episode, I am talking to Professor Rhiannon Braund, the President of the Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand, to find out what she thinks the future could hold for pharmacy.

Episode 9 -Vicky Chan

Vicky Graduated in 2004, from the "Guinea Pig" Class of School of Pharmacy from the University of Auckland. Vicky is a Community Pharmacist and co-owns Unichem Pakuranga Pharmacy. Passionate about pioneering and driving clinical services at a community pharmacy setting, Vicky strives to collaborate widely across the health and NGO sector. Vicky has an equity-based approach to supporting the most vulnerable people within not only her local community but far afield.

Episode 8 - Hannah Arnold

Hannah Arnold (27 years old) is a pharmacist who is currently working as a Funding Application Advisor at Pharmac.

After graduating from Otago University, Hannah began her pharmacy career as an intern at Capital and Coast DHB where she continued to work as a rotational pharmacist for several years. She then moved to the United Kingdom and worked as a clinical writer for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, writing content for publications including the British National Formulary and Martindale. Upon her return to New Zealand last year, Hannah joined Pharmac initially in the role of Schedule Advice Lead in the Communications Team before moving to her current position as a Funding Application Advisor in the Pharmaceutical Assessment Team.

Hannah is passionate about improving patient health outcomes through a population-based approach. Outside of work, her hobbies include dancing, yoga, swimming, and travelling.

Episode 7 - Mena Alsaffar

When Mena Alsaffar, daughter of pharmacists Adam and Eman Alsaffar, was deciding her career, choosing to follow in her parents footsteps and also become a pharmacist herself was a no brainer. Mena graduated with a BPHARM from Otago University in 2015 and has now been a community pharmacist for 5 years. Becoming a pharmacy owner was not her original plan, however, she now owns and operates two community pharmacies located inside medical centres alongside her husband, Jaffer Al-jumaily, who is also a pharmacist, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Mena has 2 children (Yasmeen 4 years old and Kareem 1 years old). She is also on her way to completing the Postgraduate Certificate in Clinical Pharmacy through Auckland University to complement her knowledge and practice while she works in an interprofessional community pharmacy setting.

Episode 6 - Megan Peters

Megan Peters is a pharmacist with over 20 years experience in community pharmacy and more recently has been working in hospital pharmacy and as a primary care pharmacist. Megan is passionate about the role pharmacists have in a patient healthcare journey and the value they can add to healthcare teams as medication experts. She has a special interest in polypharmacy and appropriate medication use in the elderly, including medications in relation to falls.

Over her career she has also been involved in clinical governance roles, been involved in 2 Whakakotahi Health Quality Safety Commission projects and other local projects aimed at improving patient care.

Following the first covid lockdown in 2020 she made the decision to leave secure community pharmacy work to start her own business to contract clinical pharmacist work and locum services. Megan presents medication education sessions to patients for the Healthy Hearts programme, local heart foundation and the asthma society Better Breathers patient groups.

Episode 5 - Quincy Liu 

Quincy Liu currently the Head of Market Access at GSK NZ. His job is to bring innovative medicines into New Zealand, and involves assessing the commercial feasibility of new medicines, preparing funding applications for new medicines and commercial contracting with PHARMAC. Quincy is also a practicing pharmacist in Auckland, and co-own community pharmacies with his wife Anna. Quincy studied BPHARM in Auckland, did his internship in Dunedin Hospital, and worked in Waitakere/North Shore hospital as a clinical pharmacist before joining GSK. 

He completed a PG Diploma in Clinical Medicine from Otago, Masters in Health Science (Pharmaceutical Policy) from Auckland, and currently studying an Executive MBA degree at Melbourne Business School. Quincy and Anna have 2 children, Julia (9) and Marcus (7), and a Corgi – Bobby

Episode 4 - Judith McCartney

Judith is a clinical pharmacist at Ropata Health, a large medical centre in Lower Hutt. She has been a pharmacist for 10 years, working the first 5 years in community pharmacy before picking up part time work in general practice and continuing part time in community pharmacy.

Episode 3 - Brooke McKay

Brooke (32 years) is an independent community pharmacy owner in Upper Hutt, Wellington. She has always had a passion for pharmacy, and is performing her dream job. She first purchased shares in the pharmacy at 25 and now is the managing director with 50% shareholding. The pharmacy employs 23 staff and is open 8.30am- 9pm 7 days a week.

Brooke has two tamariki (Ada 2 and Leo 9months). Brooke is a community pharmacist with no post graduate qualifications, she has a passion and dedication to the pharmacy profession which she’s believes have made her successful so far.

Episode 2 - Michael Hammond

After graduating from the University of Auckland, Michael started his career at North Shore Hospital where he worked for a number of years in different clinical areas, before moving to develop and implement a clinical pharmacist facilitator service for the Primary Health Organisation (PHO) in Rotorua. He currently works as part of the COVID-19 Pharmacy Establishment Team leading the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine in community pharmacy across the three Auckland DHBs. 

Michael is also the project manager for the quality improvement programme Safety in Practice, as well as a number of other primary care initiatives for Waitemata and Auckland District Health Boards. To support him in this role, he also works casually as a pharmacist at Waitemata’s North Shore Hospital. He is enthusiastic about learning and continuing education; being the first New Zealand pharmacist to complete the Diploma of Leadership and Management through the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia. He is currently also the Vice-President of the National Executive of PSNZ and the Vice-President Auckland branch of PSNZ. Michael is passionate about patient safety and expanding the roles and services for pharmacy.

Episode 1 - Welcome to Pharmacy in Focus 

Introducing the Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand's latest podcast, Pharmacy in Focus. Join our host, Shirena Vasan, to learn about why PSNZ started the podcast and clips from the upcoming season.