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Guild notes Government support for contraceptive pill to be available over the counter

Urinary tract infection

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Queensland notes the Palaszczuk Government’s intention to seek Commonwealth Government support for the ‘down scheduling’ of the contraceptive pill.

Unfortunately, today’s announcement is nothing new, the Commonwealth Government changed the rules on 1 September 2013 to allow pharmacists to supply one full pack of the contraceptive pill.

Pharmacy Guild of Australia Queensland Branch President, Professor Trent Twomey said what’s needed is a comprehensive solution which goes beyond existing arrangements and simple supply.

“While ‘down scheduling’ sounds great, the PBS subsidy for S4 medicines associated with the oral contraceptive and other contraception medications needs to be maintained.

“Our advocacy efforts have brought us to this point but there is more work to be done if Queensland women are going to have the same access and ease of service as women in the UK, New Zealand and parts of Canada.

“We’ll continue to work with the Queensland Government to deliver for all women in Queensland.

“The better solution involves minor changes to the current Drug Therapy Protocols, and I would urge the Government to move now, as ‘down scheduling’ could take years,” Professor Twomey said.

Professor Twomey added that news regarding a trial to allow trained community pharmacists to provide treatment for urinary tract infections will commence over the coming weeks, is welcomed.

“In 2018 there were over 20,000 potentially preventable hospitalisations in Queensland due to urinary tract infections and kidney infections1.

“Additionally, around one in two women will experience a urinary tract infection in their lifetime2 and nearly one in three women will have a urinary tract infection needing treatment before the age of 243. If left untreated, a urinary tract infection can become a kidney infection, so it’s important to seek treatment as early as possible.

“This trial will help to support Queensland women by providing convenient, appropriate, safe and effective treatment for uncomplicated urinary tract infections,” Professor Twomey said.

“Community pharmacists are highly trained health professionals, who complete five years of higher education as well as continuing professional education. This trial will require appropriately qualified pharmacists to complete additional training to ensure safe and accurate screening, diagnosis and treatment, which may include antibiotics.

“Furthermore, community pharmacists are conveniently located with extended opening hours and no appointments necessary. This means that a women experiencing a urinary tract infection can be seen and treated immediately, to avoid further complications.

“I applaud the Queensland Government for supporting this trial, and women’s health, by enabling trained pharmacists to provide immediate treatment for uncomplicated urinary tract infections, in line with other OECD countries, including New Zealand and the UK,” Professor Twomey said.

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