Pharmacists last line of defence against medicine misadventures

Pharmacists have a vital role to play as the last line of defence against “medicine misadventures” which are responsible for more than 250,000 people being admitted to hospital every year.

In the lead up to World Pharmacist Day on September 25, Ramsay Pharmacy General Manager Michelle Lynch, said taking the wrong dose, not taking medication correctly or taking it with incompatible medicines, resulted in 400,000 presentations to emergency departments every year

“This problem costs Australia about $1.4 billion a year, but even more worrying is that it can unnecessarily cost lives,” Ms Lynch said.

On World Pharmacists Day we want to highlight the important role that pharmacists play in being that last line of defence in the community and in a hospital setting.

“About 50% of hospital admissions from medicine misadventure can be prevented,” Ms Lynch said.

“Pharmacists are not just there to dispense medication; they ensure patients have a full understanding of the correct dosage they should take and can discuss any potentially dangerous drug interactions.”

Ms Lynch said pharmacists worked closely with doctors and other health professionals every day to ensure the best outcomes possible for their patients.

“Our pharmacists have excellent working relationships with the patients local GPs or our medical team within our hospitals, to ensure the patient’s wellbeing is always at the centre of any decision or recommendation being made.”

Ramsay Pharmacy conducted more than 26,000 medicine interventions a year, helping to identify a range of issues and prevent minor to potentially fatal problems relating to medication use.

“Pharmacists need to ensure when they hand over that medication that the patient has a full understanding of the correct dosage they should take and the possibility of any dangerous drug interactions,” she said.

“Sometimes patients don’t realise that even the over the counter preparations they take regularly can interfere with medications they have been prescribed by their doctor. That’s where a well-trained pharmacist comes in.

When patients are admitted or discharged from Ramsay Private Hospitals we go through a comprehensive medication reconciliation and how to best take their medication. This helps reduce any mishaps significantly.”

Ms Lynch said the COVID-19 pandemic had highlighted the essential role pharmacists play within the community by not only ensuring the equitable supply of medicines but also providing vaccinations and valuable health advice.

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