Pharmacists to benefit from respiratory care boost

asthma management

A new specialist taskforce has been formed to provide Australians living with asthma and other chronic respiratory conditions with more coordinated and effective care from their local pharmacist.

Chaired by Woolcock Institute of Medical Research respiratory expert Professor Sinthia Bosnic-Anticevich, the newly formed taskforce is set ensure community pharmacists are better supported to educate people about respiratory conditions, support correct medication use and identify those high-risk patients who need additional medical care.

“Pharmacists are uniquely positioned at the coal face to identify the key issues with a person’s asthma or COPD and direct them towards the right kind of care,” says Professor Bosnic-Anticevich.

“They have far better access to patients than any other healthcare provider, but too often this access is underutilised, and opportunities to check, monitor and advise both patients and prescribers are lost.

“Through the formation of this specialist taskforce, pharmacists will be better informed about new emerging treatments and changes in disease management guidelines, and better able to effectively help these patients,” she says.

The Respiratory Pharmacy Taskforce, established by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA), as part of the Respiratory Care Community of Specialty Interest, is made up of pharmacy respiratory experts, leaders within the pharmacy profession, consumers, respiratory physicians, GPs, and representatives from the Lung Foundation Australia, National Asthma Council and Asthma Australia. It is headed by Professor Bosnic-Anticevich, a global expert in respiratory medicines use, and includes fellow Woolcock pharmacy specialist, Professor Bandana Saini. The taskforce will meet over the next two years to focus on asthma management initially and then extend to COPD.

Among the most important objectives, the taskforce will set up a specialist respiratory leadership team that will keep pharmacists abreast of the latest disease and treatment developments. It will also establish a highly organised national network of community pharmacists to engage with on respiratory issues, and seek feedback on the current status of asthma management in pharmacies through a national survey.

“We’ll also be articulating the key skills and knowledge that every practising pharmacist needs in order to meet the modern-day needs of patients with respiratory issues, and then working with accrediting bodies to ensure the profession can acquire these new competencies,” says Professor Bosnic-Anticevich.

“Importantly, the group will also build a community of respiratory pharmacist experts who can communicate key messages around asthma and COPD and support education initiatives across Australia.