Community pharmacy’s role in the quality use of medicines

healthcare teams

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s (PSA) Pharmacists in 2023 report indicates that empowering community pharmacists will help to prevent medicines misadventure. 

This second action point in the report demonstrates how community pharmacists can play a greater role in patient care.

02  Enhance the role of community pharmacists

Around 1.2 million Australians are estimated to have an adverse reaction to a medicine, equating to around 11% of people who have seen a GP in the last six months. This represents a significant personal impact on the people affected, and a significant burden on the resources of the health system. Many of these adverse events are preventable. Community pharmacists have long been involved in the safe supply of medicines through robust dispensing processes. But there is opportunity for them to offer so much more. Their network must be harnessed to provide a greater role in medicine management to significantly improve medicines safety, health literacy and the effective use of medicines.

What has to happen

Establish medicine safety and quality measures for dispensing activities and provision of non-prescription medicines. Demonstrate the value of individual pharmacists, pharmacies and the profession in the safe, effective use of medicines by consumers. Measure the impact of pharmacist care, especially on higher risk patients.

Implement funding approaches that recognise quality, time and complexity of patient care, giving pharmacists incentive to focus more on care which is of higher safety value and of greatest impact. This has the potential to substantially improve the quality of life for Australians using medicines, particularly those taking multiple medicines for chronic conditions. This could be achieved through establishing practice incentive payments linked to quality measures, revising remuneration models for dispensing, clinical interventions and medicine reviews to account for complexity, or moving towards a time-based consultation fee structure reflecting that more complex services generally take longer to provide.

Maximise consumer access to pharmacists by maintaining a viable and sustainable community pharmacy network. This can only happen if community pharmacies are financially viable. It is essential the Seventh Community Pharmacy Agreement (7CPA) prioritises access to community pharmacy services through remuneration measures which recognise the professional contribution of pharmacists and the business costs of providing these services.

Enhance access to complex medicines supply arrangements (e.g. dose administration aids, staged supply) targeted for the patients who need them. Access to these patients should be facilitated through remuneration models which prioritise consumers most vulnerable to medicine misadventure.


Pharmacists in 2023: For patients, for our profession, for Australia’s health system, is available for download at