Pharmacists in 2023 – unlocking the future of pharmacy


A major new PSA report, Pharmacists in 2023, reveals a roadmap for the changes needed to ensure the profession’s potential is realised – and improve health outcomes for all Australians. Here is an introduction to first action point.

Pharmacists in 2023: playing a greater role in patient care, addressing the health needs of all Australians. Pharmacists recognised as the custodians of medicines safety, using their expertise to support the safety of patients with an increasingly complex range of comorbidities. Pharmacists utilising technology and precision medicines solutions to support patients in therapeutic decision-making.

Pharmacists focused on patient outcomes. Pharmacists responsible for the appropriate and judicious use of medicines. Pharmacists embedded wherever medicines are used, playing a central role in the quality use of medicines.

PSA is committed to ensuring that in 2023 pharmacists are able to practise to full scope, that they are recognised for their key role in healthcare, and that remuneration appropriately reflects their skills, training and expertise as well as the value and quality of patient care.

01  Empower pharmacists to be more responsible and accountable for medicine safety

There are 250,000 medicines-related hospital admissions in Australia each year, costing the health system $1.4 billion. Data shows that half of these are preventable. There is an urgent need for pharmacists to be empowered to lead interventions which prevent as many of these adverse effects as possible.

If medication safety was a chronic disease, it would be a National Health Priority Area. Medication errors occur when weak medication systems and/or human factors such as fatigue, poor environmental conditions or staff shortages affect prescribing, transcribing, dispensing, administration and monitoring practices, which can then result in severe harm, and even death.

Pharmacists can be the primary safeguard against inappropriate medicine prescribing. Empowering pharmacists to be the stewards of medication safety will reduce the harm from misuse, over-use and under-use of medicines.

Pharmacists will be more active in supporting safe prescribing, more active in reviewing patient safety when dispensing medicines, and more active advising consumers about using their medicines wisely.

What has to happen

Recognise medicine safety as a National Health Priority Area, empowering pharmacists to proactively identify and resolve medicines-related problems in healthcare. Review the National Medicines Policy and renew the focus on quality use of medicines.

Focus pharmacist activities on preventing medicine misadventure through practice changes in all settings. Embed pharmacists in medicine reconciliation roles at transitions of care, such as emergency departments, admissions clinics and at discharge from hospital care. Support community pharmacists in clinical handover at admission and at discharge from hospital.

Reform workplaces to enhance and measure the medicine safety contribution of individual pharmacists in all practice settings. Review clinical coding and/or document classification systems to better identify the significance of a clinical intervention in supporting medicine safety, and attribute the intervention to a pharmacist and practice setting. Implement a national reporting system for de-identified clinical interventions to measure the effect of the activities of pharmacists.

Establish a pharmacovigilance program which provides feedback on the safe and effective use of medicines. Develop national measures for medication safety as well as quality improvement programs across all settings.


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