Date published: 
15 June 2021
Media type: 
Media release
Audience: 
General public

The Australian Government is investing $11.7 million in medical research for pharmacists to support patients with the safe use of medicines. 

All Australians will take some form of medication throughout their lives for a number of reasons, but using medicines are not without risk. 

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia estimates 400,000 people present to emergency departments with medication problems each year, and 250,000 are hospitalised. They believe half of these events could be prevented. 

The 2020 Quality, Safety and Effectiveness of Medicine Use and Medicine Intervention by Pharmacists grant recipients tackle some of the common prescription drug issues for at-risk groups. 

This includes the growing number of Australians – more than 1.7 million people – who aren’t aware they have symptoms of chronic kidney disease (CKD). For this group, some medications are dangerous and can cause toxicity in the kidneys. 

As part of this program, University of Sydney researchers will receive almost $1.9 million to pilot a CKD screening program by community pharmacies, to identify and manage patients with the disease. 

The University of Sydney will also receive $2.3 million to develop an integrated referral pathway for Australians with osteoporosis, to help decrease the risk of falls by reducing the use of medicines that lead to falls and improve the use of anti-osteoporosis medicines for bone strength. 

The outcomes of the research undertaken through the grants will help inform ongoing work to ensure pharmacist fulfil their full scope of practice and could also inform the future Community Pharmacy Agreements. 

The grant program is funded through the Australian Government’s Preventive and Public Health Research Initiative, which forms part of the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF). 

The initiative is about supporting innovative approaches to public health challenges, particularly treating and managing chronic and complex diseases and improve the use of medicines. 

The Government’s $20 billion MRFF is a long-term, sustainable investment in Australian health and medical research helping to improve lives, build the economy and contribute to the sustainability of the health system. 

Further information about the MRFF is available on the Department of Health website

Project Recipient Funding

A Systems approach to enhancing community-based medication review 

University of Sydney 

$2,432,288 

Pharmacy-based screening and quality use of medicines in kidney disease 

University of Sydney 

$1,894,075 

The ALLIANCE Trial 

Monash University 

$2,493,400 

Safer medicines To reduce falls and fractures for OsteoPorosis (#STOP) 

University of Sydney 

$2,337,170 

Activating pharmacists to reduce medication related problems: ACTMed 

Griffith University 

$2,498,824 

Total $11,655,757
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