Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

You are here

The Top 5 – Health Services Provided by Pharmacy
Mike Da Gama
Pharmacies provide much more than prescription and OTC medicines. In fact, the Pharmacy Guild submitted a response to the Competition Policy Review Issues Paper in June 20141 , which listed 44 examples of primary healthcare services provided by community pharmacies.

Pharmacies provide much more than prescription and OTC medicines. In fact, the Pharmacy Guild submitted a response to the Competition Policy Review Issues Paper in June 20142 , which listed 44 examples of primary healthcare services provided by community pharmacies. The most common health-related services were3:

  • Medicine packing
  • Opioid Dependence Treatment (ODT) services
  • Immunisation services
  • National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) Access Points
  • Compounding services

However, the type and volume of services rendered by each pharmacy appears to differ quite broadly. In a snap poll of just eight local pharmacies, we found the top five per pharmacy covered at least 15 different services across the top 5, adding blood pressure monitoring and medicine information to the list above4.

Interestingly, in 2010 the UK Office of Fair Trading reported their top five health services nationally to include smoking cessation, supervised administration (equivalent to our ODT), Minor Ailment Scheme, Patient Group Direction and Medication Review. However, the UK study was a simple count of pharmacies that provided the services, not the frequency of services provided. Additionally, a shift from non-subsidised to subsidised services was observed following the change in control of entry regulations (also known as deregulation).5

Why does this matter to your pharmacy?

Australia does not always follow UK trends, however the British experience presents alternatives that community pharmacy could consider in the face of increasing pressure to continue providing non-subsidised services. Smoking cessation is already provided by pharmacy1 and increased emphasis on unique and relevant services brought to your local community may assist in highlighting their benefits.

In addition, record the number of services you provide, even those provided at no charge because this helps you better understand which services you should be encouraging and communicating to local communities. Of the services mentioned above, only those carrying a financial cost were captured in the POS. This obscures some of the value that you are creating for your community and makes it harder to promote these in future, e.g. Return of Unwanted Medicines – a valuable service that every community pharmacy offers free. Some pharmacies promote this as part of their overall health service offer; others don’t.

So start tracking all the services you provide today, so that you can boast to your local community how many valued services you provide, every day.

* Insight and analysis provided by Mike da Gama, Director of NostraData.

1. The Pharmacy Guild of Australia. Submission in response to the Competition Policy Review Issues Paper (Appendix C, pp 57–60). Canberra: PGA, June 2014.
2. The Pharmacy Guild of Australia. Submission in response to the Competition Policy Review Issues Paper (Appendix C, pp 57–60). Canberra: PGA, June 2014.
3. NostraData. Quantitative analysis of services by quantity recorded in POS data (n=1930 pharmacies) across 12 months. May 2017.
4. NostraData. Qualitative analysis of local pharmacies in Kew, Victoria, May 2017.
5. Office of Fair Trading. Evaluating the impact of the 2003 OFT study on the Control of Entry regulations in the retail pharmacies market. UK: March 2010, page 92.