Each year, I am asked as APP Chairman to provide my top session picks. This year’s program will be particularly diverse, as we are holding the first national pharmacy conference, face-to-face, for over a year. During this time there have been numerous challenges and changes for community pharmacy and the program aims to encompass all of these, and more.

Our international speakers presenting via Zoom will bring insight into the exciting developments in the pharmacy profession around the world. On the local Australian scene, a range of key developments will be discussed, from active script list to the largest biosimilar launch ever seen on our shores. Implementing the COVID-19 pharmacy setting vaccination program will also be a key focus.

As always, picking just 20 program highlights is a near impossible task. Numerous sessions missed the cut, so I urge you to explore the full program at www.appconference.com and bookmark your session preferences based on your professional development needs and interests.

APP Chairman’s top 20 must-attend sessions (in conference date and time order):

1/ Opening Address by The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health and Aged Care (Thursday AM)
Minister Hunt has been a staunch advocate for community pharmacy, and this is shown has been displayed in his unwavering support for pharmacies participating in the COVID-19 vaccination program. As this could well be the last APP before the next federal election, I encourage you to listen carefully to the words of the Minister. This session will also include a showcase of best practice pharmacy.

2/ The Hon Mark Butler MP, Shadow Minister for Health and Aged Care (Thursday AM)
Whilst the Shadow Minister for Health and Aged Care is relatively new to the portfolio, he knows our sector from previous roles. With a federal election scheduled to take place prior to May 2022, as an industry we need to understand Labor’s pharmacy policy. I also look forward to seeing and hearing from fellow pharmacist Emma McBride MP, Shadow Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Shadow Assistant Minister for Carers.

3/ Biosimilars in 2021 & beyond: Are you ready? (Thursday AM)
2021 is a pivotal year in Australian pharmaceutical history with the largest retail biologic, by value on the PBS, losing exclusivity. I predict adalimumab, not COVID, to be the mentioned most at APP. Join two specialists in the field, a pharmacist and myself as session moderator.

4/ World Pharmacy Council Panel Session: Scope of practice changes brought on by COVID-19 (Thursday AM)
As health systems around the world have adapted quickly to deal with the global pandemic, many countries have acknowledged the key role pharmacists can play. This session will outline the progress made and opportunities for Australia to pursue.

5/ Dadirri: Our Journey to Reconciliation (Thursday AM)
Reconciliation is an ongoing journey. Building cultural awareness and understanding cultural safety is how community pharmacies can work towards reconciliation. This process requires Dadirri – a deep reflection and contemplation. Participants in this session will reflect upon their own professional practise and explore culturally safe practices within their community pharmacy.

6/ ‘I might be a quadriplegic, but I’m your doctor’ (Thursday PM)
When medical student Dinesh Palipana suffered a severe spinal injury in a car crash, he was told his dream of becoming a doctor was over. Now he’s Queensland’s first quadriplegic doctor, working at one of the state’s busiest hospitals. Join Dr Palipana as he shares his inspiring story.

7/ Will Artificial Intelligence replace pharmacists? (Thursday PM)
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is predicted to disrupt many traditional professions including pharmacy. Join Microsoft’s National Technology Officer, Lee Hickin, who will discuss the role of AI in healthcare and showcase the risks and benefits of AI with global examples.

8/ On track – the Anna Meares story (Thursday PM)
Anna Meares is considered by many to be the greatest cyclist of all time. Despite a terrible cycling accident in 2008 which left her with a hairline fracture in her C2 vertebrae, Anna has collected 18 gold, 16 silver and 10 bronze medals at Olympic, World and Commonwealth Games level. An inspirational story worth watching.

9/ Guild Member (Proprietor) Only Breakfast: Industry Update (Friday AM)
This is the first time Guild Members will hear from the new Guild National President, Trent Twomey in a closed session for members. It is worth coming to APP for this key briefing alone!

10/ The Panel: State of the Industry (Friday AM)
One of my favourite session, always. Hear from leaders of Consumer Healthcare Products Australia, Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association, Medicines Australia, National Pharmaceutical Services Association, and The Pharmacy Guild of Australia.

11/ Consumer behaviour in a post COVID-19 world (Friday AM)
Gary Mortimer, Professor of Marketing and Consumer Behaviour, QUT Business School is one of Australia’s leading retail experts. This presentation will identify emerging consumer trends during the pandemic, review the pharmacist’s active and emerging role in combating COVID-19 medication misinformation, examine alternative ways to engage with consumers, detail how the products consumers buy have changed, and propose changes pharmacies must make to respond to these changing consumer behaviours.

12/ Creating value for the next generation of pharmacy customers: new pharmacist prescribing opportunities for natural medicines (Friday PM)
The younger, health conscious consumer is increasingly looking to their pharmacist to deliver effective natural medicine solutions to improve their health outcomes, thus negating the need to be referred by other health care practitioners. This session will highlight the importance and value of delivering product and education solutions that leverage these new prescribing opportunities through Pharmacist Only Natural Medicines.

13/ Preparing now for what’s next (Friday PM)
Michael McQueen is a bestselling author and trend forecaster. He will outline: (1) the three forms that disruption will take in the coming decade and why they create enormous opportunities for those who are prepared; (2) the common culture and mindset traps that will set any business or leader on a collision course with obsolescence – and how to avoid them; and (3) a strategic game plan for staying one step ahead of change and remaining relevant.

14/ The Aged Care Commission – changes that will impact Community Pharmacy (Friday PM)
Aged Care residents have a key relationship with their pharmacist. Is it about to change? Will there be more opportunities? In response to the Commission findings expect major news in the Federal Budget in May. You can expect new announcements with direct impact on pharmacy in some decision areas.

15/ Last Man Standing (Friday PM)
Speed skater Steven Bradbury is best known for his unlikely gold medal win in the men's 1,000 metre short track event at the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympic Games. I am such a fan of Steven - I have one of his boots framed at home! A perfect way to finish Friday’s program.

16/ The new Australian economy (Saturday AM)
My favourite Chief Economist is Craig James from CommSec. Australia, and for that matter the world, has changed markedly over the past year. What does this mean for the economy? What are the new realities, and how does they apply to Aussie businesses? The wider economy impacts community pharmacy, so don’t miss this session.

17/ Cannabis-based medicine - results of a clinical trial in cancer pain (Saturday AM)
This fascinating session will examine the results of a completed clinical study investigating the pharmacokinetics (PK), safety, and tolerability of THC and CBD cannabinoids. The knowledge base in this area of practice is increasing and pharmacists need to keep up.

18/ Panel Session: How to successfully execute an effective vaccine rollout in your pharmacy (Saturday AM)
As the COVID-19 vaccine reaches more people across Australia, what have we learned from the early rollout? In particular, what must the pharmacy industry know and do so their businesses gain the greatest benefit from a health, business and efficiency stance? The session will commence with a presentation by Queensland’s Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeannette Young, and continue with a panel session exploring the logistics and practicalities of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. The panel will discuss the immediate lessons learned, and what steps must be prepared for ongoing success across the country.

19/ International pharmacy dispensing remuneration benchmarking (Saturday AM)
The World Pharmacy Council is the leading international organisation established to represent and promote community pharmacy on a global scale, influencing bodies such as the OECD which in turn influence national policymakers. In this session the WPC's Chief Economist will explore and explain differences in approaches to dispensing remuneration between Australia's 7CPA and comparable countries.

20/ Pharmacy rentals: COVID-19 impact – where are we heading? (Sunday AM)
This session will outline some of the key takeouts from The Pharmacy Guild of Australia Rental Report. Meticulous planning is key before any rental negotiation. This is a pain point for many pharmacy owners. A session not to be missed!

After attending these sessions and more, you will be inspired to return to your pharmacy and in turn, inspire your work colleagues. I look forward to seeing you, along with thousands of pharmacists, pharmacy assistants and pharmacy industry representatives, on the Gold Coast from 20- 23 May.


APP Chairman’s top 20 highlights

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