The Pharmacy Trial Program – Asthma and Rhinitis Control has been funded by the Australian Government under the Six Community Pharmacy Agreement, to trial new approaches for pharmacy services. The program is designed to address the need to improve patient outcomes by expanding the role of pharmacists in delivering a wider range of primary health services through community pharmacy.

As one of the eight organisations involved in the program, we have created a central hub for program information and participant communications.

Asthma affects approximately 10 per cent of the Australian population and when assessed, half of these people have poorly controlled asthma.  

Program design 

Researchers are recruiting over 840 Australians with poorly controlled asthma from 80 participating pharmacies and 20 GP practices across New South Wales, Western Australia and Tasmania to take part in the trial. Health professionals involved will be remunerated for time spent participating in the trial.

The service is based on pharmacists:

  • Identifying patients with poorly controlled asthma using the Asthma Control Questionnaire
  • Assessing possible causes of poor control;
  • Referring patients with unknown causes/complex issues to their GP; and
  • Delivering the intervention to eligible patients. 

These proposed interventions can be easily integrated into pharmacists’ workflow and will be delivered through pharmacist consultations over a 12-month period. It targets three key factors associated with uncontrolled asthma:

  • Poor adherence- characterised by underuse of preventer medication and/or overuse of reliever medication
  • Suboptimal inhaler technique and/or
  • Uncontrolled allergic rhinitis

There are three arms to the trial – intervention pharmacies delivering the service, control pharmacies identifying patients then providing GP referral instead of delivering the service, and control general practices delivering usual primary care.

Program timeline

The trial in community pharmacy will commence in July 2018 and will be completed by October 2019.

Should this service prove to be cost-effective and acceptable to patients, we may see pharmacists delivering the service more widely. It’s your chance to be involved in an exciting new direction for asthma management in Australia. 

How to get involved 

Pharmacies 

Expressions of interest are now open for New South Wales and Western Australia pharmacies, with recruitment for Tasmanian pharmacies due to begin in mid-July. Pharmacies will be randomly allocated to either the intervention arm or the control arm. 

Please see the PSA or Guild websites for more information, or contact the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research.

General practices 

Practices interested in participating in the GP control arm can contact the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research to learn more about what is involved. 

For further information, please contact the Woolcock

About 

The project is a collaboration between the following organisations:

The trial’s project team is being guided by a representative Expert Advisory Group of key industry stakeholders, with the National Asthma Council Australia as secretariat. 

The Group comprises representatives from: