PSSA/SAACP Symposium

PSSA and the South African Association of Community Pharmacists (SAACP), a sector of PSSA, is taking hands in hosting a two-day Symposium programme featuring a number of relevant, sometimes contentious, topics. We hope that these will offer attendees an opportunity to debate and contribute to important discussion, or just to absorb knowledge from expert speakers and panellists.

About the PSSA/SAACP Symposium

The Pharmaceutical Society of South Africa (PSSA), together with the South African Association of Community Pharmacists (SAACP), a sector of PSSA, will host a two-day symposium during the South African Pharma Exhibition (SAPHEX) on 15 and 16 March 2024 from 9h30 daily. The event will take place at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg.

The programme consists of nine sessions stretching from caring for yourself as a healthcare professional to more controversial issues that have not recently debated in an open arena. Each session has speakers from various professions, considered experts in their fields, to provide relevant information and thought-provoking guidance to solutions.

A programme highlight will be a session presented by Dr Michael Moll, a doctor and well-known speaker and producer. His presentation on Men’s Health will address a topic that is not receiving the utmost attention it deserves, probably because of the stigma and perception that is associated with speaking out on men’s health-related issues. 

Featuring frontline at this year’s event will be the build-up to the 2024 International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) World Congress on Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences that will take place from 1 to 5 September 2024 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC). For the first time in FIP’s 112 years of existence, FIP will host this congress in sub-Saharan Africa and for only the second time on African soil. It will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the pharmacy profession and industry to attend a world-class international congress in South Africa. A session will be hosted in two parts over the two days to provide more information on FIP as organisation and share more details about this event and how professionals could prepare themselves in advance to attend. Dominique Jordan, President of FIP, will join the event in person to engage and network with all attendees and to share the great excitement that 2024 will have in store for South Africa. Catch him at the PSSA and Sectors stand (A23).

The SAPHEX Symposium will address controversial health topics such as codeine, responsibility towards expired medicines, substandard and falsified medicines and electronically transmitted prescriptions. In all these sessions, representatives from the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) will participate in the discussion. 

Attendees can further look forward to hearing experts from the Vista Clinic presenting on depression and caring for their own mental health as healthcare professionals but also supporting patients on depression treatment. Lastly, healthcare professionals have an ever-increasing role to play when patients seek better advice to control their health through self-care.



15th March 2024

09:30-10:30Depression and caring for your own mental health.

As healthcare professionals, we go through a lot in our profession, regardless of the sector in which we apply our trade. We often burn out without realising it and this becomes costly for our organisations, ourselves, and our families. We must reach a stage where we draw a line and say enough is enough, we need a break.

At the conclusion of this session, attendees will be able to:
• Understand signs of burn-out
• Integrate what we learn in this topic with real-life conditions under which we work

1. Depression and caring for your own mental health
Juan Royffe (Vista Academy), Yolanda Rootman (Clinical coordinator, Vista Clinic)
10:40-12:10Codeine Care – reactivating the Initiative

The potential for medication misuse, overuse, and abuse with codeine-containing products is not new news. However, the refocused attention on this topic gained momentum when SAHPRA hosted a webinar in June 2022 with various stakeholders. Since then, the Stakeholders Forum has engaged with SAHPRA on several occasions to move this initiative forward to curb the misuse, overuse, and abuse.

At the conclusion of this session, attendees will be able to:
• Refresh their knowledge about the unique pharmacological mechanism of action of codeine
• Learn about the Codeine-care Initiative
• Acknowledge the progress made to date regarding the implementation of the initiative nationally throughout the supply chain

1. Understanding Codeine as a substance
Johann Kruger (PSSA/SAACP)

2. Codeine-care Initiative
Sham Moodley (Chair: Stakeholders Forum)

3. Status of codeine-care implementation
Daphney Mokgadi Fafudi (Manager: Regulatory Compliance, SAHPRA)
12:20-13:50Men's health: "Your Move"

Men’s health is a subject that is not receiving the attention it deserves, probably because of the stigma and perception that is associated with speaking out on men’s health-related issues. Men suffer in silence and only speak out when it is too late, whereas a timely intervention could assist in diagnosing and treating the patient.

At the conclusion of this session, attendees will be able to:
• Understand more about men’s health
• Learn how to bring forth a timely intervention in conditions that affect men
• Understand how the pharmacist can assist in promoting men’s health and thus entrench our role as a primary point of contact

1. Men’s health: “Your Move”
Dr Michael Moll (Doctor, Speaker, Producer)
14:00-14:20FIP 2024 part 1

The 82nd FIP World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences will be hosted from 1 to 5 September 2024 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, South Africa. The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) will celebrate its 112th year of existence in 2024, however, it has never hosted a congress in sub-Saharan Africa.

This will be a great opportunity for all professionals and stakeholders in the pharmaceutical environment to attend, learn, network, and grow in all things pharmacy, whether you are interested in the practice of pharmacy, pharmaceutical sciences, or pharmacy education. This is an event not to be missed, so diarise the dates and start with your planning and bookings as soon as you can.

At the conclusion of this session, attendees will be able to:
• Learn about FIP, its objects, and structures
• Understand the basic principles of the FIP World Congress
• Prioritise planning, budgets, and bookings to attend this once-in-a-lifetime event

1. Introduction to FIP
Dominique Jordan, President: International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP)
14:30-16:00Expired medicines – whose responsibility?

Legislation in the Medicines and Related Substances Act (101 of 1965) and General Regulations (2017) makes provision for the destruction of medicines and scheduled substances. The Regulations state that medicines shall only be destroyed by a waste treatment facility authorised to destroy medicines or pharmaceutical waste in terms of the National Environmental Management: Waste Act, 2008 (Act No. 59 of 2008) and that no medicines or scheduled substances other than those as determined by the Authority shall be disposed of into municipal sewerage systems.

The medical waste treatment facility has to issue a certificate containing particulars of such destructions for S0 to S4, and for S5 to S8 the particulars for such destruction must be per item, and include the quantity, date, and authorised persons present.

Although these regulations sound comprehensive and sufficient, there are several factors of the process which is not addressed:
• Where should patients deposit unused or expired medicines?
• How should unused or expired medicines be received?
• How would these unused or expired medicines be transferred to the pharmaceutical waste management facility?
• Who will carry the cost of the transfer to and destruction of unused or expired medicines by the pharmaceutical waste management facility?
Before solutions and accountability for these burning questions are not determined, full participation in the responsible destruction of medicines will not be achieved.

At the conclusion of this session, attendees will be able to:
• Understand the frustrations at pharmacy level when patients hand unused or expired medicines in, whether dispensed at that pharmacy or not
• Have insight into the cost involved in the destruction of medicines
• Find solutions for all stakeholders in the supply chain regarding the responsible destruction of medicines

1. The status quo regarding unused and expired medicines
Sim Pambuka (SAACP Vice-President)

2. Destruction of pharmaceutical waste
Martin McClintock (A-Thermal)

3. Solutions needed to ensure responsible pharmaceutical waste
Daphney Mokgadi Fafudi (Manager: Regulatory Compliance, SAHPRA)
16:10 - 16:30Ensuring an unbroken Cold Chain for vaccine storage and transportation is crucial for maintaining the safety and efficacy of vaccines.

Thermal validations are critical to verifying the effectiveness of a cold chain. To effectively execute a thermal validation an effective method for identifying the specific months for the execution of seasonal temperature mapping studies is needed. The process involves analysing temperature data from previous years to determine the months that best represent summer and winter temperatures. This presentation aims to provide an overview of the methodology for seasonal classification and the outcomes of the implementation of this method in South African context. The method and outcomes may be used as a guide for the implementation of seasonal validation by healthcare professionals to ensure that the cold chain is maintained year-round, promoting the safety and efficacy of vaccines.

Presenter: Mr. Sarantis Kosmas - Business Development Director

16th March 2024

09:30-10:45The reality of substandard and falsified medicines

As a profession, we often encounter medicines that are not registered with the relevant authorities in South Africa, SAHPRA, are unlicenced, or even falsified. This poses a challenge in our trade as the public often request that we supply them with such.
Some medicines, whose safety is not guaranteed, are bought through the internet and are not available locally. When things go pear-shaped, patients approach the pharmacist for assistance. We are not always in a position where we can assist. To the public, we then look incompetent.

At the conclusion of this session, attendees will be able to:
• Learn how to distinguish between authentic and falsified medicines
• Understand the reporting channel that we have to adopt when we encounter such medicines
• Learn more about the role of the pharmacist when encountering such medicines, within our legal obligations

1. How to distinguish between authentic and falsified medicines
Andy Gray (University of KwaZulu-Natal)

2. Reporting and investigating falsified medicines
Daphney Mokgadi Fafudi (Manager: Regulatory Compliance, SAHPRA)
10:55-12:05(Treating) Depression

In many instances, as the primary or first point of contact with patients, we talk quite substantially with patients and conclude that the actual source of the condition that is being presented is depression, more than any other thing. In most instances, the patient is not aware of the source/course of the problem, and they then displace their problem/challenge to something that is not beneficial to their well-being such as alcohol or substance abuse or another form of self-harm.

At the conclusion of this session, attendees will be able to:
• Understand depression as a cause of other ailments
• Learn how to assist the patient who presents with signs of depression
• Know when to refer and to whom, depending on the nature and severity of the condition

12:15-12:50FIP 2024 – Part 2

Background and objectives as for part one.

1. Planning towards FIP 2024
Mariet Eksteen (FIP 2024 Project Manager, PSSA)
13:00-14:15Faxed and emailed prescriptions – the dilemma with S5 and S6 medicines

With the changes in the General Regulations in 2017, whether intentionally or unintentionally, the requirement to follow-up faxed or emailed prescriptions with the original prescription within 7 working days of such communication, was omitted. This leaves a potential gap for medication abuse and overuse, as these prescriptions can be submitted at several pharmacies for dispensing. This makes it impossible for pharmacists to verify the authenticity of the prescription and the intention of the treatment if it cannot be guaranteed that the same prescription has not been dispensed somewhere else as well.

How can pharmacists responsibly manage this gap in legislation and what can be done to support them in this dilemma?

At the conclusion of this session, attendees will be able to:
• Understand the dilemma created by the publication of the current General Regulations
• Investigate the role and potential collaboration with prescribers to resolve this dilemma
• List potential solutions and actions that could resolve this dilemma

1. The dilemma around faxed or emailed prescriptions
Taki Kyriacos (SAACP Honorary Secretary)

2. Prescribers’ view on faxed and emailed prescriptions
Dr Angelique Coetzee (South African Medical Association)

3. Options to overcome the legislative gap
Deon Poovan (Senior Manager: Inspectorate and Regulatory Compliance, SAHPRA)
14:25-15:55Self-care management: pharmacists supporting patients

Supporting and empowering individuals to responsibly engage in self-care is an important part of pharmacists’ daily practice around the world. Self-care spans the whole wellness spectrum, from disease prevention to the management of symptoms and common ailments. It also encompasses interventions ranging from advice on non-prescription medicines and medical devices (often described as “over the counter”) to education on healthy diets, hygiene, and mindfulness practices.

A critical element in the provision of health screening services through point-of-care (POC) tests is to leverage the knowledge, skills, and accessibility of pharmacy professionals, particularly
in community pharmacies. POC tests may also be provided as part of a disease state management service to monitor treatment outcomes in people with chronic non-communicable diseases, such as treatment with cholesterol-lowering or diabetes control medicines. In addition, pharmacy professionals can use POC tests to intervene and provide safe and quick pharmaceutical care in acute situations. This leads to faster and more appropriate pharmaceutical care, less disease worsening, and savings in healthcare costs.

At the conclusion of this session, attendees will be able to:
• Familiarise themselves with FIP’s handbook for pharmacists on self-care
• Learn about the approach to self-care support to patients
• Understand pharmacists’ role in point-of-care testing

1. Empowering Self-care – a Handbook for pharmacists
Dominique Jordan, President: International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP)

2. Self-care in South Africa: the role of community pharmacists
Kristin Holmes (Responsible Pharmacist, Inova Pharmaceuticals)

3. Point-of-care testing in pharmacies: FIP position statement
Jameel Kariem (SAACP Honorary Treasurer)
Meet the speakers at TPS 2025
Register to attend