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Annual Pharmacy student congress brings together students from Australia and New Zealand to UC

Emma Larouche

27 January 2023: University of Canberra Pharmacy students successfully hosted the 2023 National Australian Pharmacy Students' Association (NAPSA) Congress – the first time the annual event has been hosted in the nation’s capital.

The University welcomed 140 Pharmacy students from around Australia and New Zealand for the week-long event from 15 to 21 January.

“This was the first Congress in three years, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic,” NAPSA Congress Chair Zineb Medrek said.

Nine current University of Canberra Pharmacy students, including Ms Medrek, volunteered to organise the event, which was 18 months in the making.

“This has been a huge effort from all involved, in addition to full-time study and jobs,” Ms Medrek said.

The Congress program included 40 education sessions, 30 trade show stalls, and six social events, supported by 80 industry sponsors.

“We secured the highest number of sponsors in the history of the event, and overall, the feedback has been very positive.”

Students heard from several industry leaders, including the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, speaking about what the future of community pharmacy looks like, after the organisation succeeded in cutting the maximum general co-payment on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from $42.50 to $30 per prescription, which came into effect on 1 January 2023.

“Students attending the Congress also gained further insight into the incredible work that has been done with vaccinations through pharmacies,” Ms Medrek said.

“They were exposed to many opportunities, gained a whole lot of knowledge, networked with alumni and current students, and made lifelong friendships and memories.”

The event was capped off with University of Canberra Fourth Year Bachelor of Pharmacy student Ingrid Stroud winning the wildcard entry to compete in the 2023 Pharmacy Student of the Year (PSOTY) competition, facilitated by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA).

The competition showcases the knowledge, skills, and abilities of select students to the broader pharmacy profession, while giving them the opportunity to apply, and be judged on, their counselling skills.

The PSOTY wildcard is awarded to an outstanding student to compete alongside state finalists in the national PSOTY competition at this year’s PSA national conference.