As your health care destination, UFS provides you with trained professionals in our stores to offer health advice, support, and assistance in selecting the most appropriate products to suit your needs.

In this section of the website we provide some general information on some of the more frequently asked questions. Remember to always consult a health care professional for advice specific to your needs.

Medication costs

In Australia, we are lucky to have a Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme [PBS] which provides medication at such subsidised rates.

Most medications cost a maximum of $41 for general patients or $5.60 for pensioners and concession card holders.

Patients who are likely to reach their safety net may choose to opt out of receiving the $1 discount, to avoid delaying reaching the threshold, and pay the $6.60. Speak to your pharmacist if you would like further details.

If medications weren’t subsidised, we could be paying up to several hundred dollars for each medication.

There are a small number of medications which are not on the PBS and therefore not subsidised. In these cases, you are required to pay full price for these medications.

Is the generic brand exactly the same?

Before a generic medication is placed on the market, it must undergo stringent testing to ensure it is the same quality etc. as the original medication.

Pharmacists cannot dispense a generic medication if it is not what’s called “flagged” as being proven the same as the medication you have been prescribed.

Also, if your doctor does not wish you to have the generic product, they will indicate this on your prescription. If you have any concerns with being dispensed the generic, please discuss this with your doctor and pharmacist.

Why do prescriptions take 15 minutes or so?

Once a prescription is presented for dispensing, there are a set of procedures that need to be followed.

This includes recording all relevant details such as name, address, Medicare card number, pension number, etc. The patient’s history needs to be checked to ensure there are no interactions with other medications or conditions and there are no allergies to any prescribed medications.

The dose must be checked to make sure it’s safe and appropriate for the patient.

It then must be entered into the computer and all appropriate information added to the patient’s history. If there are any problems, the prescribing doctor must be contacted to discuss the situation.

The product must then be selected and labelled with all relevant information. (e.g. refrigerate etc.) Some prescriptions also require further paperwork to be completed.

The finished prescription should be checked again before handing out. Often, particularly at busy times of the day or year, prescriptions will take longer than ten minutes.

Why do I need to show my medicare card?

As you’re probably aware, the government requires us to record your Medicare card number before dispensing a prescription as a pharmaceutical benefit.

This is to ensure that only eligible people receive their medications on the (PBS) Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme at the subsidised price. We therefore need to check that the medicare number on record is correct and up to date.

The only way we can do this is to see your Medicare card each time you have a prescription dispensed.

What can I give my child for constipation?

Constipation in children can be difficult and complex. Firstly, we must clarify constipation. Constipation is defined as “difficult” or infrequent passage of faeces. This means the stools are hard and difficult to pass, or it has been quite some time since last passing a stool.

It is important to note that not everyone, particularly children, pass stools every day. Some babies, particularly when breastfed only pass stools once a week. During toilet training this can be a sign of resistance, which can be difficult to overcome. Patience and positive reinforcement is necessary. Re-assessing the child’s readiness for toilet training may also be required. If the infrequency is not associated with toilet training, several questions need to be asked: –

  • How long since the child has gone to the toilet?
  • Are they showing signs of wanting to go?
  • Are they straining?
  • Are “pebbles” being passed?
  • Are they in any pain?
  • How regular are they usually?
  • Are they on any medication (as some can cause constipation)?
Usually, the first step is to increase fluid intake (ie. water). If the child is going every few days and the stools are not hard, then this is OK. If they are straining and in pain, increase fluid and products containing fibre. Prune juice is also good. If the child is still constipated or in any pain, consult your pharmacist or health care professional.

Why do you have to discard eye drops after 28 days?

Eye drops have preservatives in them to ensure the sealed product remains sterile until the expiry date

After opening however, the preservative can only ensure the drops are safe for the eye for a period of 28 days. After this, using the drops can cause serious damage to the eye as bacteria may have been introduced.

The ingredients themselves will also not be as effective and could be dangerous. Always record the date eye drops are opened and do not use them after 28 days. Some eye drops now have longer expiry dates after opening – always check the packet.

How do I dispose of sharps (discarded needle and syringe)?

Your local UFS Pharmacy can safely dispose of sharps for you. Please return sharps in an appropriate sharps disposal unit (available for purchase from UFS Pharmacies).

If you find a discarded needle or syringe

  • Do not be alarmed
  • Get a rigid-walled, puncture resistant, plastic container with a well-secured lid, preferably screw top. Avoid using glass which can shatter, aluminium that can be squashed or frosted plastic that may not be puncture-proof.
  • Bring the container to the needle and syringe, and place on the ground next to the needle and syringe. Do not hold the container as you are putting the syringe in it.
  • Pick up the used needle and syringe by the blunt end, away from the point. Do not touch the sharp point.
  • Do not try to put the plastic protective cap back on a needle if it has been removed.
  • Put the needle and syringe, point first into the container. More than one needle and syringe can be placed in the container, but do not overfill. Do not carry the needle and syringe unless it is in a suitable container.
  • Make sure the container is tightly sealed.
  • Take the container to a Pharmacy or other facility with a sharps disposal unit. Do not put needles and syringes down toilets, in recycling bins or post boxes

If someone is injured by a discarded needle and syringe, do not panic. Take reasonable care and follow these steps:

  • Wash the area gently with soap and running tap water as soon as possible.
  • Apply an antiseptic and a clean dressing.
  • Obtain prompt medical advice from your local doctor or hospital emergency department, preferably within 24 hours.
  • Use the above steps to dispose of the needle safely.

* Information sourced from Safe Disposal of Syringes from the WA Government website.

How do I know if I am allergic to medication?

Basically, anything you experience which is “different” to normal after beginning a new medication can be an allergic reaction. Skin rashes are the most common allergic reaction to medication, but some reactions can be as severe as to lead to difficulty breathing.

If you experience any symptoms that worry you after beginning new medication or even if you begin to experience something different with an established medication – talk to your doctor immediately.

What’s the best product for head lice?

Head lice is very common in children, especially once they start childcare, pre-school and school.

It’s important to note that head lice actually prefer clean hair, so if your child does have head lice, there is nothing to be embarrassed about.

Lice look like little insects without wings. They lay their eggs, called nits, near the base of the hair, close to the scalp. The nits look like little grains of sand stuck on the hair shaft. They cause itchiness and can be spread by close contact. It is important to check your children for head lice regularly and if they are evident it is important they are treated to prevent lice spreading to others.

You only need to use a head lice treatment if you actually have head lice: using head lice preparations where lice are not evident does not prevent head lice. It can irritate the scalp and cause resistance to that preparation.

Ask your Pharmacist which is the best head lice treatment for you. There are many products available, including some natural ones which are also very effective. Remember to always use the product as per the instructions. In many cases, a second treatment is needed after 7 days.

Once a product is used, the nits will still be present and need to be removed with a fine tooth comb. To make it easier to remove the nits, you can put olive oil through the hair or spray a mixture of vinegar and water onto the hair, then use the fine tooth comb to remove.

Using tea-tree oil mixed with water and sprayed onto the hair daily can sometimes prevent head lice. Some people also spray a small amount of hairspray onto the hair each day, making it harder for the lice to attach themselves to the hair shaft.

Note that even after treatment, the head can still be itchy for up to a week. So if there are no lice or nits present, there is no need to worry.

Remember to inform the school and parents of any other children your child has been playing with, so they can check their hair for evidence of lice also.

Codeine medication

As of 1 February, 2018, products containing codeine are not available without a prescription.

How will this affect me?
You will need to see your doctor for a prescription for medication containing codeine or consider one of the many other alternatives to codeine. Alternatives include conventional medicines, natural medicines, non-medicine approaches and topical (on skin) treatments.

Did you know?
Some anti-inflammatory products (eg. Nurofen and Voltaren) may not be suitable for everyone and should not be used long term without medical supervision.

Ask your UFS Pharmacist
Our pharmacists are trained to assess your pain relief needs and can advise you on the most clinically appropriate therapy to manage your pain.

Why is folic acid so important during pregnancy?

Daily oral supplementation with folic acid is important not only during the 1st trimester of pregnancy, but in the month prior to conception as well.

This substantially reduces the likelihood of defects such as spina bifida.

Although we get some folic acid in our diet, this is usually not enough to give us adequate protection.

It is as simple as taking one folic acid tablet per day. This is easily obtained from your local pharmacy.

If you are planning a pregnancy – begin taking folic acid straight away as it is better to be taking it before you actually fall pregnant.

If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your local UFS Pharmacist or health care professional.