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AusPharm news

RGH E‑Bulletin: Nicotinamide for skin cancer prevention : 30/11/2015 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Nicotinamide for skin cancer prevention.

"A recent study published in the New England Journal of medicine (ONTRAC) was conducted at the Royal Prince Alfred and Westmead Hospitals in Sydney, investigating the use of nicotinamide for non-melanoma skin cancers and actinic keratosis. It is well known that non melanoma skin cancers such as basal cell carcinomas (BCC) and squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) are the most common cancers in white populations and in Australia are four times more common as all other cancers combined."

Click here to read the bulletin in full. The E‑Bulletins are archived on the AusPharmList website here.

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Updated list of medicines schedules published : 27/11/2015 :

A new version of the Australian Poisons Standard (SUSMP No. 9) has been published.

The Poisons Standard classifies medicines and poisons into Schedules for inclusion in the relevant legislation of the States and Territories. Those schedules most relevant to pharmacy are Schedules 2, 3, 4 and 8.

The Standard also includes model provisions about containers and labels, a list of products recommended to be exempt from these provisions, and recommendations about other controls on drugs and poisons.

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29,150 pharmacists : 27/11/2015 :

The Pharmacy Board has published details of the Australian pharmacy workforce as of 30 September, 2015.

On that date there were 29,150 registered pharmacists on the Board's books including 1,750 pre-regs.

NSW had the highest number of pharmacists with 31% of the total followed by Victoria (25%). 61% of pharmacists are under 40 years of age and 61% of pharmacists are female.

Details are here.

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Vic government expands role of pharmacies in health care : 27/11/2015 :

Victoria's Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy, yesterday called for tenders to deliver the Victorian Government’s Super Pharmacies Initiative, which will see the delivery of five, 24-hour, 7-day-a-week pharmacies by June 2016 and 20 by 2018.

 

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'Great majority' of patients using OTC codeine 'responsibly' or not? : 27/11/2015 :

One of the arguments used by pharmacy and industry groups to oppose the proposed up-scheduling of Schedule 2 and 3 codeine containing medicines to prescription only (S4) status is that 'the great majority of consumers use codeine containing analgesics appropriately'.

The result of this week's AusPharm poll (and of an identical poll in June 2014) suggests this may not necessarily be so.

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PSA16 about leading pharmacy innovation : 26/11/2015 :

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s national conference, PSA16 will be held at Sydney’s most exciting new hotel and convention space - Four Points by Sheraton, Darling Harbour from 29-31 July, 2016.

The venue was announced at a function in Sydney earlier this month to launch PSA16.

At the launch, PSA National President Joe Demarte said that PSA16 will continue to lead pharmacy innovation, understanding that the future of the profession and the industry is in innovation, diversity and expanded and new models of practice.

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Naloxone to go S3 : 26/11/2015 :

With the focus on codeine scheduling last week, other scheduling decisions announced by the Department of Health scheduling delegate did not receive much attention.

The delegate confirmed a number of other interim decisions announced in October including:

  • the creation of a new Schedule 3 entry for naloxone when used for the treatment of opioid overdose
  • that orlistat will remain in Schedule 3
  • the down-scheduling of some hydrocortisone / antifungal preparations from Schedule 3 to Schedule 2
  • that esomeprazole, in oral preparations containing 20 mg or less per dosage unit for the relief of heartburn and other symptoms of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, in packs containing not more than seven days’ supply, be down-scheduled from Schedule 3 to Schedule 2
  • that a number of proton pump inhibitors be included in Appendix H, allowing their advertising direct to consumers

Full details are here.

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Peak body keeping the pressure on to PBS list new Hepatitis C drugs : 26/11/2015 :

Hepatitis Australia has used data included in The impact of pharmaceutical innovation on premature mortality, hospital separations, and cancer survival in Australia  - published yesterday - to continue its push for new hepatitis C medicines to be PBS listed.

The report reveals that premature deaths in Australia from liver disease fell by only three per cent between 1998 and 2011, compared with a 42 per cent reduction in deaths from heart disease over the same period.

Hepatitis Australia CEO Helen Tyrrell said this discrepancy was directly attributable to a lack of investment in the prevention of liver disease - often caused by untreated viral hepatitis.

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MIMS PSA Victorian Intern of the Year : 26/11/2015 :

Xavier Agostino from the MyChemist Northland is the 2015 MIMS PSA Victorian Intern of the Year.

He was presented with his award by Dinah Graham from MIMS at the recent Victorian Pharmacists Dinner.

Xavier’s nomination said that Mr Agostino’s leadership skills and previous experience working in community pharmacy were a welcome addition to the pharmacy team.

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Terms of Reference released for Review of Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation : 26/11/2015 :

The Terms of Reference for the Review of Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation were released by the Department of health yesterday. We've reproduced these in full below.

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Poll: how often do you suspect off-label intent in customer requests for codeine containing analgesics? : 25/11/2015 :

Given the recent focus on the scheduling of Schedule 2 and 3 codeine containing products (and the extent to which they're misused) we're wondering how pharmacists requests for these products.

Are you suspicious of customers intentions when fielding requests for codeine containing analgesics? Or are most requests genuine?

Please let us know what you think by voting in this week's AusPharm poll.

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‘for-benefit’ pharma company launched : 25/11/2015 :

Australia’s first ‘for-benefit’ pharmaceutical company is to be launched today.

For Benefit Medicines’ (FBM) sole purpose is to distribute equally, 100 per cent of profits generated from the sale of its two generic aromatase inhibitors, Anastrozole FBM and Letrozole FBM, to Australian patient support and medical research organisations - Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) and Breast Cancer Institute of Australia (BCIA). 

According to Professor Bruce Mann, Director of the Breast Service at Royal Melbourne and Royal Women’s Hospitals, and Board member of BCNA, the concept of a for-benefit pharmaceutical company is way overdue, and an initiative from which patients stand to significantly benefit.

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Government response to Harper Review leaves pharmacy alone - for now : 25/11/2015 :

The Turnbull Government has released its response to the Harper National Competition Policy Review and, unsurprisingly, has deferred taking action on Recommendation 14 - to remove pharmacy location and ownership restrictions.

The government says it recognises the need for competition in the pharmacy sector, including that the location rules should be examined closely, but will wait for the outcome of a 6th Community Pharmacy Agreement 'independent public review of pharmacy remuneration and regulation'.

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Chemist Warehouse group hit with $32,400 ACCC infringement notice over online ads : 25/11/2015 :

Epharmacy Group Pty Limited (Epharmacy), the owner of the websites for Chemist Warehouse, My Chemist, and Epharmacy, has paid penalties totalling $32,400 following the issue of three infringement notices by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. 

The ACCC said yesterday it issued three infringement notices to Epharmacy because 'it had reasonable grounds to believe that Epharmacy made false or misleading representations that consumers would save money off the recommended retail price (RRP) for certain Healthy Care branded products purchased through the Chemist Warehouse, My Chemist, or Epharmacy websites, when this was not the case'.

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Pharmacy review panel named : 25/11/2015 :

The makeup of the panel charged with the 6CPA 'comprehensive, independent review of pharmacy remuneration and regulation' has been announced.

Speaking at the Pharmacy Guild's annual dinner at Parliament House last night Health Minister Sussan Ley said the panel would be chaired by Professor Stephen King, a Professor of Economics and former Dean at Monash University.

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Indigenous Australians more likely to be at risk for, and die from, CVD, diabetes and kidney disease : 24/11/2015 :

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are more likely than other Australians to have, be hospitalised for, and die from cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease—and at younger ages - according to a new report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic kidney disease - Australian facts: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, shows that in 2011–13, 27% of Indigenous adults had cardiovascular disease, compared with 21% of non-Indigenous adults.

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Changes to medicine names : 24/11/2015 :

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has announced plans to update some medicine ingredient names used in Australia to align with names used internationally.

Some changes are minor, for example changing a 'y' to an 'i', and will not affect how the ingredient name is pronounced - for example amoxycillin becomes amoxicillin.

Some other changes are more significant. For these products, medicine labels will need to use both the old and new ingredient name for an additional three years after the end of the transition period to help consumers and healthcare professionals become familiar with the new name.

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New Pharmacists Support Service video : 24/11/2015 :

The Pharmacists Support Service has released a new video detailing its services and its history. Click on the image to watch it now.

PSS provides a listening ear over the telephone to pharmacists and pharmacy interns and students - it also receive calls from family, friends, colleagues and pharmacy staff who are concerned about a pharmacist. The volunteers who take the calls are all pharmacists and are trained in the crisis model of telephone counselling to support their colleagues.  Training and support for the volunteers is provided by psychologists.

Call 1300 244 910.

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Victorian Pharmacist Medal goes to Swan Hill community pharmacist : 24/11/2015 :

Fiona Robertson, a community pharmacist at Swan Hill, is the 2015 recipient of the Victorian Pharmacist Meda.

The Medal recognises the contribution of pharmacists at the grass root level in improving the health outcomes and wellbeing of the general public.  Through this award the Victorian State Branch Committee seeks to tell the stories of the work of the many quiet achievers within the pharmacy profession.

Ms Robertson works full time at the Marraboor Pharmacy where she has been a partner since 1997. A graduate of the Victorian College of Pharmacy in 1986, she was inspired from about age 10 by her maternal grandmother who was a pharmacist.

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Medicines Australia: PBS medicines save $7 billion in hospital costs : 24/11/2015 :

A new industry commissioned report has concluded that investing in new medicines pays for itself by reducing other public health expenditure.

The modelling, published in The impact of pharmaceutical innovation on premature mortality, hospital separations, and cancer survival in Australia, was conducted by American economist Professor Frank Lichtenberg.

Commenting on the new report this morning Medicines Australia CEO Tim James said the study shows that taxpayers and patients are getting value for money from government investment in the PBS.

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