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AusPharm news

Internationally recognised surgeon to speak at CPEXPO14 : 09/01/2014 :

Cardiothoracic surgeon and Chief Executive Officer of the NSW Clinical Excellence Commission, Professor Clifford Hughes AO, will lead a line-up of distinguished keynote speakers at Clinical and Practice Expo 2014, being held at the Hordern Pavilion, Sydney from 30 May to 1 June.

Before his appointment to the Excellence Commission, Professor Hughes had a 25-year career as a cardiothoracic surgeon in Sydney, giving him a wealth of experience of the practicalities of the Australian health system, how cardiovascular health services best operate and how individual professionals can make a difference in this field.

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Little change in year on year CI rates : 09/01/2014 :

Thanks to those 'listers who participated in this week's poll asking what your pharmacy's clinical intervention (CI) rate was for the 4th quarter of 2013.

Claims for this quarter are due to be submitted to Medicare by 14 January.

The results of the poll show that CI rates haven't moved much at all since the 4th quarter of 2012.

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Poll: clinical intervention rate : 08/01/2014 :

For community pharmacies it's time to submit your quarterly claim for Clinical Interventions (CIs).

We'd be interested to see what sort of CI rates pharmacies are achieving now. We did this exactly 12 months ago and would like to compare recvent CI rates with those of 12 months ago.

Please let us know, in today's AusPharm poll, what Clinical Intervention rate was achieved in your pharmacy for the last claim period - 1 October to 31 December 2013.

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New NPS Medicinewise Pharmacy Practice Review released : 08/01/2014 :

The latest Pharmacy Practice Review from by NPS MedicineWise - Medicines in older people: preventing medicines-related problem - aims to equip pharmacists with the skills to help older Australians manage their medicines safely and avoid medicines-related adverse events and hospital admissions.

The free activity highlights the risks associated with medicines use in older people and encourages pharmacists to consider the highly varied and individual ways that ageing can affect medicines efficacy and impact on their patient’s overall health.

Details are available here

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Lawyer defends diazepam, alprazolam : 07/01/2014 :

"Valium and Xanax are useful "friends" to have nearby when one is feeling particularly anxious or has been hit with a major life crisis."

So wrote prominent and influential Tasmanian lawyer Greg Barns in an article in yesterday's Hobart Mercury.

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Asia-Pacific scholarship for NMS 2014: applications now open : 07/01/2014 :

Applications are now open for the Asia-Pacific Scholarship for a passionate individual working in quality use of medicines in the Asia Pacific region (outside of Australia) to attend the eighth biennial National Medicines Symposium (NMS), Australia’s preeminent quality use of medicines forum.

Hosted by NPS MedicineWise every two years, the theme for the 2014 symposium is Medicines in health: shaping our future.

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Poll: how up to date are you with your reading? : 07/01/2014 :

One of the things that pharmacists do over the holiday season is catch up on their pharmacy reading - reading last month's (and the month before's) AJP, Australian Pharmacist and other journals.

How good are you at keeping up with your reading? Please let us know by voting in today's AusPharm poll.

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1952 prescriptions 'translated' - the winning entry : 06/01/2014 :

AusPharm received plenty of posts over the weekend 'translating' Kay Dunkley's mum's 1952 prescriptions - thanks to everyone who took the time to send along their comments. There are some great posts eliciting some deeply buried memories from our more mature 'listers.

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Board: proprietor pharmacists accountable : 05/01/2014 :

The Pharmacy Board has reminded proprietor pharmacists that, even if they are operationally silent, or present only infrequently at their pharmacy, they must 'maintain an active interest in how the practice of pharmacy is being conducted [in their pharmacy] and intervene if this practice is not appropriate'.

In its December newsletter the Board described a recent case it heard in which pharmacists who are partners in a pharmacy were cautioned by the Board for not sufficiently carrying out their responsibilities as proprietor pharmacists. In the case the pharmacy was not located in the state of the pharmacists’ principal places of practice.

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Australian pharmacists' uncertainty about homeopathic products in community pharmacy : 03/01/2014 :

New research published in the December edition of Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies suggests that, when it comes to selling homeopathic products, pharmacists are more concerned with consumer health and choice than making a quick buck on the sale.

The research, carried out by pharmacists Suzanne Schultz, Allan Evans and Elizabeth Hotham from the University of South Australia, utilised focus groups, telephone interviews and a cross-sectional survey of Australian community pharmacists. It explored the factors that influence pharmacists’ preparedness to stock homeopathic products.

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PSA: Pharmacists' skills must be better utilised to reduce pressure on GPs : 03/01/2014 :

The skills and expertise of pharmacists must be more fully utilised to provide better health services to the community and to help reduce the growing pressures on the health budget says the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA).

Commenting on proposals for a $5 co-payment fee to be applied for all visits to a GP, and possibly also for emergency department visits, PSA CEO Liesel Wett said Australia was lagging behind in making full use of pharmacists’ abilities.

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Publicly located prescription drug drop boxes in the US : 02/01/2014 :

In the USA, Fremont county in Wyoming has installed prescription drug drop boxes in publicly accessible locations for secure disposal of unwanted medications. Disposal can be done anonymously into the locked cabinets.

The scheme is funded by the State police and health departments, mindful of the fact that prescription drugs are the third most commonly abused category of drugs, after alcohol and marijuana. "Most people don’t realize most illegally sold prescription drugs come from home medicine cabinets,” states a news release about the boxes. “Keeping track of drugs, reducing the availability of drugs in the home, and getting rid of unneeded drugs are the best practices citizens can implement to fight prescription drug abuse.”

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1952 prescriptions - win an AusPharm torch : 02/01/2014 :

Thanks to Kay Dunkley for sending this along.

"I found these when cleaning out some old papers belonging to my mother recently. She was a new arrival in Australia from the UK at that time (1952).

The scripts are prior to the PBS but a tax deduction seems to apply according to the record card...."

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AMA calls for comprehensive overhaul of Medicare Locals : 30/12/2013 :

The AMA is calling on the Abbott Government to comprehensively overhaul the Medicare Locals model introduced by the previous Labor Government, including ditching the name, ‘Medicare Locals’.

The call is included in the AMA’s submission to the Australian Government's Review of Medicare Locals, which is being headed by former Chief Medical Officer, Professor John Horvath.

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Pharmacy Board: protect your data : 30/12/2013 :

Following the receipt of reports of pharmacy computers being hit by 'ransomware', the Pharmacy Board is reminding pharmacists it is their responsibility to ensure that patient records are securely stored.

Ransomware is a type of malicious software which can block access to a computer system and encrypt data such as patient files. A sum of money is then demanded by the hacker to enable unencrypted patient data to be accessed. AusPharm is aware of at least two pharmacies that have been hit by a ransomware variant, the 'Cryptolocker' Trojan Horse.

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NPS: Keep your cool when it comes to medicines : 30/12/2013 :

With the holidays upon us and the hot weather with us, NPS MedicineWise is reminding people that extremes in temperature can impact the effectiveness of medicines.

Clinical adviser at NPS MedicineWise, Dr Andrew Boyden, says that there are strategies that can be used to keep medicines safe and effective in extreme temperatures.

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Medicines in older people: preventing medicines-related problem : 30/12/2013 :

The latest Pharmacy Practice Review from NPS MedicineWise - Medicines in older people: preventing medicines-related problem - aims to equip pharmacists with the skills to help older Australians manage their medicines safely and avoid medicines-related adverse events and hospital admissions.

The free activity highlights the risks associated with medicines use in older people and encourages pharmacists to consider the highly varied and individual ways that ageing can affect medicines efficacy and impact on their patient’s overall health.

Details are available here.

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Progress report on implementation of TGA reforms : 30/12/2013 :

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has published an update on its progress towards implementing reforms recommended in TGA reforms: a blueprint for TGA's future (the Blueprint). The Blueprint was the outcome of a number of reviews into the activities of the TGA held in recent years.

Of 48 recommendations planned to be implemented by the TGA during the four year Blueprint program, four recommendations were implemented by 30 June 2012. A further 24 recommendations were implemented by 30 June 2013 (delivery of 29 recommendations was planned). A further twenty (20) recommendations will be implemented by 31 December 2015 (delivery of 15 recommendations was originally planned).

Details are here.

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Prominent harm minimisation pharmacists blast ASMI over OTC codeine reform comments : 30/12/2013 :

In a post to AusPharmList today, Chairman of PSA Victoria's Harm Minimisation Committee, Irvine Newton OAM, and Chairman of the Pharmacy Guild's Strategic Harm Minimisation in Pharmacy Committee, Angelo Pricolo, say they are outraged by claims from the Australian Self Medication Industry suggesting ASMI was a prime mover in the recent decision to include new warning statements on the label of S3 codeine-containing analgesics.
                                                                                                      
"Neither ASMI or the TGA had any direct involvement in this initiative whatsoever!", said Mr Pricolo and Mr Newton.

Their blast follows comments made last week by ASMI Executive Director, Dr Deon Schoombie, that the decision to implement voluntary label changes to S3 codeine-containing analgesics "followed months of consultation with ASMI members and the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)".

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Simplified price disclosure explained... : 23/12/2013 :

On 6 December, the Commonwealth Department of Health (DoH) conducted a stakeholder information session on issues around the implementation of the Simplified Price Disclosure process announced by the former Labor government 2 days prior to the calling of this year's federal election.

The presentation slides from the session have now been made available on the DoH website.

Click here to take a look.

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