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AusPharm news

TGA consultation: Draft OTC medicine monographs for topical imidazole antifungals, topical nasal decongestants and pholcodine : 03/12/2013 :

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is seeking comments from interested parties on draft OTC medicine monographs for topical imidazole antifungals, topical nasal decongestants and pholcodine. The monographs are intended to be published for use by manufacturers in applying to register OTC medicines through a new (N2) registration process.

The N2 application route for registration of OTC medicines is intended to enable faster, more efficient approval to market for well-established, lower risk OTC medicines that are compliant with an applicable OTC medicine monograph. OTC medicine monographs have already been published for aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen. Progressive development and publication of further monographs is intended.

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CHF backs Grattan : 03/12/2013 :

The Consumers Health Forum has come out in support of the Grattan Institute report, published on Sunday, which recommends the abolition of price disclosure for PBS medicines and its replacement with a system of benchmarking PBS prices against international comparisons.

CHF spokesperson Mark Metherell said "What Australia needs to do is overhaul the current slow and sub-optimal pharmaceutical pricing system to ensure our medicine prices reflect international market realities."

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Chemo funding uncertainty over : 02/12/2013 :

Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced yesterday that more than $82 million in additional funding has been allocated, through the PBS, for ongoing funding for the preparation and dispensing of chemotherapy infusions.

The new PBS funding will commence from 1 January 2014 and will provide $152.66 per infusion.

Pharmacy Guild Executive Director David Quilty welcomed the announcement saying the Guild was relieved that the funding will not be coming out of Community Pharmacy Agreement.

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National recognition for Webstercare innovation : 02/12/2013 :

Australian leader in medication management systems, Webstercare, was named Australia’s sixth Most Innovative Company for 2013 by business magazine BRW as part of its Annual 50 Most Innovative Companies survey.

BRW specifically highlighted Webstercare’s MedsPro System utilising the Virtual Pill Count (VPC) software as the point of innovation that impressed the judges.

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RGH E‑Bulletin: Heart failure and diabetes mellitus (part two) : 02/12/2013 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Heart failure and diabetes mellitus (part two).

"As discussed in last week’s E-Bulletin 52(10), multiple comorbidities are often present in patients with type 2 diabetes: research suggests that for these people, the risk of cardiovascular complications over a five year period is doubled relative to those without. There remains a degree of uncertainty regarding optimal management of these patients, as they are mostly excluded from trials. Very intensive glycemic control has been shown to be associated with increased cardiovascular and all-cause mortality, but it is unclear whether this is due to a particular glucose lowering strategy or a specific therapeutic agent."

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

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Grattan: dump price disclosure for benchmarking : 02/12/2013 :

In a new report published last night the Grattan Institute's Stephen Duckett and Peter Breadon argue that benchmarking Australian drug prices against international comparisons would deliver consumers and taxpayers a much better outcome than the PBS price disclosure process.

The report advocates for the establishment of an independent pricing authority to set prices for PBS drugs based on international benchmarks and allow drug companies to sell at that price. This model, says Grattan, would still allow choice for consumers, just as the current system does – any manufacturer would still be free to sell the drug.

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Only two faulty Panadol syringes confirmed by GSK : 29/11/2013 :

The result of this week's AusPharm poll suggests that pharmacists are not being bombarded with questions from consumers about the faulty Panadol Baby Drops syringes said to be in circulation - 74% of respondents working in pharmacies report no questions from consumers about this.

A few respondents told us they had either 'several' or a single faulty syringe returned to their pharmacies but we think it likely that these repondents misread our poll question. GSK told us late yesterday that it had received only two confirmed reports of faulty syringes and neither of these reports had come from pharmacies.

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PSA life membership for ACT pharmacist Bill Arnold : 29/11/2013 :

Canberra pharmacist Bill Arnold has been made a Life Member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia in recognition of his life long service to the profession and the Society.

Announcing the honour at a function last night in Canberra, PSA ACT Branch President, Associate Professor Greg Kyle said Mr Arnold had been a stalwart of the PSA Branch for many years.

“Bill has been a very active member and his ongoing commitment to the profession and the community is an example that many other pharmacists look up to,” Associate Professor Kyle said.

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Alderman takes up prestigious international role as CCGP Chair : 28/11/2013 :

South Australian pharmacist, Associate Professor Chris Alderman, has taken up a position as Chair of the US based Commission for Certification in Geriatric Pharmacy. He is the first Australian and the first non US CCGP Chair.

The Commission for Certification in Geriatric Pharmacy offers a voluntary certification program for pharmacists, with a focus on geriatric pharmacy practice. CCGP accreditation is one of three acceptable pathways to medication review accreditation for Australia pharmacists.

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GMiA stays on song over reduced PBS copayments for generics : 28/11/2013 :

The Generic Medicines Industry Association (GMiA) continues to push its key message that there should be a lower PBS copayment for generic medicines.

In its submission to the National Commission of Audit that outlines activities to improve efficiency and eliminate wasteful spending on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) GMiA says 'sensible policies' should be introduced 'that promote and encourage the uptake of affordable generic medicines and ensure the ongoing viability of the generic medicines sector'.

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Guild push on primary care services for pharmacies : 28/11/2013 :

The Pharmacy Guild has announced plans to develop and implement a range of primary health care services, focusing on four key areas: medication management; wellness, screening and prevention; minor ailments; and chronic disease management.

According to the Guild, the particular services have been identified following widespread stakeholder consultation and have been assessed under selection criteria designed to ensure they are acceptable to consumers, pharmacists and potential payers.

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AusPharm CPD: Irritable Bowel Syndrome : 27/11/2013 :

The next AusPharm CPD topic for 2013 is  Irritable Bowel Syndrome - it's been put together for us by Dr Jenny Gowan.

"Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common gastrointestinal conditions. It affects about 15% of the population of Western countries and probably a similar proportion in Asia. The aetiology and pathogenesis of IBS are not well understood."

This activity has been accredited for 1 hour of Group Two CPD (1 CPD Credit) that may be converted to 2 Group Two CPD Credits upon successful completion of the corresponding assessment for inclusion on an individual pharmacist's CPD Record. Accreditation number: A1312AP0.

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Would you like the generic form of this medication? : 27/11/2013 :

A recent survey of 1,000 adults who take prescription medication found that the question most asked of them by pharmacy staff was "Would you like the generic form of this medication?".

The second most commonly asked question was "Have you taken this medication before?".

Only 28% of survey respondents were asked whether they would like information about their medicines.

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New dextropropoxyphene supply conditions in play soon : 27/11/2013 :

New conditions around the supply by pharmacists of the dextropropoxyphene containing pain-killers Di-Gesic and Doloxene will come into effect soon.

As previously detailed on AusPharm, a completed and signed Prescriber Confirmation Form will needs to be provided to the dispensing pharmacist for the initial supply, but not for repeats from that same prescription, even if they are dispensed at a different pharmacy.

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More on the Children's Panadol Baby Drops recall : 27/11/2013 :

The TGA yesterday published further, clarifying information regarding the recall of Children's Panadol Baby Drops being undertaken by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), in conjunction with the TGA, for a misaligned dosing syringe that could lead to accidental overdoses.

It's on the TGA website, here.

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Poll: have you seen an actual faulty Panadol Baby Drops syringe? : 27/11/2013 :

The general sentiment on AusPharmList over the last few days is that official notification to pharmacies of the possible problem with misaligned Panadol Baby Drops syringes was both poorly communicated to pharmacies and not communicated in a timely fashion. That said, pretty much every pharmacy group in the country has posted frequent updates about the recall on both Facebook and Twitter this week.

However, AusPharm is wondering whether anyone has actually had a consumer return a faulty syringe? Please let us know by ticking the relevant box in today's AusPharm poll.

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Have you renewed your registration as a pharmacist? : 27/11/2013 :

Pharmacists due to renew their registration with the Pharmacy Board of Australia have until midnight this Saturday to do so.

More than 25,700 pharmacists with general or non-practising registration are due to renew by 30 November. As of a week ago - 20 November - more than 85% cent of pharmacists had already renewed their registration, almost all of these doing so online.

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Input sought on advisory statements for OTC ocular preps : 26/11/2013 :

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is seeking comments from interested parties on advisory statements for chloramphenicol, propamidine, dibromopropamidine and sulfacetamide, when included in non-prescription medicines for ophthalmic use. The advisory statements are for inclusion in the Required Advisory Statements for Medicine Labels (RASML) when it is next updated and would be required on the 'labels' of non prescription medicines containing these drugs.

Through the consultation process, the TGA is requesting comment that will help ensure that the proposed advisory statements are appropriate and support the quality use of medicines for non-prescription products containing chloramphenicol, propamidine, dibromopropamidine and sulfacetamide for ophthalmic use.

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Biased MJA Insight article trumpets 'no health benefits from a pharmacy-led medication adherence intervention' : 26/11/2013 :

An article in this week's MJA Insight, No benefit in pharmacist intervention, quotes Dr Evan Ackermann, chair of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners’ National Standing Committee for Quality Care, "... there [is] no evidence to support medication interventions in primary care, or for medication reconciliation by a pharmacist at hospital admission or discharge."

Dr Ackerman was commenting on a study, published in a recent JAMA, which found that a multifaceted pharmacist led intervention in a group of US veterans, despite demonstrating improvements in adherence to cardiac medications, did not appear to lead to significant improvements in clinical outcomes (lower BP and LDL cholesterol levels).

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Peak pharma group critical of Productivity Commission PBS analysis : 25/11/2013 :

The Productivity Commission's research Paper, An Ageing Australia: Preparing for the Future, released on Friday, forecasts government PBS expenditure increasing from its current level of about $10 billion a year to $40 billion a year by 2060. The forecast is based on data that shows the percentage of older Australians will increase markedly in the next 4 decades and that over 55s make up the bulk of PBS expenditure.

However, peak Australia pharma group, Medicines Australia, says the report has missed the key point, which is that Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme expenditure is sustainable.

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