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AusPharm news

CHF at odds with Guild on chemo funding : 18/11/2013 :

The Consumers Health Forum (CHF) disagrees with the Pharmacy Guild's view that ongoing funding for chemotherapy services should not come from within the 5th Community Pharmacy Agreement funding pool.

CHF spokesperson Mark Metherell said on Friday “This issue has been the subject of intensive lobbying in which cancer patients have been threatened with withdrawal of treatment by some chemotherapy providers who have demanded more money on top of funding arrangements already agreed to between the Government and the Pharmacy Guild.”

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Correction : 18/11/2013 :

In last Friday's story on chemotherapy funding, we included the image at right. We were subsequently contacted by a 'lister who wrote:

'I wonder how many oncology pharmacists would take issue with this picture? Whilst the picture may not be of a chemo vial, cytotoxic chemotherapy (I hope) would never be drawn up in this way – it’s one of the reasons we need extra fees for the service we provide. The picture doesn’t do our particular sector of the industry any favours."

We apologise for our ignorance and thank our correspondent for alerting us to our error.

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RGH E‑Bulletin: Everolimus for receptor-positive advanced breast cancer : 18/11/2013 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Everolimus for receptor-positive advanced breast cancer.

"It is estimated that each year 220,000 women worldwide are diagnosed with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. In Australia in 2013 nearly 15,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer of all types. One in eight Australian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer by the time they turn 85 and it has been estimated that in 2020 approximately 17,201 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women."

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

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Facebook common amongst pharmacists, Twitter less so : 15/11/2013 :

No great surprises in this week's poll result which reveals that 2/3 of respondents use Facebook either 'a bit' or 'a lot' but only 17%, or about one in six, have taken to Twitter.

1/3 of respondents told us they don't use Facebook or Twitter at all and 'have no plans to'. Only 2% of non users said they were planning to engage with the social media platforms 'soon'.

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ASMI 2013 Conference : 15/11/2013 :

The importance of industry, policymakers and regulators putting the consumer front and centre of discussions on Australia’s future health system was a key theme of the 2013 Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) Conference in Sydney yesterday.

“This conference has drawn an array of local and international speakers to share insights on the modern-day health consumer in the context of self care, healthcare shopping habits, complementary medicines, regulatory reform and social media. Importantly, it has highlighted some of the forces that are driving quite dramatic changes to the way that the consumer healthcare industry does business and interacts with consumers,” said ASMI Executive Director Dr Deon Schoombie.

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40% of doctors reassessing statin prescribing : 15/11/2013 :

A poll in online doctor publication Australian Doctor has found that over 40% of doctors are reassessing the need for statins in their patients in light of the recent ABC TV Catalyst programs which questioned their role in cardiovascular disease prevention.

25% of all respondents said they were reassessing the need for statins in all their patients on statins with a further 16% saying they were only doing so if asked to do so by their patients. 59% said the Catalyst programs has not had any impact on their decision to prescribe statins.

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Progress on chemotherapy funding? : 15/11/2013 :

During Question Time in Federal Parliament on Wednesday, Minister for Health Peter Dutton said that the Coalition will be ensuring that the current uncertainty around the funding of chemotherapy services is addressed so that services to cancer patients are not put at risk.

The interim $60 per infusion funding provided by the previous Labor Government to address the chemotherapy shortfall ceases on 31 December 2013.

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AusPharm CPD: RGH Pharmacy E-Bulletin CPD Digest - Issue No 65 : 14/11/2013 :

The next in our 2013 series of continuing professional development activities is the RGH E-Bulletin Digest No. 65.

This CPD activity assesses your understanding of four recent RGH Pharmacy E-Bulletins, Volumes 51-11 → 52-2 (September 2013).

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Non prescription medicines industry launches social media guidelines : 14/11/2013 :

Peak non prescription medicines industry body the Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) will today launch industry guidelines on social media at its annual conference in Sydney.

According to ASMI, the guidelines aim to address the way content around non-prescription medicines should be managed in the social media space, while ensuring professional, ethical and regulatory obligations are met.

Issues covered in the guidelines include false or misleading claims, copyright infringement, defamation, breaches of confidentiality, breaches of privacy and unacceptable behaviour.

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Pharmacists taking the pledge : 14/11/2013 :

As reported on Monday, NPS Medicinewise is this week asking consumers, policy-makers, and professionals across the agricultural, veterinary and health sectors to band together to preserve the miracle of antibiotics by pledging to join the fight against antibiotic resistance.

As of early this morning more pharmacists than any other health professional group had pledged their support with 912 pharmacists among the total to date of 2614. Of the 912 pharmacists, 784 are hospital pharmacists and 128 are community pharmacists.

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More cases of prostate cancer, but survival rates improving : 14/11/2013 :

While more Australian men are being diagnosed with prostate cancer, survival rates are high and are improving, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Prostate cancer in Australia, shows that prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer), with over 21,800 new cases diagnosed in 2009.

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Loratadine scheduling decision to stand : 13/11/2013 :

The TGA has confirmed that small packs of loratadine are to remain in Schedule 2.

At its July meeting the TGA's Advisory Committee on Medicines Scheduling (ACMS) considered a proposal to move loratadine from Schedule 2 to unscheduled in oral preparations containing 10 mg or less (5mg for children less than 30kg) in packs containing not more than 5 daily doses.

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Poll: are you a Facebook / Twitter user? : 13/11/2013 :

The Australian pharmacy presence on social media has grown slowly over the last few year and, in the last few months, it has expanded significantly with the main pharmacy organisations (PSA, Guild, SHPA) now using both Facebook and Twitter regularly and frequently to get their messages out.

A few individual pharmacists have taken to Twitter with a vengeance, tweeting on pharmacy clinical and political issues. Less use seems to be made of Linked In (although perhaps AusPharm's just not well connected enough...).

Do you engage with social media through Facebook and Twitter? Please let us know by ticking the relevant box in today's AusPharm poll.

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Media Watch does a hatchet job on Catalyst : 13/11/2013 :

The bulk of Monday night's ABC TV program Media Watch focused on, and was highly critical of, the last two ABC TV Catalyst episodes.

The episodes concerned themselves with the role of saturated fats and statins in cardiovascular disease and were widely condemned as biased and sensationalist.

Click here to watch Monday's Media Watch.

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Make your computer faster with homeopathy : 13/11/2013 :

Anyone who does the rounds as a locum in community pharmacies will know that there are still pharmacies out there running *very old* computers.

Well, here's a possible way forward for those pharmacies.
 
Click below to learn how homeopathy can speed up those old early model Pentiums.

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MedsChecks: A litmus test for Pharmacy Professional services : 12/11/2013 :

There has been considerable commentary over the years on the need for Pharmacy to shift business models towards professional services. The MedsCheck program is a good litmus test to evaluate Pharmacy’s’ willingness to take those initial steps.

The MedsCheck program is unique in that it has a low implementation cost (no special training required to deliver it), it offers a good revenue stream (up to $180 /hr) and it is under the control of the pharmacist (does not require a referral like HMRs). 

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New heart failure therapy PBS listed : 12/11/2013 :

A new class of therapy for heart failure will be PBS listed from 1 December 2013.

The selective sinus node inhibitor Coralan will be reimbursed for the treatment of symptomatic moderate to severe chronic heart failure in patients with a resting heart rate of 77 beats per minute (bpm) or more.

Professor Henry Krum, Director of Monash University’s Centre for Cardiovascular Research and Education in Therapeutics, said Coralan works differently and in a complementary way to traditional heart failure therapies.

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Caution needed when buying online : 12/11/2013 :

The TGA has renewed its advice to consumers to exercise extreme caution when purchasing medicines from unknown overseas Internet sites following an investigation which has revealed a number of people in Australia have bought the product, prosolution, online.

TGA testing has confirmed the product contain both tadalafil and sildenafil.

prosolution tablets have not been assessed by the TGA for quality, safety or efficacy as required under Australian legislation, and the place of manufacture is not approved by the TGA.

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SHPA: 7 days/week clinical pharmacy services needed in hospitals : 12/11/2013 :

A recent study published in BMJ Quality and Safety showed that patients admitted to hospital on weekends have a significantly increased risk of death and are also likely to require multiple medicines and be most at risk of medicine-related problems.

In an editorial in SHPA's Journal of Pharmacy Practice and Research last year Professor Jo-anne Brien highlighted this issue after the publication of an English study which found that admission on a weekend was associated with a considerable increase in risk of subsequent death compared to admission on a weekday. She urged pharmacists “to consider the possible impact of delays and potential ‘gaps’ in our capacity to respond to clinical risks for our patients”.

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MIMS Monthly Medicine Update : 11/11/2013 :

The MIMS November 2013 Monthly Medicine Update is now available. Click the link to read it now.

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