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AusPharm news

RGH E‑Bulletin: Pholcodine and neuromuscular blockade : 23/11/2015 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Pholcodine and neuromuscular blockade.

"Pholcodine is an over the counter medicine in Australia that is used for the relief of dry cough. Pholcodine (3-(2morpholinoethyl) morphine is a morphine molecule derivative with a morpholino side-chain. Unlike morphine, pholcodine does not relieve pain, or cause significant respiratory depression or CNS excitation. It is thought to have no euphoric properties and there is no apparent significant risk of addiction. Pholcodine is available in products as a single ingredient, but is also present as an ingredient in various cough and cold preparations that include multiple active ingredients."

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

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Review proposes reforms for 'listed' medicines : 23/11/2015 :

The second, and final, report from the Independent Review of Medicines and Medical Devices Regulation (the Sansom Review) has been released.

Amongst its 58 recommendations are several aimed at strengthening the onus on the manufacturers of complementary (and other 'listed') medicines to produce (and publish) evidence in support of the therapeutic claims they make for their products.

One recommendation is that products must state on their label whether or not they have been assessed for efficacy (ie they do what they say they do).  Another provides a pathway for manufacturers to self-declare the compliance of a product with regulatory standards and register their products without prior assessment by the TGA. Acknowledging this, another recommendation is that post market surveillance by the TGA of 'listed' products be strengthened.

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Call for ‘cultural shift’ on antibiotic use : 23/11/2015 :

NPS MedicineWise has used the conclusion of Antibiotic Awareness Week (16-22 November) to call for a ‘cultural shift’ in the way antibiotics are used in Australia to combat the serious health issue of antibiotic resistance against a backdrop of virtually no development of new antibiotics.

NPS MedicineWise CEO Dr Lynn Weekes said the cultural shift is needed in Australia to ensure antibiotics are used only when necessary.

“Antibiotics are one of the most important medical advances of the last century, and have transformed medical practice to enable complex surgery like transplants and treatment of life-threatening bacterial infections,” says Dr Weekes. 

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December 2015 PBS schedule : 20/11/2015 :

Download the PBS schedule Summary of Changes

Download the PBS schedule

Download the PBS Efficient Funding of Chemotherapy Summary of Changes

Download the PBS Efficient Funding of Chemotherapy supplement

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Advanced Practice Pharmacists named : 20/11/2015 :

The names of the 28 pharmacists recently credentialed as Australia’s first Advanced Practice Pharmacists (Adv. Prac. Pharm.) by the Australian Pharmacy Council (APC) have now been publicly released.

Throughout 2015, APC has been undertaking a Credentialing of advanced practice pharmacists pilot program with the pilot using the Advanced Pharmacy Practice Framework (APPF) for Australia as the tool for evaluating practitioner performance and guiding development.

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Profession wide agreement on 'dreadful' employee pharmacist wages : 20/11/2015 :

One way AusPharm can tell when an issue is important to the profession is by how many people vote in our weekly poll.

351 'listers voted in this week's poll with 65% of them telling us they believe employee (community) pharmacist wages and conditions are 'dreadful'. A further 28% believe wages and conditions 'could be better'.

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Pharmacy, industry welcome codeine schedule status quo : 20/11/2015 :

The Pharmacy Guild, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia and the Australian Self Medication Industry have all welcomed yesterday's announcement that a decision on up-scheduling all Schedule 2 and 3 codeine containing medicines to prescription only status (Schedule 4) has been deferred.

On October 1 the Department of Health medicines scheduling delegate announced an interim decision to up-schedule all non-prescription codeine products and commenced a brief consultation on the decision. After considering feedback received during the consultation the delegate announced yesterday that a final decision has been deferred until at least June 2016 with any resulting scheduling change not coming into effect until 2017.

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UniSA assisting EU consortium on antibiotic development : 19/11/2015 :

World Antibiotic Awareness week is a great opportunity for Australian clinicians, researchers and public health advocates to contribute to and share international efforts to stimulate the discovery and development of new antibiotics while ensuring responsible use and access, according to University of South Australia PhD candidate Suzanne Schultz.

Despite a global rise in multi-drug resistant bacteria, the approval of new antibiotics has dropped alarmingly, as has the number of large pharmaceutical companies conducting antibiotic research. To encourage investment in new antibiotic development, a range of business and payment options have been proposed, but the differing perspectives of policy makers, governments and funding bodies mean effective, tested approaches to collaboration are needed.

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DonateLife Thank You Day : 19/11/2015 :

Australians are being asked to reflect on the gift of organ donation on DonateLife Thank You Day on Sunday 22 November 2015.

DonateLife Thank You Day is a national day to honour organ and tissue donors and their families and thank them for their selfless gift.

Donor Families Australia Chairman Bruce McDowell said DonateLife Thankyou Day was a great initiative.

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AusPharm CE: RGH Pharmacy E-Bulletin Digest Issue No.88 : 19/11/2015 :

The next in our 2015 series of continuing professional development activities is the RGH E-Bulletin Digest No. 88.

This CPD activity assesses your understanding of four recent RGH Pharmacy E-Bulletins, Volumes 59-12→60-3 (August and September 2015).

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New antibiotic registered with TGA : 19/11/2015 :

MSD has used Antibiotic Awareness Week (16-22 November) to announce the TGA registration of a new antibiotic it says is 'the first new antibiotic registered in Australia in almost ten years for the treatment of gram-negative pathogens'.

ZERBAXA (ceftolozane/tazobactam) is approved for use in hospitals for the treatment of complicated intra-abdominal infections in combination with metronidazole and complicated urinary tract infections, including pyelonephritis.

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Advance Practice Pharmacists eligible for automatic elevation to Fellow of PSA (FPS) : 19/11/2015 :

As reported in AusPharm last month, 28 Australian pharmacists have now been credentialed as Advanced Practice Pharmacists by the Australian Pharmacy Council (APC).

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia President, Joe Demarte, has announced that all PSA members who have been credentialed would be eligible to become Fellows of the Pharmaceutical Society and use the post nominals (FPS).

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Overwhelming support for PSA from members, survey shows : 19/11/2015 :

A survey of Pharmaceutical Society of Australia members has shown that the vast majority of PSA members are satisfied or extremely satisfied with many aspects of their membership of PSA, in particular the provision of the Society’s high-quality continuing professional development programs and learning resources.

The survey, conducted in August and completed by more than 1,500 pharmacists, showed that 97 per cent of respondents rated the provision of CPD and learning resources as an important or critical function of PSA. In total, 91 per cent of members indicated they were satisfied or extremely satisfied with PSA’s delivery of CPD.

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Codeine scheduling decision deferred : 19/11/2015 :

A decision on whether or not to upschedule all currently Schedule 2 and 3 codeine containing medicines to prescription only status (Schedule 4) has been deferred.

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Poll: employee pharmacist wages : 18/11/2015 :

In an opinion piece in AusPharm earlier this week PSA President Joe Demarte revealed that PSA members see the biggest challenge facing the profession as the low wages currently on offer to employee pharmacists.

Mr Demarte wrote that "it is time for reasoned, profession-wide debate on the issue of pharmacist remuneration."

We'll contribute to that debate by asking 'listers their views on the current level of remuneration available to employee (community) pharmacists.

Please tell us what you think by ticking the relevant box in today's AusPharm poll. We'll publish the result on Friday and compare it to the result of an identical poll we ran in June 2009.

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OTC NSAIDS label warning strengthened : 18/11/2015 :

Earlier in 2015 the Therapeutic Goods Administration signalled its intention to strengthen the warning notice placed on the labels of non-prescription NSAIDS.

It has just concluded a consultation on the proposed labelling change and has published a final form of words.

The existing warning: "Do not use for more than a few days at a time unless a doctor has told you to. Do not exceed the recommended dose. Excessive use can be harmful." (or words to that effect) is to be replaced with "Do not use for more than a few days at a time unless a doctor has told you to. Do not exceed the recommended dose. Excessive use can be harmful and increase the risk of heart attack, stroke or liver damage." (or words to that effect).

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PSA: Scarlet fever re-emergence a warning on antimicrobial resistance : 18/11/2015 :

The re-emergence of scarlet fever in Asia and parts of the UK provides a timely reminder during Antibiotic Awareness Week (16-22 November) that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is real and happening now, says the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA).

An international study published in Scientific Reports and led by University of Queensland researchers has tracked the re-emergence of scarlet fever, a childhood disease, which had virtually disappeared over the past 100 years. (1)  Reports suggest that over the past five years there have been more than 5,000 cases in Hong Kong (a 10-fold increase) and more than 100,000 cases in China. Close to 15,000 cases have been reported in England in the past year. (2)

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Pharmacy students can register with AHPRA now : 18/11/2015 :

Final-year pharmacy students who will soon complete their degrees are able to apply for Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) registration now.

The online graduate application service on the AHPRA website allows final-year students to apply for registration four to six weeks before completing their course.

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WA pharmacist deregistered over illegal steroid, PSE supply : 17/11/2015 :

Western Australian pharmacist David Brewster has been found guilty of professional misconduct and had his registration as a pharmacist cancelled and been reprimanded by the WA State Administrative Tribunal after admitting to illegally supplying large quantities of anabolic steroids and pseudoephedrine.

Ahead of the tribunal hearing, Mr Brewster admitted the illegal anabolic steroid and pseudoephedrine supply. He also admitted to offences relating to the inappropriate supply of dispensing labels and the illegal importation and supply of modafinil tablets.

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GPs to have antibiotic prescribing habits benchmarked : 17/11/2015 :

More than 28,000 Australian general practitioners will this week receive a letter from NPS MedicineWise showing their recent oral antibiotic prescribing patterns, providing them with an opportunity to reflect on their own prescribing of antibiotics in comparison to that of their peers.

This communication initiative is one of the ways NPS MedicineWise is involved in supporting this week's global Antibiotic Awareness Week (16-22 November) and will include general information about antibiotic resistance in Australia, as well as confidential, individualised PBS data from the Department of Human Services. The data is mailed out automatically and confidentially to each GP and is not seen by NPS MedicineWise.

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