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AusPharm news

August NPS RADAR now out : 07/08/2013 :

The August issue of RADAR is now available on the NPS website.  It contains reviews of:

  • Mifepristone (Mifepristone Linepharma) followed by misoprostol (GyMiso) for medical termination of pregnancy
  • Apixaban (Eliquis) for stroke prevention in non-valvular atrial fibrillation
  • Rotigotine (Neupro) for Parkinson's disease
  • Rivaroxaban (Xarelto) for treatment, and prevention of recurrence, of VTE

as well as a number of 'in brief' news items.

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Pharma: medicines policy needs to be stable and predictable : 07/08/2013 :

Highlighting trade figures released yesterday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics which showed that Australia earns almost $4 billion a year from exporting medicines, peak pharma body Medicines Australia again condemned the proposed changes to price disclosure policy announced by the federal government in last Friday's mini Economic Statement.

“Australia earns more money exporting medicines than that is does from exporting cars, wine or scientific instruments,” said Medicines Australia Chief Executive Dr Brendan Shaw.

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Poll: have you used LPC in the last month? : 07/08/2013 :

In a post to AusPharmList last week Eddie Karp asked 'How many of us have used LPC in the last month?' He was replying to a post suggesting pharmacists should all wear white coats and we all know what LPC does to a white coat, don't we? Or do we?

Have you used LPC in the last month? Once upon a time, this would have been a daily or weekly event in most pharmacies.

Please let us know when you last used LPC in your work as pharmacist by ticking the relevant box in this week's AusPharm poll.

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Medicinewise interventions deliver positive changes in cardiovascular disease management in primary care : 06/08/2013 :

NPS MedicineWise programs targeting quality use of medicines in cardiovascular management have improved prescribing and cardiovascular disease management in primary care, according to a study published in the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) yesterday.
 
The study concluded that NPS MedicineWise cardiovascular interventions delivered between 2002 and 2009 were associated with significant improvements in medicine utilisation and diagnostic test use in cardiovascular management.

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Guild, PSA Presidents pen open letter to community pharmacy sector : 06/08/2013 :

Guild President Kos Sclavos and PSA President Grant Kardachi have jointly written to the community pharmacy sector warning that the major change to the price disclosure regime for PBS medicines announced on Friday in the government's mini economic statement will have a very serious negative impact on community pharmacies.

The two Presidents are urging their members to 'write, ring, text, email, speak to and meet your local politicians and candidates' ... 'seeking urgent commitments from Labor and the Coalition to increase pharmacy remuneration in 2014-15 to ensure these changes do not jeopardise the viability of community pharmacies.'

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September 1 PBS listing for Pradaxa confirmed : 06/08/2013 :

After two and a half years of waiting, Pradaxa will finally be PBS listed on 1 September for the prevention of stroke and systemic embolism in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation.

Despite an initial positive Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) recommendation in March 2011, the Pradaxa listing had been put on hold by the government both for fiscal reasons and also because of an equivocal finding in the Sansom review of anticoagulants, published in December 2012, which found the clinical benefit and cost-effectiveness of new oral anticoagulants was uncertain.

A March 2013 PBAC review again recommended the drug receive a PBS listing.

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RGH E‑Bulletin: Zinc supplements : 05/08/2013 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Zinc supplements.

"Zinc - can it be used for more than just sun-block? Zinc has been used for decades as a barrier sunscreen; however there is growing evidence that zinc has many more therapeutic applications. Zinc is the second most essential abundant trace element in the body, with iron being first. This essential element is a component in over 300 different enzyme systems and is involved in many biological processes such as DNA/RNA synthesis, immune function; wound healing, reproduction, taste, smell, blood clotting, thyroid hormone and insulin function."

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

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ACT, Victorian Pharmacy Student of the Year winners announced : 05/08/2013 :

The winners of both the Australian Capital Territory and Victorian Pharmacy Student of the Year competitions were announced at separate presentation ceremonies last week.

Tessa Lane from the University of Canberra was named the ACT 2013 Pharmacy Student of the Year and La Trobe University pharmacy student Rebecca Boschert was named as the 2013 PSA Victorian Pharmacy Student of the Year.

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Scrap the cap campaign wins a battle but the war's not over : 05/08/2013 :

The Federal Government announced on Friday that it will defer implementation of the $2000 cap on education expenses deductibility until 1 July 2015. The measure was initially planned to come into force on 1 July 2014.

Both the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia and the Pharmacy Guild have welcomed the announcement.

However, National President of the PSA, Grant Kardachi, said the next step was for the Government to abandon the proposal.

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Guild: Price disclosure changes a 'looming crisis' for community pharmacy : 05/08/2013 :

The sudden moving of the price disclosure goal posts announced in Friday's federal government economic statement has turned a very difficult situation for community pharmacy into a looming crisis, the Pharmacy Guild believes.

According to the Guild the proposed changes will result in an average additional loss of revenue per pharmacy in 2014/15 of $32,000.

Peak pharma group Medicines Australia also slammed the decision, saying it has been implemented without consultation with the industry. However the Consumers Health Forum welcomed the announcement saying that faster cuts to pharmaceutical prices are a welcome break for health consumers and the taxpayer. 

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MIMS Monthly Medicine Update : 05/08/2013 :

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

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FDA issues warning of serious skin reactions with paracetamol : 05/08/2013 :

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a Drug Safety Communication informing health professionals that paracetamol has been associated with a risk of rare but serious skin reactions.

The skin reactions - Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS), toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), and acute generalized exanthematous pustulosis (AGEP), can be fatal.

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August Australian Prescriber : 02/08/2013 :

The August 2013 issue of Australian Prescriber is now available online. Topics featured in this issue include:

  • Antimicrobial stewardship: What’s it all about?
  • Controlling Clostridium difficile
  • Transparency and the Therapeutic Goods Administration
  • Molecular mechanisms and clinical use of targeted anticancer drugs

It also contains the most recent Medicines Safety Update.

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Guild pitches for government funding for quitting smoking : 02/08/2013 :

The Pharmacy Guild said yesterday that a 'small fraction' of the money raised through the Federal Government's increases in tobacco excise, announced yesterday, should be directed towards patient support program delivered through community pharmacies.

The Government said that it will introduce staged 12.5 per cent increases in tobacco excise over the next four years to health combat smoking-related disease and help return the Federal Budget to surplus in 2016-17. The increases in tobacco excise will raise $5.3 billion over the forward estimates (four years) for the Commonwealth Budget.

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Not too many BMWs parked behind pharmacies. Win a 6 month AusPharm premium subscription. : 02/08/2013 :

This week's AusPharm poll would seem to put to rest the theory proposed anonymously in the Financial Review last week that most pharmacists aren't 'poor' and drive BMWs.

Only 11% of the respondents to the poll confessed to owning a car worth $50,000 or more with fully 64% valuing their cars at $20,000 or less. 39% of respondents told us their car is worth $10,000 or less.

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Accidents and lifestyle main health risks for males : 01/08/2013 :

Behaviour and lifestyle-related health risk factors are among the most prominent for Australian males, according to two reports released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The first report, The health of Australia’s males: from birth to young adulthood (0–24 years), shows that among males aged 0–24, there were 52 deaths per 100,000 males, nearly twice the rate for females of the same age.

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Union seeks input on penalty rates : 01/08/2013 :

Employee pharmacist union Professional Pharmacists Australia (PPA) has called on employee pharmacists to complete a survey it has published seeking pharmacists' views on the importance of penalty rates for employee pharmacists. The call follows media commentary this week suggesting that business groups are mounting a campaign to cut penalty rates.

PPA President, Dr Geoff March, said while the union would always oppose any reduction in pharmacists’ take home pay it was important to get data on how important being paid extra for working outside normal hours was to the average Australian pharmacist.

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Technical hitch delays publication of next CPD activity: Osteoporosis - the management of established disease : 01/08/2013 :

The technical issue that prevented us from producing our usual media rich AusPharm(e)news yesterday has now been remedied.

Sadly, one of the consequences of this is that the publication of our next CPD activity, and it's a cracker, has been delayed.

We'll publish this activity, Osteoporosis – the management of established disease, put together for us by Tasmanian pharmacist Angus Thompson, next week.

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Health Minister prices common PBS items : 01/08/2013 :

In one of the regular media releases Health Minister Tanya Plibersek issues each time a new round of price disclosure PBS price reductions cuts in, Ms Plibersek yesterday quantified the price drops consumers can expect to get.

According to Ms Plibersek simvastatin (strength not specified) will drop by $10.43 per script, clopidogrel will drop by $4.27 per script and sertraline (strength also not specified) will drop by $3.64 per script. She does make clear, however, that concessional patients will continue to pay $5.90 for their scripts.

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NPS MedicineWise counsels caution on new anticoagulants : 31/07/2013 :

With oral anticoagulant rivaroxaban (Xarelto) set to be PBS subsidised on August 1 for preventing stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF), NPS MedicineWise is urging people to talk to their doctor before stopping or making any changes to their anticoagulant medicines.

NPS MedicineWise says that people who are already stable on warfarin — the mainstay of anticoagulant therapy for the past 50 years — may not benefit from switching to rivaroxaban.

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