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AusPharm news

Download an Amsler Grid and safeguard against macular degeneration : 29/05/2013 :

Rotary and Vision Eye Institute have teamed up to support this week's Macular Degeneration Awareness Week.

Macular degeneration, sometimes called age related macular degeneration, is the leading cause of blindness in Australia. Yet if it is detected in the early stages, treatment can often slow or even stop the progression of the disease.

The aim of Macular Degeneration Awareness Week is to raise awareness of the disease and to encourage people over 50 to have their eyes tested.

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Eighteen teams to compete for 2013 Student Business Plan Prize : 29/05/2013 :

Registrations for the 2013 National Student Business Plan Competition are now closed, with 18 teams entering this year’s event.

This year’s big turnout follows the success of the 2012 competition and includes multiple registrations from several schools and registrations from first-time entrants RMIT University, Charles Sturt University and La Trobe University.

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Poll: will you join the union? : 29/05/2013 :

Employee pharmacist union Professional Pharmacists Australia is currently circulating a letter (link now corrected) asking pharmacists to consider whether their PSA membership fees might be better spent joining the union.

The letter cites advocacy, support and access to CPD as reasons for joining up.

Will you consider joining the union? Please let us know by voting in this week's AusPharm poll.

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Pharmacy agreement administration to be audited : 29/05/2013 :

The Australian National Audit Office is to conduct an audit of the administration of the 5th Community Pharmacy Agreement.

Due to commence in July, the audit will "assess the effectiveness of the development and administration of the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement, and the extent to which the Agreement has met its objectives."

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Another PBS expenditure report released: Plibersek disputes MA claims : 28/05/2013 :

A new report on PBS costs, Trends in and drivers of Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme expenditure, compiled jointly by Medicines Australia and the Department of Health and Ageing, was released yesterday.

The report, which analysed data covering the period July 1 2004 to June 30 2011, found that government PBS expenditure rose from $6 billion in 2004/05 to $8.9 billion in 2010/11. Data covering the period since July 1 2011 is not included and, because of this, a significant proportion of the contribution to PBS cost containment of price disclosure and other PBS reform (MoU) was not included.

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Chemmart pharmacies raise over $130K for Ovarian Cancer Australia : 28/05/2013 :

Chemmart pharmacies have raised more than $133,000 for Ovarian Cancer Australia this year, well surpassing the annual target of $100,000.

During Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in February, participating Chemmart pharmacies held numerous fund raising events and activities including head shaves, morning teas, cake stalls, movie nights, golf days and fun runs.

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RGH E‑Bulletin: Tapentadol : 27/05/2013 :

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

"Opioids which produce analgesic effects by binding to opioid receptors (mu, kappa and delta) found in the central and peripheral nervous system, and are used for the management of moderate-to-severe acute and chronic pain, cough suppression, diarrhoea and dyspnoea. Common adverse effects include nausea and/or vomiting, drowsiness, confusion, euphoria, constipation and respiratory depression. Tapentadol is a centrally acting synthetic opioid which exerts its analgesic effect by binding to the mu opioid receptor and also inhibiting noradrenaline reuptake."

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

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Mason review leaves pharmacy programs largely alone : 27/05/2013 :

Released on Friday, the report of the Mason Review of Australian Government Health Workforce Programs makes 87 recommendations covering Commonwealth programs that target the medical, dental, allied health, pharmacy, nursing and midwifery and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforces.

One of the key findings of the review is that the 'most significant health workforce issue, particularly in the area of general practice medicine, is not one of total supply but one of distribution, which is to say inadequate or non-existent service provision in some rural and remote areas, and to populations of extreme disadvantage, most particularly the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and some outer metropolitan communities. In recognition of the importance of these issues, the strongest recommendations arising from this review concern the imperative to create a coherent pathway for rural and regional education and training.'

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Pharma election focus on getting PBAC recommendations implemented : 27/05/2013 :

Medicines Australia (MA) will today launch its 2013 Federal Election document, calling on all sides of politics to fix what MA says are deficiencies in the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Launching Medicines Now: the 2013 Federal Election, Medicines Australia chief executive Dr Brendan Shaw said patients were missing out on some new medicines because the PBS listing system had become too difficult.

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PAC13 call for abstracts : 27/05/2013 :

Researchers and practitioners working throughout pharmacy practice and pharmaceutical science have been invited by the PAC13 organising committee to submit poster and oral presentation abstracts for PAC13.

The committee says it is particularly interested in receiving submissions addressing pharmacy research or practice pearls - sharing the practice experience without necessarily having undertaken structured research activities.

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Which tests make a difference? : 27/05/2013 :

NPS MedicineWise has launched a new educational program on preventive activities in general practice. The program, which primarily focuses on healthy people aged 40 – 49, builds on the work NPS MedicineWise has undertaken in the area of medical tests since 2009.

NPS MedicineWise clinical adviser Dr Andrew Boyden says that while the program has a focus on encouraging appropriate use of tests during preventive activities in general practice, pharmacists also have an important role to play.

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Updated safety information for dabigatran (Pradaxa) : 24/05/2013 :

The TGA has updated its information for health professionals regarding dabigatran (Pradaxa) and the risk of bleeding.

The new information includes consideration of two safety reviews that have recently been completed, advice regarding repackaging dabigatran capsules (ie don't), advice that dabigatran may have an effect on some pathology tests and updated adverse event report numbers.

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Alprazolam to go into Schedule 8 : 24/05/2013 :

In an interim decision announced by the Department of Health and Ageing yesterday, alprazolam is to move from Schedule 4 into Schedule 8. Other benzodiazepines, also recently considered for upscheduling, are to remain in Schedule 4.

The decision follows recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Medicine Scheduling (ACMS) at its March meeting. The proposed date for the scheduling change is 1 January 2014.

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Most pharmacists happy for non prescription codeine to remain S3 : 24/05/2013 :

60% of respondents to this week's AusPharm poll say they're happy for codeine to remain in Schedule 3 with 2/3 of this group saying, however, that they have difficulty handling requests for supply of these products.

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Pharmacies first port of call for one in two : 23/05/2013 :

One in two consumers seeks advice from their pharmacist about whether their symptoms can be treated with over the counter medication before deciding to visit a doctor, according to the results of a recent pharmacy survey.

The survey also compared pharmacy banner groups, with Guardian coming out on top in the Most Satisfied Customers Award for the second year in a row – the group taking out the same award for 2012.

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TGA orders AVN to remove black salve info : 23/05/2013 :

In a decision announced last week, the TGA has ordered the Australian Vaccination Network (AVN) to remove from its website an ad promoting a 'black salve' product and a DVD entitled 'One Answer to Cancer'.

The TGA order was made after AVN declined to comply with a Complaints Resolution Panel (CRP) request to remove the offending content. The CRP found, in a lengthy judgment, that the ad breached numerous sections of the Therapeutic Goods Act and Therapeutic Goods Advertising code. AVN has objected to the order on the basis that it is a restriction of its right to freedom of speech.

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PHARMeFOOTY weekly wrap : 23/05/2013 :

NRL Round 10

Round 10 of the 2013 NRL Season commenced with the Broncos thrashing the Titans at Suncorp Stadium, final scores 32-6. Other results of the round included the Rabbitohs annihilating the West Tigers 54-10 at ANZ Stadium, the Dragons defeating the Eels 32-12, and the Panthers demolishing the NZ Warriors 62-6.

AFL Round 8

Round 8 of the 2013 AFL season commenced with a Friday night showdown featuring the Eagles and the Kangaroos. Both teams fought hard however, it was the Eagles who took the win by a slim 2 points. Other highlights of the round included the Lions rising to the occasion and defeating the Bombers by 8 points at Etihad Stadium and the Hawks defeating the Giants at Aurora Stadium by 83 points.

 

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Call for Submissions: Stage 3 of the Post-Market Review of Products Used in the Management of Diabetes : 23/05/2013 :

The TGA is calling for public submissions for Stage 3 of the Post-Market Review of Products Used in the Management of Diabetes.

Stage 3 focuses on medicines used in the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus. This will include analyses of utilisation, safety and adverse events, PBS listing, and PBS restrictions for these medicines.

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Zubin Austin to present at global drug safety conference and exposition : 22/05/2013 :

Leading international pharmacy figure Zubin Austin has been confirmed as the keynote speaker at the opening plenary of the Global Drug Safety (GDS) Conference and Exposition being held in Brisbane.

Professor Austin is the inaugural holder of the OCP Research Professorship in Pharmacy at the University of Toronto and has published more than 80 peer-reviewed manuscripts and three textbook.

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Poll: what to do with non prescription codeine : 22/05/2013 :

A recent paper in the International Journal of Pharmacy Practice, looked at issues around the misuse of non prescription pain relief medications containing codeine, sourced from Australian community pharmacies. Amongst the findings were that codeine-dependent consumers found it generally easy to access non prescription codeine, describing ‘standard’ questioning, minimal intervention from pharmacists and only occasional refusal to supply. A better appearance and presentation was generally linked to easy codeine supply.

Any pharmacist working in community pharmacy will be familiar with the challenges associated with assessing requests for supply of non prescription compound analgesics containing codeine. Pharmacists working in settings where dependence is managed with methadone or buprenorphine will know that many clients of these services now get there through their misuse of non prescription codeine.

What should be done to address these issues? Please let us know your thoughts by voting in today's AusPharm poll.

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