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AusPharm news

Fair work audit of community pharmacy to begin in April : 22/01/2013 :

The Fair Work Ombudsman has announced that, commencing in April 2013, it will begin an audit of community pharnmacy by selecting a sample number of community pharmacy employers from around Australia for a 'record and wage assessment'. The assessment will check whether the right records are being kept and whether employees are being paid correctly.

The national audit follows an earlier audit of Queensland pharmacies that found a high level of non-compliance. The Ombudsman also reported yesterday that almost 200 complaints has been lodged by pharmacists with the Ombudsman's office, in June 2010 and September 2013.

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TGA releases 2011 ADR stats : 21/01/2013 :

The Therapeutic Good Administration (TGA) has released details of adverse drug reaction reports lodged with the agency in 2011.

During 2011 the TGA received approximately 14,400 ADR reports with 52% coming from pharmaceutical companies, 12% from hospitals, 7% from GPs, 18% from State and Territory Health Departments and 3% from consumers. The sources for other reports (8%) include community pharmacists and specialists. On average, in 2011, the TGA received 1,200 reports per month.

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Centrum on top : 21/01/2013 :

Centrum multivitamins has topped a recent customer satisfaction poll which also found that a majority of consumers do not think multivitamins have the potential to interact with other medications.

A survey spokesperson said “More than half of the almost-1500 multivitamin consumers we surveyed did not know those multivitamins are considered medication. An even higher proportion – nearly two thirds, is not volunteering that information to their health practitioner.”

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Guild to charge non members for access to STOP : 21/01/2013 :

Commencing 1 March 2013, the Pharmacy Guild, through its subsidiary company GuildLink, will commence charging non-Guild member pharmacies an annual fee of $300 to access the Project STOP platform.

The Guild hopes to defray some of the estimated $650,000 annual cost of maintaining the platform.

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RGH E‑Bulletin: Metabolic risks and antipsychotic therapy : 21/01/2013 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Metabolic risks and antipsychotic therapy.

"Antipsychotic drugs are an effective treatment for schizophrenia. Atypical antipsychotics have a reduced risk of extrapyramidal side effects such as dystonias, akathisia, Parkinsonian symptoms and tardive dyskinesia but these drugs have been associated with weight gain, hyperlipidaemia, hyperglycaemia and hypertension. It is difficult to distinguish the extent to which these effects can be attributed to the antipsychotic drug, or if these observations relate to increased background risk in patients with psychosis (up to 2-5 times higher than the general population). A review of 81 studies looking at antipsychotic-induced weight gain reported the average weight gain after 10 weeks to be 4.45 kg with clozapine, 4.15 kg with olanzapine, and 2.10 kg with risperidone. It is thought that the weight gain may be due to mechanisms involving histamine receptors (for further information see previous E bulletin volume 46 (5)).”

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

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February 2013 PBS schedule : 18/01/2013 :

Download the Full PBS schedule

Download the PBS Summary of changes

Download the Efficient Funding of Chemotherapy – S100 Arrangements Supplement

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Pharmacy's Clinical Intervention rate growing but varies widely : 18/01/2013 :

This week's AusPharm poll asked 'listers to report their Clinical Intervention rate for the final quarter of 2012.

The results show a wide spectrum of intervention rates with the majority coming in at less than 1% (expressed as a percentage of Rx volume) however a significant number of pharmacies are achieving much higher rates. For example, 9% of respondents report a CI rate of greater than 10%.

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Guild opposes S8 benzodiazepines : 17/01/2013 :

As AusPharm reported in November 2012, there is a proposal due to go before the Advisory Committee on Medicines Scheduling at its March 2013 meeting to reschedule benzodiazepines from Schedule 4 to Schedule 8.

In its weekly Forefront newsletter, the Pharmacy Guild reports that it will be opposing the proposal. The Guild says it doubts placing these drugs in Schedule 8  "will solve the issues around misuse and abuse of benzodiazepines".

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Pharmacy Cricket student scholarships awarded : 17/01/2013 :

The recipients of the 2013 Pharmacy Cricket student scholarship are Phoebe Court and Polly Witts.

Both received $2500 to help defray costs associated with their pharmacy studies.

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Health benefits of quitting smoking may outweigh small CVD risks of varenicline : 17/01/2013 :

NPS MedicineWise has moved to reiterate advice to health professionals that they should weigh the potential small cardiovascular risks associated with the quit-smoking medicine varenicline (Champix) against the immediate and substantial benefits of quitting smoking.

Following the release of a new meta-analysis from varenicline’s manufacturer, which indicates a small, statistically non-significant increase in cardiovascular events in people taking varenicline, NPS MedicineWise clinical adviser Dr Philippa Binns says the medicine’s risks should be considered in balance with the patient’s long-term health objectives.

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Generic brand 'explainer' resources : 17/01/2013 :

In response to recent research published in the Journal of Pharmacy Practice and Research (JPPR) which highlights consumer concerns about generic medicines, NPS MedicineWise has issued a reminder to pharmacists that resources are available to help people make brand choices.

A range of Brand Choices resources are available from the NPS MedicineWise website (here) to assist pharmacists engage people in conversations about their medicines options and help improve their understanding of generic medicines.

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Medicines in the bush workshop breaks new ground : 16/01/2013 :

The importance of the work undertaken by pharmacists and other health professionals in rural and regional areas across Australia will be highlighted in the first Medicines in the Bush workshop, to be held on Sunday April 7th immediately prior to the opening of the 12th National Rural Health Conference in Adelaide.

Convened by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, Medicines in the Bush will not only showcase the important work of rural and remote pharmacists to other rural health practitioners, but also highlight the collaboration between health professionals working in these areas and the benefits to patients from such collaboration. It will also explore such issues as prescribing rights and extended practice for rural pharmacists.

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Poll: clinical intervention rate : 16/01/2013 :

A couple of recent posts to AusPharmList have revealed particular pharmacy's Clinical Intervention rates to be around 1.6%.

Greg Stark suggested we run a poll to see what rate other pharmacies are achieving. Sounds good to us.

Please let us know, in today's AusPharm poll, what Clinical Intervention rate was achieved in your pharmacy for the last claim period - 1 October to 31 December 2012.

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Pharmacist appointed to research ethics committee : 16/01/2013 :

ACT pharmacist Lyn Todd has been appointed to the ACT Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC).

Ms Todd joins a group of other professionals on the committee which aims to protect the welfare and rights of participants involved in research.

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AusPharm CE: Persistent pain management in older people : 15/01/2013 :

As advised last week, as a special treat for our basic level members we'll be making selected AusPharm Continuing Education activities available to you through January.

We'll only make them available one at a time and only leave them open for a week.

This week's activity is Persistent pain management in older people. It was prepared for AusPharm by Jenny Gowan and first published in February 2012.

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Annotating scripts to clarify a prescriber’s intention : 15/01/2013 :

The January edition of Medicare's Bulletin Board details the kinds of annotations to PBS scripts that may or may not be made by pharmacists when they need to contact a prescriber to clarify an issue.

Annotated scripts need to record the date the prescriber was contacted, the prescriber's advice and the pharmacist's name and signature. 'Significant' alterations are not permitted - these include changes to Schedule 8 scripts, supply of a completely different drug and supply to a different patient.

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RGH E‑Bulletin: Medicines and heatwaves : 14/01/2013 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Medicines and heatwaves.

"Global climate change continues to be the subject of international debate, which has included concern about the health impacts of climate change. Attention has also focused on the impact of 'heat waves' on morbidity and mortality. Over 70,000 additional deaths were recorded in 12 European countries over the summer of 2003 during a prolonged heatwave - after this, a number of related papers were published in medical literature, including some that specifically looked at the potential for increased harm from medicine use during the heatwaves. A number of countries including Australia have since operationalised 'National Heat Wave Plans.' In Australia individual states having developed specific information for to help people to manage in heatwaves, including SA Health’s “Extreme Heat – guide to coping and staying healthy in the heat.”

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

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Cold chain maintenance: APF22 has the answers : 14/01/2013 :

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia is reminding pharmacists that the APF22 has a detailed section on cold chain management.

Some of the challenges faced by pharmacies include power outages resulting from summer storms, bushfires and other natural disasters and having a plan in place to deal with cold chain breaches is an important part of any pharmacy business plan, says PSA.

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Guild adds backing to Pharmacists' Support Service : 14/01/2013 :

The Pharmacists' Support Service (PSS) has announced it is now receiving support, both financial and through participation on its management committee, from the Pharmacy Guild of Australia. This expands the scope of support that the PSS already received from the pharmacy profession, through both associations and individuals.

John Coppock, President of PSS, said “I am very pleased that PSS now has representation from all the major pharmacy membership organisations.  This is the essence of PSS with the pharmacy profession looking after its own.  PSS is all about pharmacists supporting pharmacists.”

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AHPRA seeks members for Community Reference Group : 13/01/2013 :

Individuals with strong links to their community are invited to apply for appointment as a member of the Community Reference Group being established by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

The Community Reference Group is designed to complement the role of the existing community members of the National Boards, icluding the Pharmacy Board, which regulate health practitioners in Australia. Meeting up to four times per year, the group will have a number of roles, including providing information and advice on strategies for building better knowledge in the community about health practitioner regulation.

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