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AusPharm news

New NPS information on dextropropoxyphene: recommentations and alternatives : 05/03/2012 :

NPS has published a guide for prescribers to help them prepare for the TGA’s cancellation of Capadex and Paradex, two of the four medicines available in Australia containing dextropropoxyphene. The guide outlines recommendations for prescribers, new contraindications and alternatives to dextropropoxyphene for analgesia.

NPS is recommending that prescribers not initiate dextropropoxyphene treatment for any new patients, review all patients currently taking dextropropoxyphene and inform patients taking Capadex or Paradex that their current analgesic is being withdrawn for safety reasons and they will need to change to a different treatment. For patients currently taking Doloxene or Di-Gesic, NPS is advising prescribers to warn patients that these may become unavailable at short notice and they should consider substituting with an alternative analgesia. 

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Last Days to Register for the Melbourne Public Consultation Workshop : 02/03/2012 :

The Australian Pharmacy Council (APC) is currently undertaking a review of the Accreditation Standards for Pharmacy Degree Programs.

To ensure that the review process involves wide consultation from a broad range of stakeholders, a number of public consultation workshops have been scheduled in Australia and New Zealand over the next few months. Through this process the APC is seeking feedback from the pharmacy profession including preceptors, interns and pharmacy students. 

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Pfizer's generic atorvastatin gets some traction : 02/03/2012 :

The result of this week's AusPharm poll suggests that Pfizer's strategy with pharmacies over the last year or so may well have worked with a least something in excess of 40% of respondents prepared to do business with the company on generic atorvastatin. This is despite the widespread antagonism towards the company evident amongst pharmacists during this time.

It might be interesting to run this poll again once the other generic companies launch their atorvastatin products.

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Escape to the country at the 2012 NSW Pharmacy Dinner : 01/03/2012 :

There is still time to organise your place at the 2012 NSW Pharmacy Dinner and escape to the country.

The dinner, being held on Saturday, 17 March, is the highlight of the social events being held in conjunction with the 2012 NSW Annual Therapeutic Update (the March Weekend).

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Senate inquiry. To be or not to be, that is the question : 01/03/2012 :

AusPharm spoke to Green Senator Richard Di Natale's office yesterday and his spokesperson told us that Senator Di Natale still fully intends to bring on his motion to establish an inquiry into the Community Pharmacy Agreement, although he was not able to comment on the timing.

According to the spokesperson, the Senator's office is continuing to talk to stakeholder groups including the Consumers Health Forum, APESMA, the Guild and others.

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Pharmacy on-line footy tipping is back for 2012 : 01/03/2012 :

Australia's  premier online tipping competition for pharmacy begins again in March with the kick-off of PHARMeFOOTY tipping for the Australian Football League and National Rugby League.
 
PHARMeFOOTY is a free, on-line tipping service sponsored by Fred Health and Medici Capital. Pharmacies and pharmacy students can compete in either the AFL or NRL competition, or both. The competition includes cash prizes of up to $5000.

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Wages and conditions : 01/03/2012 :

There have been a number of recent posts from 'listers prepared to describe their personal employment circumstances and the wages they are being paid.

Please keep these coming as they provide a useful additional source of data to the 'formal' wages data collected by employee pharmacist union APESMA and the less 'formal' data we collect in our AusPharm polls.

We will, of course, publish these accounts anonymously.

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NPS urges people taking statins not to panic : 01/03/2012 :

Following reports out of the US this week that statins may increase the risk of diabetes and cognitive decline, NPS has moved to reassure people taking the drugs that the risk of experiencing these adverse effects is small and the benefit, for many people, of taking the drug is significant.
 
NPS Head of Programs Ms Karen Kaye said that the evidence shows that for every 255 people treated with a statin for four years, at least five cardiovascular events are avoided, while there is one extra case of diabetes.

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Medication continuance legislation passes through Senate : 01/03/2012 :

The National Health Amendment (Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement Initiatives) Bill 2011, passed by the House of Representatives on 16 February, was passed unopposed by the Senate yesterday.

The Bill will allow for the implementation of 'medication continuance' for statins and oral contraceptives (OCPs) and will also enable the dispensing of PBS medicines from a medication chart, rather than a prescription form, for residents of residential aged care facilities.

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Health Minister Tanya Plibersek to attend APP : 29/02/2012 :

The Minister for Health, Tanya Plibersek, pictured right, has confirmed that she will be one of the keynote speakers at next week's APP conference.  Ms Plibersek will present the Pharmacy of the Year awards on Thursday 8 March.

The QCPP Pharmacy of the Year awards are the highest recognition of excellence in the community pharmacy industry.

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Senate inquiry canned : 29/02/2012 :

About 5 seconds after we hit the 'send' button for yesterday's AusPharm(e)news we got word that Greens senator Richard di Natale had withdrawn his motion to establish an inquiry into the 5th Community Pharmacy Agreement.

This will have come as a great relief to the Pharmacy Guild, who had opposed an inquiry, but will disappoint the Consumers Health Forum, SHPA , pharmacist employee union APESMA and others who had supported the establishment of an inquiry.

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Generic atorvastatin: has your pharmacy done a deal? : 29/02/2012 :

The availability of generic atorvastatin products on the PBS is imminent but AusPharm understands that the only deals actually out there in the marketplace at present are those from Pfizer itself and from Ranbaxy.

The Pfizer deal is said to be complicated but appealing and Ranbaxy is reported to be offering in excess of 90% discount on its product to the big players.

Has your pharmacy committed to a supplier yet? Please let us know by voting in this week's AusPharm online poll.

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Are you across the health care reform agenda? : 28/02/2012 :

Focus groups conducted with South Australian pharmacists in April/May 2010 indicated that our profession had poor awareness of Australia's health care reforms and was not well prepared for the potential future roles for pharmacists within the coming healthcare structure.

The paper, published in the Feb 2012 issue of the International Journal of Pharmacy Practice, includes a neat summary of the health care reforms. This summary is loaded with hypertext links to key references and background documents, making it a candidate for the recommended reading list of anyone looking for a way to jumpstart their knowledge of this subject. This is a subject critical to the future of pharmacy in Australia.

Four themes of concern emerged from the 2010 focus group discussions...

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APF22 now out : 28/02/2012 :

The latest edition of Australia’s everyday guide to pharmacy practice, the Australian Pharmaceutical Formulary and Handbook (APF22), is now available and provides an invaluable resource for pharmacists and pharmacy students.

The 22nd edition provides practical, current and evidence-based information which  can be used in the practice setting to quickly find information and guidance on many areas of pharmacy theory and practice.

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Senate Inquiry motion uncertain : 28/02/2012 :

Greens health spokesperson Senator Richard Di Natale is today scheduled to move a motion in the Senate to establish an inquiry into the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement, to be conducted by the Senate Community Affairs References Committee. If the motion gets up it will see the committee report back to the Senate by 30 June 2012.

Senator's Di Natale's motion was originally set to be put to the Senate on 8 February but was deferred. This was reported to be because it was unlikely to be passed by the Senate in its original form as the Terms of Reference were not acceptable to all senators.

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TGA takes aim at Supprexxa : 27/02/2012 :

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is proposing to remove the Supprexxa 'Hunger Buster' weight loss supplements from the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods. Supprexxa is marketed by Chika Health P/P, a company owned by former NSW Opposition leader, Kerry Chikarovski.

Following investigations by the TGA into the advertising of the products, TGA required Chika Health to provide the TGA with evidence to support the weight loss claims being made by the company. After receiving and analysing the evidence TGA experts have determined that the available evidence does not support the claims.

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Integrating GuildCare Programs : 27/02/2012 :

Some pharmacists see GuildCare software as three separate areas:

  • PPIs
  • Private Programs and
  • Private Services

However, really they represent an integrated approach to providing professional health care. In many cases requirements can be met across all three in a single patient interaction.

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SHPA supports call for improvement in medication management : 27/02/2012 :

The Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia is supporting a call by the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards (ACHS) for “medication management systems that are evaluated and improved with greater emphasis on error reduction, storage, reconciliation and pharmacy involvement”.

ACHS recently released a report on the accreditation performance of 509 healthcare organisations, through the EQuIP 4 Program, in 2009 and 2010.  The report covers a variety of public and private hospitals as well as stand-alone day facilities, with and without on-site pharmacy services.

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Urgent need to improve continuity of care on discharge : 27/02/2012 :

The gap between moving from hospital to residential care is a prime time for the introduction of medication errors and delays, with resultant adverse patient outcomes. Given the level of care invested in stabilising older patients within the acute care setting prior to discharge, it is a shame that so much good work can come undone during the transition.

A recently conducted observational study in Australia confirms that strategies are needed to address gaps in the continuity of medication management for patients transferring from hospital to residential care facilities. The MedGap study, conducted over 12 weeks in 2 hospitals, looked at:

  • missed or significantly delayed doses;
  • residential care medication chart not written/updated in time for the first dose;
  • suitably packed medications not available for the first dose; and
  • residential care medication chart written/updated by a locum doctor.

Problems in these areas often arise due to the short window within which to prepare medication requirements in the residential setting; the median time from arrival at the residence to medication being required was 3 hours, with prn dosing often required earlier.

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RGH E-Bulletin: Bevacizumab for neovascular age-related macular degeneration : 27/02/2012 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Bevacizumab for neovascular age-related macular degeneration.

"Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness and severe visual impairment in adults over the age of 50. Neovascular AMD (nAMD) is caused by the growth of abnormal blood vessels under the macular which can cause haemorrhage and scarring, leading to severe vision loss. One of the mediators in the pathogenesis of neovascular AMD is vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF) which facilitates the growth of these leaky blood vessels. New treatments have been developed to target the inhibition of this growth factor. The treatment of nAMD can include photodynamic therapy (PDT) with verteporfin, intravitreal pegaptanib or intravitreal ranibizumab. Ranibizumab is a recombinant monoclonal antibody fragment that binds to and blocks the biological active forms of VEGF."
 

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

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