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AusPharm news

Price Disclosure - Information for Consumers : 03/04/2012 :

Amidst reports of pharmacists having difficulty explaining exactly what happened to PBS prices on April 1, listers might find the Price Disclosure - Information for Consumers fact sheet a useful resource to offer customers. The fact sheet is available on the PBS website, here.

The machinations of the PBS are complex, and poorly understood by non pharmacists (and some pharmacists!), as demonstrated by the mix of garbled information provided by media commentators over the weekend and Monday. Listers might like to simply tell their customers this along with providing the fact sheet.

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Major web issues for AusPharm : 03/04/2012 :

AusPharm continues to experience major problems with the code on our websites. People remain unable to enter their AusPharmList posts online - fortunately, some of these were emailed along to us instead. We are unable to include images in much of our content. We’re working on the problem and hope to have it fixed today.

Should you experience difficulty posting online, manifested by the appearance of the error message - whoops, something went wrong - please email your post along to auspharmlist@auspharmlist.net.au. 

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Wholesalers cope with the April 1 rush : 03/04/2012 :

The major wholesalers say they coped well with the expected increase in orders at the March / April transition caused by the large price cuts to many PBS items on April 1.

Both Sigma and Symbion ramped up capacity and reported no issues when contacted yesterday.

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Community pharmacies are responsible employers : 03/04/2012 :

Following a call yesterday from pharmacist employee union the Pharmacists Division of APESMA for a national audit of pharmacy wages, the Pharmacy Guild says it is confident that the overwhelming majority of community pharmacies act in good faith to comply fully with the Pharmacy Industry Award 2010. 

The union’s call follows the release last month of a report from the Fair Work Ombudsman of an audit of a selection of Queensland pharmacies, disclosing a significant level of non-compliance.

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Poll: customer response to PBS price cuts : 03/04/2012 :

Sunday saw the PBS prices of a large number of medications drop significantly. The media covered this widely and AusPharms mail was that this might well cause consumers to ask "Why isn’t my medication $3.00 cheaper today?", which as listers know is usually not the case as most PBS scripts are dispensed at the concessional rate, which did not change.

How has the customer response been in your pharmacy since Sunday? Please let us know by voting in this weeks AusPharm poll.

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Australia’s most comprehensive guide to administering solid oral medicines to patients who are unable to swallow : 02/04/2012 :

Administering tablets and capsules to patients who have difficulty swallowing or an enteral feeding tube is a challenge.  Healthcare professionals need to know “can I crush it?”, “can I dissolve it?”, “can I open the capsule?”, “is there a liquid formulation?”, “can I give the injection orally?”.

Now the answers are available in SHPA’s newest publication – Don’t Rush to Crush – therapeutic options for people unable to take solid oral medicines.  In this handbook there are monographs for over 500 Australian medicines listing generic names, brand names and available forms and strengths.  There are separate recommendations for administering solid oral dose forms to patients with swallowing difficulties and patients with enteral feeding tubes. 

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Consumers: PBS price cuts should be a starting point for further PBS reform : 02/04/2012 :

The Consumers Health Forum (CHF) says that the April 1 PBS price cuts show that there are still areas in the health budget where savings can be made while still delivering high quality, affordable health care.

‘The Government is to be commended for making medicines more affordable and saving tax payers millions of dollars through its new price disclosure policy,’ said Consumers Health Forum Carol Bennett. ‘This is a good outcome for health consumers and needs to be acknowledged,' she added.

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April Fool story : 02/04/2012 :

Our April Fool's joke item on Friday that foreshadowed large price cuts in the PBS return price for atorvastatin attracted mix responses, to say the least.

While AusPharm received numerous emails along the lines of ' ...very well done…. got me hook, line and sinker ! ;) ' we also received a few like this one: ' I didnt find this piece amusing.  Many of my colleagues were very concerned about this apparently informative article, as it was portrayed.  Please understand that many pharmacists are edgy with the current climate they are faced and these things do not help it.'

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GMiA: few patients to benefit from April 1 PBS price reductions : 02/04/2012 :

According to the Generic Medicines Industry Association (GMiA), because of the large number of consumers paying the $5.80 PBS concessional copayment, few patients will benefit from yesterday's price disclosure reforms.

PBS listed medicines took an average minimum (PBS list) price reduction of 23% on April 1 - this is the largest single price cut in the history of the PBS and the reform will deliver substantial PBS savings. However, according to GMiA CEO, Kate Lynch, the reforms come at a significant cost to the pharmaceutical industry.

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Union calls for national wages audit : 02/04/2012 :

Employee pharmacist union, APESMA, has called on the Fair Work Ombudsman to conduct a national audit into Australian pharmacies after a Queensland based audit found 44.3 per cent of pharmacies were not paying their staff properly.

'We need the Ombudsman to conduct an urgent audit to help make sure one of the highest levels illegal underpayments and other breaches ever discovered is stamped out across the nation' the union says.

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NPS: Consumer should be centre of care when offering alternative medicine brands : 02/04/2012 :

Following yesterday's PBS price reductions, NPS is reminding pharmacists to place patient care first and avoid multiple switching of medicine brands for patients who may be at higher risk of confusion from switching.
 
NPS Head of Programs, Ms Karen Kaye, says that consumers always need to be at the centre of care when pharmacists give advice about medicine brand choices.

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RGH E-Bulletin: Ticagrelor for acute coronary syndrome : 02/04/2012 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Ticagrelor for acute coronary syndrome.

"Ticagrelor is an oral antiplatelet drug that is a reversible, direct-acting inhibitor of the adenosine diphosphate receptor P2Y12: it has a more rapid onset and produces more pronounced platelet inhibition than clopidogrel. Unlike clopidogrel and prasugrel which are prodrugs, ticagrelor does not need to be metabolised to become biologically active. The efficacy of ticagrelor was studied in the PLATO study, a multi-centre, double-blinded and randomized trial, comparing ticagrelor (180 mg loading dose, 90 mg twice daily thereafter) and clopidogrel (300 – 600 mg loading dose, 75 mg daily thereafter) for the prevention of cardiovascular events in 18,624 patients admitted to the hospital with an acute coronary syndrome, with or without ST-segment elevation. All patients also received aspirin at a dose of 75 – 100 mg daily unless not tolerated."

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

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UTS launches pharmacy confidence 'barometer' : 30/03/2012 :

Launched at Sydney's University of Technology (UTS) on Tuesday night, the first report of the UTS 'Pharmacy Barometer' provides some insights into the way pharmacists view the challenges of the next few years including PBS reforms, direct distribution and the changes in government support networks such as the establishment of Medicare Locals.

The barometer aims to provide data on the 'perceptions, attitude, knowledge experiences and behaviours of community pharmacists as they relate to the future professional practice and business of community pharmacy'.

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Atorvastatin PBS price *isn't* dropping : 30/03/2012 :

AusPharm would like to inform readers that an item we ran this morning referring to a pending PBS price drop for atorvastatin was an April Fool's joke. The PBS price of atorvastatin will not be dropping. Comments in that piece attributed to Minister Tanya Plibersek were not made by her.

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CHOICE honours Harvey : 29/03/2012 :

Dr Ken Harvey has won the 2012 CHOICE Consumer Champion award.

The CHOICE awards aim to 'celebrate the people, products, services and brands that improve the lives of consumers every day'.  Dr Harvey won the Consumer Champion award in part due to his role in having the Sensaslim products removed from the Australian market. After many months of stressful legal goings-on and great personal expense (though costs were ultimately met by supporters) Sensaslim was removed from the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods.

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Chronic disease risks embedded in Aussie lifestyle : 29/03/2012 :

Most Australians have at least one preventable risk factor for chronic disease, according to a new report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Risk factors contributing to chronic disease, provides a comprehensive picture of the lifestyle behaviours of Australians that can contribute to chronic

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1 in 5 Australians have experienced an adverse effect from their medicine : 29/03/2012 :

As part of Be Medicinewise Week 2012 NPS is highlighting research* that shows 1 in 5 Australians have experienced an adverse effect from their medicine in the past 12 months.

The survey also found medicine use was almost universal, with 95% of the 1205 respondents reporting they had taken a medicine in the past 12 months. Overall 68% had taken a prescription medicine and 76% had taken an over the counter pain relief medicine. More than half (52%) had taken another over the counter medicine, such as eye drops, cold and flu tablets or nasal sprays for hay fever and 56% had taken a vitamin mineral or herbal supplement.

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eScript payments automated : 29/03/2012 :

ePrescribing achieves a major milestone on 1 April with the launch of real time claiming through PBS Online.

eScripts are available at no net cost for pharmacy under the Electronic Prescriptions Payments in the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement. However, until now, these payments have had to be claimed manually. As of 1 April, the 15 cent Electronic Prescription Fee will be assessed and paid in real time through Online Claiming for PBS (PBS Online), which means that pharmacists will no longer need to print, sign and submit paper claim forms in order to receive payment.

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Pharmacists believe supermarkets will get pharmacies : 29/03/2012 :

Only 10% of pharmacists responding to this week's AusPharm poll believe the profession will continue to hold off the 'supermarket threat'.

43% believe we'll see pharmacies in supermarkets 'quite soon' with another 46% responding that the supermarket 'win' may take some time to manifest.

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Fact sheet: Revised Arrangements for the Efficient Funding of Chemotherapy Drugs : 29/03/2012 :

The Department of Health and Ageing has published a new factsheet on the Revised Arrangements for the Efficient Funding of Chemotherapy Drugs.

Get it here.

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