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AusPharm news

First National Mental Health Report Card Released : 28/11/2012 :

The National Mental Health Commission’s first National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention was released yesterday.

Launching the report, Minister for Mental Health Mark Butler said the Report Card should remind us of the significant needs of an estimated 3.2 million Australians who live with a mental health issue, and highlights the importance of investments to grow and improve the mental health system.

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AHPRA launches health professional course database : 28/11/2012 :

AHPRA last week launched a searchable national list of approved programs of study for health practitioners including pharmacists.

Practitioners, the public and education providers can now conduct an immediate, online search of approved programs of study, through a new database launched by AHPRA and the National Boards.

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The true size of the direct patient care pharmacist workforce is..? : 27/11/2012 :

To determine actual employment status, type of pharmacy practice and level of professional satisfaction amongst pharmacists, a postal survey of registered pharmacists was conducted in South Australia and Victoria in 2010. The researchers were particularly interested in determining the proportion of pharmacists working in direct patient care roles, just a subsection of the Pharmacy Board of Australia's very broad definition of "practice". Pharmacist workforce estimates in Australia tend to have been based on the blunt figure of number of pharmacists registered. But this study determined the number of pharmacists working in direct patient care roles by:
- excluding those in non-clinical roles;
- excluding those not strongly engaged in clinical services;
- excluding those not working in the pharmacy profession; and
- factoring in the extent of part-time work.

Referring to 2010/2011 figures, "when extrapolated to the current registered pharmacist workforce in Australia (25 944 registered pharmacists), it provides an indication that ~4125 (16%) are registered but no longer working in the profession; a further 7264 (28%) are either working in other areas of the profession, are undertaking further studies or are not strongly engaged in clinical service delivery." The study authors are cautious about making this Australia-wide extrapolation, but point out the similarities in pharmacy practice across the country and past workforce studies.

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Benalla Pharmacist named Victorian Pharmacist of the Year : 27/11/2012 :

Benalla pharmacist Marsha Watson has been named the 2012 Victorian Pharmacist of the Year at the recent annual Victorian Pharmacists Dinner at the Cossar Hall.

Ms Watson was awarded the prestigious Victorian Pharmacist Medal for being a quiet achiever who has passionately served her local community for many years, making excellent contributions to the health and wellbeing of many people in Benalla. 

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New immunisation resource published : 27/11/2012 :

Common myths about immunisation have been laid to rest in a comprehensive new booklet written by the nation’s top immunologists and published by the Australian Academy of Science.

Devised by a national panel of experts in response to confusion created by contradictory information in the public domain, The Science of Immunisation: Questions and Answers explains the latest immunology science in accessible language.

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Push for pharmacies in remote NT towns : 27/11/2012 :

New business opportunities will emerge in the Northern Territory if a consultant succeeds in having pharmacy businesses established in remote Aboriginal towns throughout the Territory. A submission has been made to the NT Minister for Health for Government support for the concept which fits well into the new CLP Government philosophy of providing improved systems for front line services in the “bush”.

Rollo Manning has been advocating for many years for a pharmacy business to provide Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme medicines and, as importantly, employment opportunities and a career path for young people whose choices are limited in their home towns.

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US Ranbaxy atorvastatin recall won't affect Australian supplies : 27/11/2012 :

Following a US recall of Ranbaxy atorvastatin products late last week Ranbaxy Australia has moved to reassure Australia pharmacists that local supplies are not affected by the recall. The voluntary recall followed the discovery of small glass particles, less than 1 mm in size, in some atorvastatin products.

Atorvastatin supplied to the Australian market is manufactured at a different facility to the stock for the US.

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Five reasons Australian pharmacists leave the profession : 26/11/2012 :

A qualitative study conducted amongst 20 pharmacists in South Australia and Victoria has explored in-depth the reasons behind pharmacists deciding to leave the profession.

The key study findings were found to fall under one of five themes...

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Year to date PBS costs up 11% : 26/11/2012 :

PBS statistics for October 2012 were released late last week by Medicare Australia.

Script numbers for the month increased by 21.1% on October 2011 (16.0 million v 19.3 million) and script dollars increased by 19.5% ($806 million v $675 million).

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RGH E‑Bulletin: Gluten and oral prescription medicines : 26/11/2012 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Gluten and oral prescription medicines.

"In people with coeliac disease the immune system reacts abnormally to gluten, causing small bowel damage resulting in gastrointestinal and malabsorptive symptoms. Gluten is a mixture of two plant proteins - gliadin (a prolamine) and glutenin, and is found in wheat flour and to a lesser extent in barley and rye. People with coeliac disease should avoid products containing gluten. While oats (uncontaminated) do not contain gluten, they do contain avenin, which is a prolamine. Avenin is toxic to the intestinal mucosa of avenin-sensitive individuals, and can trigger a reaction in these coeliacs.  The question is often raised as to the content and significance of gluten in oral prescription medicines.

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

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More use possible for pharmacy apps : 23/11/2012 :

36% of respondents to this week's AusPharm poll use pharmacy or medical (smartphone) apps in their work as a pharmacist a little (21%) or 'all the time' (15%). 

If you include those respondents who have had their awareness raised by the poll a further 23% are likely to do so in the short term.

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Australians living longer with more disability-free years : 23/11/2012 :

Older Australians are living longer and, on average, getting more years of life without severe or profound limitations to their basic daily activities, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Changes in life expectancy and disability in Australia 1998 to 2009, shows that between 1998 and 2009, life expectancy at birth has risen from 75.9 years to 79.3 years for males, and from 81.5 years to 83.9 years for females, and almost all of this increase is disability-free years.

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Government prepared to look at cost of providing chemotherapy services : 22/11/2012 :

Lister's may have seen prominent media reports in both News Ltd and Fairfax press yesterday morning warning that private hospital chemotherapy services were under threat and that patients could pay up to $100 more a visit for these services.

This potential disruption is caused by an unintended collision between the price disclosure process and the current chemotherapy funding model. The funding for chemotherapy drugs is implemented through the Efficient Funding of Chemotherapy Drugs initiative (EFC), which came into effect on 1 December 2011. This funding model will become commercially unviable for community pharmacies from December 2012 as a result of the application of a 76.8% price reduction on docetaxel.  

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Sydney University pharmacy academic wins prestigious fellowship : 22/11/2012 :

Sydney University pharmacy academic Associate Professor Parisa Aslani has been awarded a prestigious University of Sydney Thompson Fellowship.

The Thompson Fellowships aim to promote and enhance the careers of academic women and are offered to academic and research-only women employed by the University of Sydney.

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Poll: do you use pharmacy / medical apps on your phone? : 21/11/2012 :

Over the last week AusPharm has begun the process of putting together a list of pharmacy / medical apps likely to be of use to Australia pharmacists. This is progressing well - take a look at the directory as it stands now here.

Do you use pharmacy / medical apps in your work as a pharmacist? Please let us know by ticking the relevant box in today's AusPharm poll.

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Consumer Health Forum comments on complementary medicines spark responses : 21/11/2012 :

Following widespread media coverage of comments made on Monday by Consumer Health Forum (CHF) CEO Carol Bennett regarding the safety and efficacy of complementary medicines (CAMs), both NPS Medicinewise (NPS) and the Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) issued statements in response yesterday.

Ms Bennett's comments followed the release of the November issue of the organisation's journal, Health Voices, which focused on a number of issues relating to the regulation and use of CAMs. The November issue of Health Voices, available on the CHF website here, features a number of articles on CAMs, including by Pharmacy Board of Australia Chair, Steve Marty, AMA President, Steve Hambleton, NPS CEO Dr Lyn Weekes, CAM regulatory reform advocate Dr Ken Harvey and others.

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Naproxen suspension back on the PBS : 21/11/2012 :

The Australian pharmaceutical company, Phebra, yesterday welcomed the Federal Government’s decision to PBS list its brand of naproxen suspension from December 1.

It is available as 125mg/5mL strength, which is equivalent to 25 mg/mL strength, in a bottle containing 474mL.

Phebra was granted marketing approval for naproxen suspension by the Therapeutic Goods Administration in September this year, replacing the previously available Naprosyn® oral suspension.

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NPS review of OTC cough and cold remedies for young children : 20/11/2012 :

NPS has published a review of the use of over-the-counter cough and cold remedies for young children.

Included in a new NPS resource published for the first time yesterday, NPS Medicinewise Health Professional, NPS Direct, the review explains why these medicines are not appropriate in young children.

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Aged Care Service Improvement and Healthy Ageing Grants Fund : 20/11/2012 :

The Department of Health and Ageing announced yesterday that it is seeking applications for funding under the Aged Care Service Improvement and Healthy Ageing Grants Fund (the Fund)¸ to support activities that strengthen the capacity of the health and aged care sectors to deliver high quality aged care and promote healthy and active ageing.

The Fund’s second round has been expanded to include elements of the Living Longer Living Better aged care reform package¸ announced in April 2012. The aged care reform package includes additional funding for activities that increase support for people with dementia¸ support the uptake of evidence based better practice in aged care¸ and greater recognition of and support for older people from diverse backgrounds.

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ASMI pleased by support for information-based advertising for S3s : 20/11/2012 :

The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) said yesterday it is encouraged by the show of support from community pharmacy to expand the range of Pharmacist Only (S3) medicines as well as the support for an information-based approach to advertising for S3 medicines, as suggested by some of the findings of the latest UTS Pharmacy Barometer, released on Monday.

Prescription to non-prescription reclassification (‘Rx to OTC switch’) and lifting the current advertising restrictions on S3 communication are key issues that remain high on its agenda, says ASMI.

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