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2014-12-22 : What style of Christmas party is your pharmacy workplace having?
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AusPharm news

ASMI: paracetamol / asthma link remains unclear : 14/11/2011 :

Responding to the editorial by Dr John McBride in last week's Pediatrics journal on the association between paracetamol use and asthma, the Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI) said on Friday that the association between paracetamol exposure and the incidence of childhood asthma remains unclear, and that further research would be necessary to establish any causal link.

ASMI Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Director, Steven Scarff said that Dr McBride’s editorial did not shed new light on the association between paracetamol use and childhood asthma and noted that the authors of a recent Australian study (Lowe AJ, Carlin JB, Bennett CM, et al.

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New weight loss spray to launch through Priceline pharmacies : 14/11/2011 :

"Promising to be the XX FACTOR of WEIGHTLOSS products this summer, HungerBUSTER is the 1st dual action weightloss kit from SuppreXXa which combines two individually potent products; an oral spray and capsules."

So begins a trade release put out last week by Chika Health, the health care company founded in 2010 by former NSW Opposition Leader Kerry Chikarovski. According to the release HungerBUSTER is to be initially released exclusively through Priceline pharmacies.

AusPharm asked public health physician and authority on 'complementary' weight loss products, Dr Ken Harvey, to take a look at HungerBUSTER. This is what he had to say.

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Poppies for Remembrance : 14/11/2011 :

Thumbs up to Matthew Wood of Omegapharm, for donating the purchase of Remembrance Day poppies at the SHPA annual conference, which opened on the 11/11/2011. Instead of the usual bowl of lollies on the Omegapharm trade stand in the Exhibitors Hall, delegates were invited to wear a poppy.

Lest We Forget.

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SHPA National Conference buzz from Hobart : 14/11/2011 :

The 2011 SHPA national conference held last Friday/Saturday overlooking Hobart's Constitution Dock saw 896 attendees, largely "mainlanders", convening for a packed programme.

Some of the buzz words give a sense of the scope of what was a very busy schedule, with five presentation streams running consecutively:

  • credentialing
  • sans frontieres
  • paralysis in the face of ambiguity
  • specialisation vs. advanced practice
  • framework and lifelong learning
  • deprescribing
  • cultural safety
  • faecal microbiota transplantation
  • nocebo (as distinct from placebo)
  • reconciliation
  • ambulance service pharmacist

...but more of these to come.

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Fred J Boyd award goes to Bill Thomson : 14/11/2011 :

Bill Thomson has been named the recipient of the 2011 Fred J Boyd award – SHPA’s highest honour.

Established in 1978, the Fred J Boyd award award is named in memory of SHPA’s founding president and is the Society’s most prestigious recognition.

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Bhavini Patel awarded SHPA Medal of Merit for contribution to remote and Indigenous health : 14/11/2011 :

The 2011 GlaxoSmithKline Medal of Merit was awarded to Ms Bhavini Patel, Director of Pharmacy, Royal Darwin Hospital. The award was announced on the opening day of Medicines Management 2011, the 37th SHPA National Conference, held in Hobart over the weekend.

The award is in recognition of Bhavini’s contribution to the development of hospital pharmacy practice in the Northern Territory and to Indigenous and remote health. In support of her nomination for this award Bhavini was described as a leader, motivator, mentor, role model, teacher, practitioner, researcher ... and more.

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Funding awarded for new health literacy project : 14/11/2011 :

A multi-disciplinary consortium led by Gregory Duncan from Monash University that includes the University of Queensland, the University of Sydney, Curtin University and the Victorian Branch of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia has received Community Pharmacy Agreement R&D funding to undertake research in the area of health literacy and the role community pharmacy can play improving consumer understanding of health information.

Commenting on the research, National President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Kos Sclavos said, “Health literacy is important. It is fundamental for consumers to be able to find, understand and use health information in order to make decisions about their own health and wellbeing."

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Medicines Partnership of Australia: no case for further PBS cuts : 14/11/2011 :

The Medicines Partnership of Australia believes there is no case for additional cuts to PBS expenditure following its latest analysis of the scheme.

The group points out that the pharmaceutical industry and community pharmacy have already agreed to extensive savings, worth several billion dollars, some of which are yet to kick in and says that now is not the time to impose new measures that could threaten the viability of parts of the industry.

Recent PBS data shows that growth remains low and is continuing to trend downwards.

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RGH E‑Bulletin: Warfarin/antibiotic interactions : 14/11/2011 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Warfarin / antibiotic interactions.

"While alternative oral anticoagulant drugs such as dabigatran have recently been developed, warfarin is currently still the most commonly used and only PBS-listed oral anticoagulant in Australia for the prevention and treatment of thromboembolism in patients with mechanical heart valves, atrial fibrillation and deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolus. Warfarin exerts its therapeutic action as a vitamin K antagonist, lowering the amount of vitamin K available for the production of important clotting factors."

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

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Price, perception of effectiveness limit union membership : 11/11/2011 :

This week's AusPharm poll looked to find out why employee pharmacist union, the Pharmacists' Division of APESMA, had a relatively small membership (~1,000) compared to the overall number of non owner pharmacists in Australia (>20,000).

The results (total votes 320) are shown below after removing the 'I am a member' (11%) and "I can't be a member, I'm an owner' (20%) responses.

Of those who are eligible to join up but haven't the most common reason given was price, with 42% saying they'd join up if membership cost less. 26% said they'd take up membership at $100 and 16% said they'd join up at $300. The other principal reason cited was the view that the union was ineffective (32%).

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Pharmacotherapy users increasing but alcohol still the main worry : 11/11/2011 :

On a snapshot day in 2010 there were 46,078 clients who received pharmacotherapy for opioid dependence, of who almost two in three were male. This was an overall increase of just over 2,600 clients since 2009.

This increase was accompanied by an increase in ORT prescribers (from 1,435 in 2009 to 1,449 in 2010) and in dosing point sites (in 2010, there were 2,200 sites in Australia, a rise from 2,157 in 2009).\\

These statistics were drawn from a new Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) report, released today, Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia 2009-10: report on the National Minimum Data Set.

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Children with asthma: no paracetamol for you : 11/11/2011 :

An editorial in this week's Pediatrics recommends that paracetamol not be used in children with asthma or at risk for asthma.

The author notes that the epidemiologic association between paracetamol use and asthma prevalence and severity in children (and adults) is well established and notes that a variety of observations suggest that paracetamol use has contributed to the recent increase in asthma prevalence in children.

He concludes that, until future studies document the safety of this drug, children with asthma or at risk for asthma should avoid the use of paracetamol.

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Griffith University scores $2.1 million in CPA5 R&D funding : 11/11/2011 :

Griffith University has secured $2.1 million of Community Pharmacy Agreement R&D research funding to explore the specific medication needs of mental health consumers with illnesses like depression and anxiety.

The three-year research project will also consider consumer expectations and the experiences of community pharmacies and aims to develop the skills and expertise of community pharmacists to enable them to become more involved in the area of mental illness.

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Applications for 2012 pharmacy scholarships now open : 10/11/2011 :

Applications were this week called for the 2012 Rural Pharmacy Scholarship Round.

Students from rural and remote locations who are studying pharmacy or are intending to study pharmacy are invited to apply for scholarships worth up to $40,000.  Applications are now open and close in early December.

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SHPA celebrates golden jubilee as a national organisation : 10/11/2011 :

At Medicines Management 2011, the 37th SHPA National Conference, SHPA will celebrate 50 years as a national organisation and 70 years since its inception.

In 1941, 25 pioneer pharmacists from public hospitals in Victoria first conceived SHPA, and in 1961 SHPA moved formally to become a national organisation and held its first national conference in Adelaide.

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Applications sought for pharmacy research trust grants : 10/11/2011 :

The Pharmacy Research Trust of NSW is now seeking applications for its 2012 grants program.
 
The trust promotes, fosters, develops and assists the pursuit of research and post-graduate education and study in all branches of pharmacy provided the work is related to research into the causes, prevention or cure of disease in human beings, animals or plants. 

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Poll: Pharmacist membership of employee pharmacist union, APESMA : 09/11/2011 :

In a post to AusPharmList yesterday Jo Conway wrote: "APESMA seems to have its hands in too many pies to make a valid fight for employee pharmacists. Also, the costs of joining them is prohibitive (>$500 per year). If they halved their fees, I think that many more pharmacists would join them and they may have a more relevant voice. APESMA has a lot of potential, but probably won't become a reality before pharmacies are allowed in Supermarkets (probably after certain discount pharmacies decide to get into grocery!)."

APESMA membership is $630.00 P/A. By comparison Australian Nursing Federation membership is $536.30 and Health Services Union membership is $603.20.

Given there are more than 20,000 non owner pharmacists in Australia, let's see if we can find out why the employee pharmacist union, the Pharmacists' Division of APESMA, has (roughly) 1,000 members, not 10,000 members. Please help us find out by ticking the relevant box in this week's AusPharm poll.

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OTC NSAID intestinal damage: 3 case reports : 09/11/2011 :

A letter in this week's Medical Journal of Australia from three Townsville gastroenterologists describes three cases of NSAID enteropathy (NE), secondary to OTC ibuprofen/codeine misuse.

According to the letter's authors NE is thought to occur via NSAID-induced reduction of endogenous prostaglandin via inhibition of both cyclooxygenase (COX)-1 and COX-2. The result is altered mucosal integrity, which thereby allows exposure to noxious luminal contents leading to inflammation, erosion and ulcers.1 We underscore the importance of identifying this group of patients presenting with anaemia, hypoalbuminaemia, weight loss or abdominal pain that relates to NE.

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Changes to rural pharmacy support : 09/11/2011 :

Eligibility for the suite of rural programs funded under the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement is about to change to ensure the programs continue to strengthen and support the rural pharmacy workforce.
 
Under the changes, only pharmacies located in PhARIA 2-6 will be eligible for the programs. Previously some regional PhARIA 1 locations were deemed eligible.

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Pharmacists heading to Hobart for Medicines Management 2011, the 37th SHPA National Conference : 09/11/2011 :

More than 850 delegates will be in Hobart this week for Medicines Management 2011, the 37th SHPA National Conference.
 
Coming from all over Australia and overseas, delegates will be treated to an exceptional scientific program including: 5 international speakers – all experts in their fields; 80 contributed papers and 200 contributed posters plus an industry exhibition involving over 40 companies. SHPA’s major awards will be presented and the inspirational recipients will deliver their orations.

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