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AusPharm news

Guild elections : 19/10/2011 :

The result of the election for the National Presidency of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia is expected to be known late this morning.

Watch this space tomorrow - we'll have comment and an analysis of what challenges the Guild will face in the next three years from former Guild CEO, Stephen Greenwood.

"Election time at the Guild for staff is a time when they try as best they might to do their jobs without being seen to be partisan. I recall my predecessor Rob Davies telling me that in election year you keep your head down and if possible go on holidays. That was wise advice."

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Allan Fels AO to Head Up Australiaís First National Mental Health Commission : 19/10/2011 :

Mark Butler, Minister for Mental Health and Ageing announced yesterday that Professor Allan Fels AO, pictured right,  will chair the nation’s first National Mental Health Commission.

Professor Fels is best known as the former head of the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission. He is currently Dean of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG), Chairman of the Haven Foundation and a Patron and participant in numerous mental health organisations.

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AusPharm CE: Dyslipidaemia : 19/10/2011 :

The latest AusPharm CE topic is Dyslipidaemia - it's been put together for us by Angus Thompson.

"Dyslipidaemia is now the preferred term for lipid abnormalities, reflecting that some components of the profile may be pathologically raised and others may be lowered."

Click here to do this Continuing Education activity. Or, if you prefer, you might like to take a look at our other CE activities here .

AusPharm gratefully acknowledges the financial support provided by the sponsors of our CE program, MIMS.

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Kickbacks for chemists : 19/10/2011 :

Unsurprisingly, there is more negative press about pharmacies today in the Age, who recently led the charge against the Guild/Blackmores 'coke and fries' deal.

"ONE of the world's biggest drug companies has been accused of paying Australian pharmacists kickbacks to promote some of its drugs in a controversial deal that has divided the profession.

Pfizer has been paying pharmacies a $7 ''administration fee'' every time they sign up a patient to the company's so-called support programs. The programs involve the company providing information to patients about nine of its drugs."

Read the story in full here.

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US Pharmacists give flu vaccinations : 18/10/2011 :

With 150 000 pharmacists trained to administer flu vaccinations, it is now possible for consumers to obtain flu shots on the spot in pharmacies in all US States.

This walk-in service is a wonderfully simple healthcare message that is being pushed by the American Pharmacists Association, and plays a key role in the national drive to increase uptake of flu vaccination across the overall population. The current CDC recommendation is flu vaccination for all Americans over 6 months of age.

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Queensland Pharmacist wins Queensland Telstra Business Womenís Award : 18/10/2011 :

APHS Managing Partner, Cathie Reid, has won the Commonwealth Bank Business Owner Award, part of the Queensland Telstra Business Women’s Awards.

Cathie is Managing Partner of APHS, a national hospital, oncology and aged care pharmacy provider, as well as the lead of APHS Packaging, the group’s manufacturing arm.

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2012 NHMRC research funding announced : 18/10/2011 :

The successful applicants for the latest round of latest National Health and Medical Research Council research grants were announced by the federal government yesterday.

$673.7 million for 1,140 grants was awarded Australia-wide.

Many of the grants involve medication related research. Over $1 million was granted to Prof. Louisa Degenhardt from the Macfarlane Burnet Institute for Medical Research and Public Health for a project entitled: Pharmaceutical opioid prescription for chronic pain in Australia: Trajectories of prescribing, risk of adverse events, and predictors of harm.

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Asthma rates drop among Australian children and young people : 18/10/2011 :

The prevalence of asthma among children and young adults has decreased over the past decade, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Asthma in Australia 2011, shows a decrease in deaths from asthma, with the mortality rate due to asthma dropping by 45% between 1997 and 2009.

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December 2011 PBS schedule : 18/10/2011 :

The December 2011 PBS Schedule and the ‘Summary of Changes’ are now available.

Download the Full PBS schedule

Download the PBS Summary of changes

Download the Efficient Funding of Chemotherapy – S100 Arrangements Supplement

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Rice to Riches : 17/10/2011 :

During it's recent tour of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos Pharmacy Small Group Tours paid a surprise visit to the Orphans & Disabled Arts Association.

The orphanage houses 24 children and was desperatly in need of funding. The association also runs a small gallery of the children's artwork and the group was able to contribute by donating 1500kg of rice and 50l of fish sauce. All participants maintain that the visit was en eye-opening and memorable experience.

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RGH E‑Bulletin: Drug toxicity and Gilbertís syndrome : 17/10/2011 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Drug toxicity and Gilbert’s syndrome.

"Gilbert’s syndrome is a hereditary (usually autosomal recessive) condition caused by impaired hepatic bilirubin clearance. Gilbert’s syndrome is present in 5–10% of Western European populations, with one in three of those affected unaware that they are affected. Gilbert’s syndrome is characterised by mild unconjugated non-haemolytic hyperbilirubinaemia. Diagnosis of the disorder is often made after an incidental finding of isolated hyperbilirubinaemia on routine liver biochemistry testing."


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

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2012 flu vaccine : 17/10/2011 :

The Australian Influenza Vaccine Committee (AIVC) met on 5 October 2011 and agreed to include the following influenza vaccine components for the 2012 vaccine:

  • A (H1N1): an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1) - like strain, 15 µg HA per dose
  • A (H3N2): an A/Perth/16/2009 (H3N2) - like strain, 15 µg HA per dose
  • B: a B/Brisbane/60/2008 - like strain, 15 µg HA per dose

More information is available form the TGA website, here.

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Pharmacist Coalition Calls For Greater Recognition of Pharmacist Roles : 17/10/2011 :

Speaking during the opening ceremony of the recently held Pharmacy Australia Congress 2011 (PAC11), Chair of the Labor Party Caucus Health Committee, Laura Smyth acknowledged that there is ‘still a lack of appropriate recognition in the general community for the diversity and the central importance of the pharmacy profession’.

Endorsing these comments, PCHR spokesperson and Chief Executive Officer of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, Liesel Wett says that pharmacists have the skills and expertise to provide improved healthcare services to the community and it was a goal of the PCHR to positively contribute to healthcare reform.

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PSA helping pharmacists provide best mental health services : 17/10/2011 :

The release of figures showing that 29 million prescriptions were dispensed last year for mental health-related conditions is a stark reminder of the key role that pharmacists can and should play in what is widely accepted to be one of the most significant health issues in Australia.

Pharmacists, who are often the first health professional seen by people suffering from a mental health condition, have long been on the front line in discussing issues with  sufferers and helping them to seek further medical help and counselling.

National President of the PSA, Grant Kardachi, said pharmacists also usually saw patients more often that other health professionals, and provided a ‘walk-in’ service.

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Pfizer: Ready to quit smoking? The first step should be speaking to your doctor : 17/10/2011 :

Pfizer Australia last week announced the launch of a new quit smoking website and released the results of a consumer survey, both of which are designed to encourage smokers to speak to their doctors to get help with quitting.

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DMARDs confirmed first line of treatment in rheumatoid arthritis : 14/10/2011 :

A recent Danish meta-analysis considered 70 trials involving disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), glucocorticoids and biologic agents in slowing the progression of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) as measured by radiographic assessment of structural damage. To date, recent trials with the newer and more expensive biologic agents have demonstrated a measured reduction in rate of structural damage, but the older agents were studied at a time when the benefit of such measurements were not so readily available. As a result, there has been some encouragement of the use of biologic agents as first-line treatment, rather than holding them in reserve.

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PAC (non)attendance stats : 14/10/2011 :

We can never tell which of our weekly polls will push people's buttons but for some reason, this week's 'I didn't go to PAC11 because.....' poll did with one of the biggest voter turnouts we've had for a while seeing 432 'listers register a vote.

While we're sure PSA will have collected data on why people DID attend PAC11, I'm not sure they'll have collected data on non attendance. So to conference Chair John Jackson, here's a free gift from AusPharm.

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Background Briefing: A noble cause : 14/10/2011 :

'Listers might be interested to listen to this Sunday's Background Briefing, on Radio National at 9AM.

Producing new medicines to extend lives and reduce suffering is a noble cause. The marketing of those drugs is often ignoble, with the wining and dining of doctors and the use of specialists to spruik the company line.

A former industry insider gives a unique insight into the selling techniques of big pharma.

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Another intern training program : 14/10/2011 :

Another intern training program has been accredited by the Australian Pharmacy Council. From 2012, the University of Queensland's School of Pharmacy will deliver the National Alliance for Pharmacy Education's (NAPE) Pharmacy Intern Training Program.

The program uses online, face-to-face and self-directed modes of education and offers students the opportunity to complete a further year of part-time study and obtain a formal postgraduate qualification from UQ, the Graduate Certificate in Pharmacy Practice.

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Medicines industry R&D tops $1billion mark again : 13/10/2011 :

The Australian medicines industry’s R&D investment has exceeded $1 billion for the second successive year, according to the annual Australian Bureau of Statistics business expenditure report on R&D released yesterday.

The ABS figures show that the medicines industry attracted $1.002 billion in R&D investment in 2009-10. The medicines industry’s R&D investment was the third largest by area of business expenditure, behind financial services and mining.

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