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AusPharm news

Poll: exclusive, direct to pharmacy, supply of PBS medicines : 06/07/2011 :

Pfizer's decision to bypass the CSO wholesalers and introduce a direct to pharmacy distribution model has generated plenty of discussion amongst pharmacists and plenty of angst for pharmacy owners/manager, particularly in the early days, when the infrastructure was still being tweaked.

The CSO wholesalers and others are bringing pressure to bear on government to compel Pfizer to make their products available through the wholesalers also, citing patient interest, CSO and National Medicines Policy arguments. The federal government is said to be closely watching developments.

What do you think the outcome of all this argy bargy will be? Please let us know by voting in this week's AusPharm poll.

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Scholarships help pharmacists go rural : 05/07/2011 :

The 2011 recipients of scholarships awarded under the Rural and Remote Pharmacy Scholarship Scheme have been announced.

Forty-one students from across the country (see below) were awarded scholarships, which provide them with up to $40,000 during their time at university.

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API disputes market share claims : 05/07/2011 :

'Listers will have seen AusPharm's report yesterday that SIGMA had been endorsed as 'preferred wholesaler' by the the Pharmacy Alliance (PAL) and Independent Pharmacists of Australia (IPAG) groups.

Rival wholesaler API put out a statement yesterday saying it wished to 'correct recent reports regarding API's relationship with PAL and IPAG and its members'. The company says it is continuing to trade with a large number of former PAL and IPAG members, has recently executed 'preferred wholesaler' agreements with 150 members and that a further 50 members are still trading with the company.

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Just imagine what the numbers would have been if the patches had actually been available? : 05/07/2011 :

100,000 scripts for subsidised nicotine patches have been dispensed since they became available on the PBS in February.

“Placing patches onto the PBS has clearly helped to make them affordable for tens of thousands of Australians who want to quit – and has the added benefit of proper support and guidance from a medical professional," said Minister for Health and Ageing Nicola Roxon said. "Using patches as part of a smoking cessation program increases the likelihood of success," she added.

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NPS launches iPhone app : 05/07/2011 :

NPS has launched a Medicines List iPhone app and it is available for free from iTunes. 

The app is currently ranking as the number one medical app on iTunes Australia. It allows patients to track the brand, active ingredient, strength and dosage of their medicines, including prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medicines. It provides a way for people to keep their medicine related essential information on hand.

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New in-pharmacy resources to help consumers be medicinewise with medicine brand choices : 04/07/2011 :

NPS MedicineWise has released a series of in-pharmacy resources to help health professionals drive awareness and educate consumers about medicine brand choices.

The resource kit to be distributed to pharmacies in July and August includes point-of-sale materials, counter mats and repeat prescription folders featuring key messages designed to give consumers confidence when making choices between medicine brands.

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Pharmacy Alliance signs on with SIGMA : 04/07/2011 :

After conducting a tender process to determine who would be its major wholesaler, the Pharmacy Alliance (PAL) group has endorsed SIGMA as its preferred wholesaler. The Independent Pharmacists of Australia Group (IPAG) has also endorsed SIGMA as its preferred wholesaler.

The PAL tender followed a falling out with previous wholesaler API.

SIGMA is said to have picked up (and API has lost) approximately $400 million in turnover as a result of the deal. PAL/IPAG expect that at least 2/3 of their business will go to the SIGMA company.

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Sensaslim - down for the count? : 04/07/2011 :

Since our story on the Sensaslim company last week, there have been further developments.

As we reported last week, on application from the ACCC the court froze SensaSlim’s Australian bank account. Since then their lawyers have withdrawn from the case and on June 30, an external administrator / liquidator was appointed to take over the company.

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Record number of abstracts submitted for SHPA conference : 04/07/2011 :

A record  469 abstracts have been submitted for MM2011, the 37th SHPA National Conference, to be held in Hobart this November. 

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MIMS Monthly Medicine Update : 04/07/2011 :

The MIMS July 2011 Monthly Medicine Update is now available. Click the link to read it now.

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RGH E-Bulletin: Management of intractable hiccups : 04/07/2011 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Management of intractable hiccups.

"A hiccup (also called hiccough or singultus) is an involuntary, intermittent, spasmodic contraction of the diaphragm and intercostal muscles followed by laryngeal closure, and is usually transient. Rarely they can be persistent (continuing for 48 hours or up to one month) or intractable (longer than one month). Comorbid conditions such as vascular disease, CNS disease, duodenal disease and postoperative recovery have been associated with intractable hiccups. Adverse outcomes associated with the condition include malnutrition, weight loss, fatigue, dehydration, insomnia, mental stress and decreased quality of life."

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

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Pfizer unveils tar figures in quit smoking awareness campaign : 01/07/2011 :

Seeking to raise awareness about the effect smoking has on the lungs Pfizer Australia yesterday launched its 'Tarmy' campaign.

The campaign features a collection of 10 silhouetted figures placed in prominent locations in Sydney and Melbourne. Each figure represents a different smoker profile, from the social smoker who has inhaled 288 grams of tar in their lungs as a result of weekend smoking, to the heavy pack-a-day smoker, with an addiction of more than 55 years, and who has inhaled around 4.1 kilograms of tar in their lungs.

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Victorian Pharmacotherapy Review released : 01/07/2011 :

Earlier this week, Victoria's Minister for Mental Health, Mary Wooldridge, released the Victorian Pharmacotherapy Review - a report which delivers an evidence-based options paper aiming to ensure services remain responsive to current and future demand while improving accessibility for clients and reducing service gaps.

Also this week, the Victorian Government announced an $11 million funding package in a major expansion of services to heroin and other drug users.

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Wholesalers keep the pressure on : 01/07/2011 :

Australia’s CSO distributors have united in their call for a stop to the exclusive distribution of PBS medicines. Pfizer became the first pharma company to go to a direct to pharmacy distribution model, bypassing the wholesalers, on February 1 this year.

National and State-based CSO wholesalers Symbion, Sigma, Australian Pharmaceutical Industries, National Pharmacies and Central Healthcare Services have joined together as signatories to a communiqué, which aims to get the Federal government to ban exlusive distribution arrangements for PBS listed drugs.

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Pharmacists vote 2:1 against direct to consumer S3 ads : 01/07/2011 :

In the context of a call by PSA President Warwick Plunkett  this week for an overhaul of the advertising rules for schedule 3 products, this week's AusPharm poll asked 'listers whether or not they thought direct to consumer advertising of S3s was a good idea.

Respondents to our poll voted 2:1 against the notion with most of those against having an in principle opposition (45% of total --> No, potent therapeutic products, be they S3 or S4, shouldn't be advertised) rather than a practical one (18% of total --> No way, too hard to say no to inappropriate requests for a particular product).

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Pharmacy Expo 2011 a hit : 30/06/2011 :

Thousands of pharmacists went along to the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre over 3 days in June to attend Pharmacy Expo 2011.

Exhibitors, sponsors and speakers all contributed to creating a welcoming environment for the thousands of industry visitors who attended.

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Diabetes associated with poor mental health and wellbeing : 30/06/2011 :

Australians with diabetes have a higher prevalence of poor mental health and wellbeing than those without diabetes, according to a report released last wekk by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Diabetes and poor mental health and wellbeing: an exploratory analysis, shows that a significantly higher proportion of adults with diabetes had medium, high or very high levels of psychological distress compared with other Australians.

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Poll: S3 products should be able to be advertised direct to consumer : 29/06/2011 :

In yesterday's AusPharm PSA President Warwick Plunkett argued  that direct to consumer advertising for ALL Schedule 3 products should be allowed with the caveat that the guidelines would need to be rewritten to ensure that the advertising content is information-based with relevant warnings and restrictions included.

What do you think? Should direct to consumer advertising of ALL Schedule 3 products be allowed on this basis? Please let us know what you think by voting in this week's AusPharm poll.

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Pfizer teams with UQ to develop next generation medicines : 29/06/2011 :

The University of Queensland yesterday announced that two of its leading researchers have teamed with pharma company Pfizer in a project that aims to to develop new peptide-based medicines for the treatment of major diseases.

Professors David Craik and David Fairlie from the University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) have received $2.5 million from the Australian Research Council (ARC) to partner with Pfizer, who are contributing $2.4 million, to develop a new generation of medicines.

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Scholarships help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander pharmacy students : 29/06/2011 :

The recipients of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Pharmacy Scholarship Scheme (ATSIPSS) scholarships for 2011 have been announced. 
 
Three students from across the country have been awarded scholarships and each will receive up to $60,000 during their time at university. The recipients are Tamika Hagan (University of Newcastle), Thomas Mylne (University of Queensland) and Shannon Unsworth (University of New England).

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