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AusPharm news

Vaccine Side Effects Under the Microscope : 31/05/2011 :

Last week the federal government released an independent assessment of Australia's management of vaccine adverse events which recommends a more cohesive and coordinated national plan to deal quickly and effectively with health concerns about vaccines.

The review, conducted by by former Chief Medical Officer, Professor John Horvath AO, followed public alarm over the withdrawal of seasonal flu vaccines for children in the 2010 flu season due to an unusually high incidence of fever with convulsions following vaccination in some children under five years of age.

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Free Localised Prostate Cancer Packs for Symbion pharmacies : 31/05/2011 :

The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia will today launch free Localised Prostate Cancer Packs to be distributed through pharmacies to help the thousands of Australian men diagnosed with prostate cancer each year.

The information packs will be available to patients at the 2,500 pharmacies which have an account with Symbion Pharmacy Services across the country.

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One quarter of pharmacy students wouldn't recommend pharmacy as a career : 31/05/2011 :

25% of 584 pharmacy students polled by the National Australian Pharmacy Students’ Association (NAPSA) in a recent survey say that would not recommend a pharmacy career to others.

Reasons given for not recommending pharmacy as a career included poor employment prospects and low wages on graduation brought about, in part, by the increased student intake into a growing number of pharmacy schools in recent years.

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PBS: steady as she goes : 30/05/2011 :

PBS statistics for April 2011 have been released by Medicare Australia.

Script numbers were up 26% on April 2010 (16.2 million v 12.85 million) and absolute dollars were also up, by 29% ($677 million v $525 million). The large difference is likely to be a statistical anomaly as year to date figures produce more stable results.

Both script numbers (+3.2%) and absolute dollar (+5.5%) totals for 2011 are slightly up on 2010 (68.3 million scripts@ $2.85 billion v 66.2 million scripts @ $2.70 billion.

(March 2011 numbers were: 17.7 milion scripts @ $736 milion).

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A pharmacist I can trust! : 30/05/2011 :

The email below landed in the AusPharm inbox over the weekend. It started life as a post to the Victoria Skeptics chat group.

------------

Dear All,

I now live in Castlemaine. I was reading the Midland Express, to find a half page column ad from two pharmacists - Kennedy's Amcal in Kyneton, and McKenzie Davey Pharmacy, Castlemaine. It was titled "Some not so complementary comments".

The column was close typed - a long explanation of the TGA findings, distinguishing complementary and alternative remedies and the lack of efficacy, explaining that homeopathy has no effect and so on. I was amazed.

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RGH E-Bulletin: Optimal duration of statin therapy : 30/05/2011 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Optimal duration of statin therapy

"For many years HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (commonly referred to as “statins”) have been the mainstay of pharmacological lipid lowering therapy across many patient groups. Hypercholesterolemia is an important and modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and as such elevated cholesterol that have not responded to lifestyle modifications alone should be addressed with lipid lowering medications. Statins are generally well tolerated with predictable efficacy and side effects. However, limited data exists regarding when and if it is appropriate to cease treatment with statin drugs."

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

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Pharmacists clear: 'price promoting' scripts unprofessional : 27/05/2011 :

This week's poll asked 'listers to let us know whether they think 'price promoting' prescription medicines is unprofessional. We used the recent Priceline catalogue 'ad' as an example.

Overwhelmingly, respondents to our poll (n=350) believe that these 'price lists' do price promote prescription meds, with 70% seeing such ads as 'deplorabe' with another 18% saying that including the benzodiazepines makes such ads 'unprofessional'.

Only 4% of respondents agree with the TGA and AHPRA that such ads are 'price lists' only with a further 7% saying that price promotion [of these products] is healthy.

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Over 3,800 pharmacies now using eRx Script Exchange : 27/05/2011 :

eRx Script Exchange continues to grow, with now over 10,000 doctors and 3,800 pharmacies using eRx.

Read this story and more in the May 2011 eRx Script Exchange Newsletter:

  • News from the pharmacy APP conference 2011
  • Congratulations to Best Practice on the success of their Summit in March
  • Are your patients taking their medicines? - instructions on how to view dispense notifications in prescribing software
  • CPIAM joins eRx as our latest dispensing vendor

Click here to read the May 2011 eRx Script Exchange newsletter.

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New Consumer Class Director appointed to NPS Board : 27/05/2011 :

NPS announced yesterday that it has appointed Dr Christine Walker to its Board in the position of Consumer Class Director.
 
Dr Walker brings to the Board extensive experience in the health sector, particularly in the area of chronic illness.  In her current role as Executive Officer of the Chronic Illness Alliance, she represents the needs of people with chronic illnesses from a range of diverse communities, age groups and conditions via its 55 member organisations across Australia. 

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A vision for pharmacists’ practice in Australia : 26/05/2011 :

In the context of Australia’s health reform agenda and taking into account the National Medicines Policy, PSA's Issues paper on the future of pharmacy in Australia and the Guild's Roadmap: the strategic direction for community pharmacy pharmacy's peak organisations* have developed a consultation paper to guide the development of A vision for pharmacists’ practice in Australia.

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Queensland multidisciplinary health symposium a success : 26/05/2011 :

A multidisciplinary health symposium held on the Sunshine Coast last weekend proved to be a very successful and timely gathering of health professionals from a wide range of disciplines who examined ways of working collaboratively to improve the health outcomes of patients.

Bruce Elliot, Queensland Branch President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, one of the groups behind the symposium, said the meeting had been a “phenomenal success”, with 90 registrants across at least five health professions.

“All participants came away with an increased knowledge and understanding of how we can all work together collaboratively and cooperatively,” Mr Elliot said.

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Lipitor tablets change shape, size : 26/05/2011 :

Pfizer Australia announced overnight that it is set to launch a smaller Lipitor® (atorvastatin) tablet in June 2011.

The tablets are smaller in every dimension – length, width and thickness. The new smaller tablets have also changed shape. These new round tablets are replacing the previous oval-shaped tablets and should be easier to swallow. There will also be accompanying changes to the packaging.

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Priceline wangles a spot on Today Tonight : 26/05/2011 :

In a quirky coincidence (see this week's AusPharm poll) last night's Channel 7 Today Tonight program ran a story about how retailers are ripping off the public with exhorbitant markups.

It was an odd story, designed to appeal to the masses, that focused on high markups but made no mention of high rents, high wages and other costs of doing business. 

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Jack Thomas quiz winners : 25/05/2011 :

The 2011 PSA Offshore Conference has concluded successfully with a highlight of the conference being, as always, the annual Jack Thomas quiz. Each year the competition becomes more fierce, with entrants vying to have their name engraved on the coveted trophy for posterity.
 
This year again, the final result was very close, coming down to the tie-breaker case study to separate the winners. The overall winner was Elizabeth Bajusz, with Peter Roberts a close 2nd, & Joan Graham 3rd.
 
Pictured below from left to right are Joan Graham, Elizabeth Bajusz and Peter Roberts.

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Australia's increasing contribution to multiple sclerosis research : 25/05/2011 :

Australia is increasing its contribution to multiple sclerosis research, but existing treatments remain the frontline in tackling this incurable disease, according to multiple sclerosis experts who gathered in Sydney to discuss latest developments in MS.

An estimated 18,000 people in Australia suffer from multiple sclerosis. According to MS Australia, 87 percent of patients are of working age, with the majority diagnosed in their late 20s or early 30s.

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Poll: is price promoting scripts unprofessional? : 25/05/2011 :

Priceline's recent $5.99 catalogue 'pricelist' raised concerns from some pharmacists about whether such ads were 'unprofessional'.

Other pharmacists however pointed out that inexpensive medicines were, in principle, a good thing for consumers.

Is price promoting prescription medicines 'unprofessional'? Please let us know what you think by voting in this week's AusPharm poll.

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Trent Twomey elected College President : 25/05/2011 :

The Australian College of Pharmacy today announced the composition of its new Board that took office after the Annual General Meeting on the 19th of May 2011. The new Board is made up of Trent Twomey, Trevor Clarkin, Peter Saccasan, Rick Samimi,  Tim Lewis,  Mike Farrell and Brett Clark.

At its first meeting today, the Board elected former NAPSA President Trent Twomey as College President. Trevor Clarkin is the new Vice President, Peter Saccasan is the Director of Finance & Audit and  Brett Clark is the final Executive Member.

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PHARMeFOOTY weekly wrap : 25/05/2011 :

AFL Round 9
 
AFL Round 9 saw 8 tippers select all the 8 winners correctly. The best margin tip and weekly winner was John Coutsouvelis from The Alfred Hospital. In 2nd place was Lee Owens from Horsham Amcal with  Sandra Jones of St Leonards Pharmacy in 3rd position.

The Leaderboard sees Rose McGregor of Balnarring Pharmacy move into 1st place with Sue Bereza from Anglesea Pharmacy maintaining 2nd position. In 3rd spot is Chris Hick from University of Sydney.

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Mucus or a raspy tickle? : 24/05/2011 :

Know the difference between a chesty or dry cough or you could get Fully Sick.

Experts are calling for Aussies to pay attention to their coughs this winter as new research from Bisolvon shows some people are still not certain about the difference between a chesty cough or a dry cough1. This distinction has important implications for the way people manage their coughs.

The latest Bisolvon Cough survey also found that all respondents thought correct cough etiquette was an extremely or very important public health issue, yet only one in two respondents were aware of the best practices for covering their cough and only 11 per cent follow the recommended action of coughing into their elbow1.

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Union rural pharmacy survey : 24/05/2011 :

Acknowledging there is a mal-distribution of pharmacists in Australia - that is, there are too many pharmacists in the metropolitan areas and too few in rural areas - employee pharmacist union, the Pharmacists's Division of APESMA, is inviting pharmacists to complete a short survey that will explore the possible benefits and incentives that will attract and retain pharmacists to work in rural and remote areas of Australia.

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