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AusPharm news

New School of Pharmacy formally launched in Sydney : 12/08/2011 :

The University of Technology in Sydney formally launched its new pharmacy degree course this week. The School will offer post graduate entry level Masters of Pharmacy and well as PhD degrees. Ex Sydney Uni Head of Faculty Professor Shalom (Charlie) Benrimoj will head the new school.

This will bring to 19 the number of pharmacy degree courses now on offer in Australia.

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No role for pharmacists in mental health? : 12/08/2011 :

The Mental Health Council of Australia yesterday hosted a forum for mental health consumers, carers, community workers, counsellors, doctors and nurses to provide input to the Coordinated Care measure announced in this year's budget.

Speaking in Canberra, the CEO of the Mental Health Council of Australia, Mr Frank Quinlan said, “Having achieved some pretty significant investments in the most recent Commonwealth budget, we are eager to ensure that the money is spent wisely and effectively. The best way to do that is to bring those making the policy together with those affected by the policy.”

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Healthy workplace initiative launched : 12/08/2011 :

The Department of Health and Ageing and peak employer and union bodies last week signed a Joint Statement of Commitment with Minister for Health and Ageing Nicola Roxon to promote healthier workplaces and healthier workers.

“Australians spend a lot of our time at work so it’s important that healthy habits are promoted and encouraged there.” Minister Roxon said.

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40% of pharmacists frustrated with Project STOP usability : 12/08/2011 :

2/3 of pharmacists responding to this week's AusPharm poll told us they use Project STOP every time a supply of a pseudoe*hedr*ne product is made. This is despite the tool's idiosyncrasies which make it difficult to use at times - 40% of poll respondents expressed frustration with the decision support tool's usability.

Project STOP has been in operation in Queensland since 2005 and was rolled out nationally in April 2007. The AusPharm poll response suggests that it is now time for the tool's user interface to be upgraded and, ideally, integrated with dispensing software..

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PHARMeFOOTY weekly wrap : 11/08/2011 :

AFL Round 20

AFL Round 20 was a good one for tippers with 44 selecting all the 8 winners. Emanuele Chessari from Tallangatta Pharmacy had the best margin tip and is the weekly winner. In 2nd place was Sean Dodd with Julie Blackmore of Creswick Pharmacy in 3rd position.

NRL Round 22

NRL Round 22 saw just 1 tipper select all the 8 winners correctly. Cathy Spagnolo from Torrens Road Gordon tipped the only perfect round and is the weekly winner. In 2nd place was Geoff Oliver with Ken Montgomery of Pharmasol in 3rd position.

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Scheduling - have your say : 11/08/2011 :

At its October 19 meeting the Advisory Committee on Medicines Scheduling (the old NDPSC) will consider a number of scheduling proposals. Public comment on these is invited with a cutoff date of September 9.

Up for consideration is a proposal for a Schedule 3 oral famciclovir product for the treatment of cold sores and a proposal to list adrenaline in Appendix H, thereby allowing its direct to consumer advertising. Also up for discussion is whether to include synthetic cannabinoids (eg Kronic) in Schedule 8 or Schedule 9.

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Management of chronic disease in homeless people : 11/08/2011 :

The need for a new paradigm to deliver health care and to meet the needs of the long-term mentally ill who are homeless will be examined by Emeritus Professor of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of NSW, Ian Webster AO, at PAC11 this year.

Emeritus Professor Webster will examine the key elements in the management of chronic disease which are self care, involvement with the health care team, anticipatory care and the “chain of care”.

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Pharmacy Board declines invitation to reconsider definition of 'practice' : 10/08/2011 :

At its recent meeting, the Pharmacy Board of Australia decided not to participate in an AHPRA initiative, agreed to by 7 of the 10 national Boards, to progress a consultation paper on the common definition of “practice”.

The Pharmacy Board took the view that the professions are different, that the current definition of pharmacy practice suits the pharmacy profession and accordingly, there is no reason for consultation.

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Poll: Does Project STOP need revamping? : 10/08/2011 :

In a post to AusPharmList yesterday, Geoff Neilsen suggested that Project Stop needs to be integrated with pharmacy dispense systems 'as its cumbersomeness and inability to cross reference with other medication history makes it a very poor alternative to dispensing'.

What do you think about STOP functionality?

Please let us know by voting in this week's AusPharm poll.

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No flu - yet : 10/08/2011 :

Back in May we reported on an initiative from the the Hunter New England Local Health Network, one of 18 Local Health Networks across New South Wales, who are running the Flutracking project. The project tracks reports of people with influenza symptoms across Australia in order to monitor the spread of influenza (both routine seasonal and pandemic influenza) and monitor the severity of illness and protection provided by vaccination.

As of last week, the incidence of flu like symptoms has not increased since the beginning of winter, implying that influenza has not yet spiked anywhere across the country.

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Victoria to look at real time monitoring of opioid prescribing : 09/08/2011 :

A Victorian coroner has begun an inquiry into the practice of 'prescription shopping'. The inquiry follows the 2009 overdose death of a Victorian man who visited 19 different doctors and 32 different pharmacies in the 3 years leading up to his death. There are six other prescription-shopping related deaths currently before the Victorian Coroners Court.

The inquiry will look at Victoria's current monitoring practices for prescriptions and examine options to address their shortcomings.

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PharmacyLIVE! goes live : 09/08/2011 :

Registrations are now open for the inaugural PharmacyLIVE! 2011, a two-day interactive clinical information conference tailored specifically for pharmacists.
 
PharmacyLIVE! 2011 is taking place in NSW with a focus on achieving improved patient outcomes through adherence.

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More combination products on the way? : 09/08/2011 :

Quite possibly, given the results of a recent study reported in the Medical Journal of Australia last week.

In the study the persistence of patients taking amlodipine and atorvastatin (AA), either as two mono component tablets or as a combination product, were compared. The proportions of patients failing to fill their first repeat prescription after 1 month or failing to persist with treatment at 12 months, and the median persistence time (MPT) were measured.

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UK to roll out new pharmacy professional services October 1 : 09/08/2011 :

Australia is not the only country rolling out new professional pharmacy services - UK pharmacists will be providing 2 new professional services commencing October 1, 2011.

A new medicine service (NMS) is to be made available to people with long-term conditions who are prescribed a new medicine to help improve adherence. The NMS will be an advanced service.

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TGA seeks expressions of interest for committee(s) membership : 08/08/2011 :

The TGA is currently seeking expressions of interest from experts for various positions on the TGA Advisory Committees on:

Interested? Details are available on the TGA website, here.

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The Pfizer story : 08/08/2011 :

Given the focus on Pfizer's activities by Australian pharmacists at present, 'listers might like to have a look at an account of the company's fortunes, published on CNN last week.

It's an interesting account of the rise and fall of the Pfizer empire over the last decade.

Read it here.

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SHPA Award to take young pharmacist from Alice Springs to London : 08/08/2011 :

Sophie Higgins, pictured right, is the recipient of the 2011 SHPA DBL Hospira Young Pharmacist Award which will enable her to undertake an international preceptorship at Evelina Children’s Hospital and King’s College Hospital, London.
 
Since her graduation in 2001 Sophie has had a varied career which has included an appointment as an Australian Youth Ambassador Pharmacist in Vanuatu where she educated pharmacy staff in regional hospitals about medication, disease management and patient counselling.  Her current role is Paediatric Pharmacist at the Alice Springs Hospital.

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No change to paracetamol dosing guidelines in Australia following changes overseas : 08/08/2011 :

There have been recent changes to the recommended dosages of some paracetamol-containing products in the USA and the UK.

In July, McNeil Consumer Healthcare announced their decision to reduce the maximum recommended adult dosing on their paracetamol 500 mg Tylenol products, from 4000 mg to 3000mg per day. This change was instigated by McNeil, not the USA Food and Drug Administration.

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RGH E-Bulletin: Antidepressant augmentation : 08/08/2011 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Antidepressant augmentation.

"There are currently many effective pharmacological therapies available for the treatment of major depressive disorder. Despite this, only 50-60% of patients respond to an initial trial of an antidepressant, and 35-40% experience remission in the first eight weeks of treatment. The next step in the treatment of depression that does not respond to first choice therapy can be a switch to an alternate antidepressant, or to augment the antidepressant with another drug."

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

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Nominations called for SA Pharmacist of the year : 05/08/2011 :

Nominations are now being taken for the South Australian Pharmacist of the Year, with the finalists moving onto the national finals for the PSA Excellence Award.
 
The Pharmacist of the Year award acknowledges an achiever in the profession: a pharmacist who is innovative and strives to raise practice standards through their professionalism by providing a model of practice which others strive to emulate.

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