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AusPharm news

Opportunities for Pharmacists to increase consumer's medicine knowledge : 01/02/2011 :

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia is urging pharmacists to engage more with consumers in imparting medication knowledge.

The call follows the release of a survey by the National Prescribing Service which showed that 60 per cent of consumers said they had not asked questions of their doctor or pharmacist the last time they received or purchased a medicine and 48 per cent said they did not tell their doctor or pharmacist about other medicines they were taking.

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How low can you go? : 31/01/2011 :

Panamax 100s - 39c, limit two per customer.

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NPS Be Medicinewise campaign launched : 31/01/2011 :

The latest NPS consumer medicines campaign Be Medicinewise was launched yesterday and, according to NPS, all health professionals, including pharmacists, have a role to play.

This week is Be Medicinewise Week, being run by NPS as part of its broader Be Medicinewise campaign, which aims to get Australians thinking more about their medicines through posing the question ‘why?’.

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Pfizer's new, direct to pharmacy, business model goes live today : 31/01/2011 :

From today Pfizer will be selling its prescription medicines directly to community pharmacy - they will no longer be available through pharmacy wholesalers.

Responding to feedback from pharmacists the company has announced changes to the original model announced in December. These include the introduction of interim arrangements regarding delivery fees, as well as extensions to both the critical products and general products lists.

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However, most Australian's aren't so medicineswise.... : 31/01/2011 :

Results from recent NPS research found that while 65% of respondents (n=1500) had used a prescription medicine in the last three months, 60% had used an over-the-counter medicine and 45% had used an alternative or herbal medicine, 60% of respondents did not ask questions of their doctor or pharmacist the last time they received or purchased a medicine. 48% said they did not tell their doctor or pharmacist about other medicines they were taking.

Encouragingly, when asked where they would go to find accurate information about medicines, most respondents said a pharmacist (64%) and/or a doctor (60%).

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Weight loss myths and misconceptions : 31/01/2011 :

Consumer Group CHOICE's latest health related report looks at the falsehoods around weight loss.

According to CHOICE, these ultimately impede rather than help people reach and maintain a healthy weight.

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RGH E-Bulletin 41-1: Benzodiazepines and opioids : 31/01/2011 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Benzodiazepines and opioids.

"Opioids are used in the management of chronic pain and in maintenance programs as substitutes for illicit opioids.  Depression, substance use and benzodiazepine use are all risks for adverse events from opioids.  Patients that take opioid medications are frequently co-prescribed benzodiazepines. Studies of patients in methadone maintenance programs have revealed 50-70% take benzodiazepines. Within this population of patients it has been estimated that 18% to 50% have benzodiazepine dependence or abuse."

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

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Pfizer generics will need a good sales pitch : 28/01/2011 :

With the commencement on Monday of a direct distribution model for Pfizer prescription products in mind, this week's AusPharm poll asked 'listers whether they'd be prepared to have a look at the Pfizer generics offer once the Lipitor patent expires.

Only 20% of those responding to the poll said they'd be prepared to have a look - 57%, clearly miffed at Pfizer's recent business strategy as it relates to pharmacy, ticked the ''Pfizer sucks' option with a further 19% saying they were happy with their existing supplier.

It would be interesting to know how close to Pfizer's business forecasting this result is!

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Brand pharma fights back : 28/01/2011 :

Somac makers Nycomed will today release the results of a Galaxy Research poll that, according to the company, reveals consumer confusion over generic substitution. Its intent appears to be to champion to consumers the virtues of brand name medicines vs generic medicines.

While AusPharm hasn't seen the research report, the media release launching it maintains that 'The Public Perceptions of Generics Study found that nine out of 10 adult Australians who have required prescription medicine in the past two years have been recommended (AusPharm emphasis) a generic substitute by their pharmacist in place of the brand name medicine prescribed by their doctor.'

The media statement draws heavily on comments attributed to Gerald Quigley, 'pharmacist and health media commentator', who asserts that the issue of generic substitution has been misrepresented by Australia’s pharmacy industry.

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Pharmacists reminded (again) by PBA to renew registration : 28/01/2011 :

The Pharmacy Board has again reminded pharmacists to renew their registration before the end of Januray - or risk losing their ability to practice in Australia.

Pharmacists who were due to renew their registration by 31 December 2010 or 1 January 2011 are now able to practise in a one month late period after their registration expiry date. However, they must renew within one month of their expiry date or they will lose their registration and the right to practise.

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Need to refreash your knowledge on how to treat fungal skin diseases? : 27/01/2011 :

Would you like to catch up on some CE over the summer break?

Well, here's another one of our most popular CE activities, Fungal skin diseases. It was put together for us by Colin Curtain and the team from UMORE at the School of Pharmacy, University of Tasmania and was first published by us in May 2009.

Click here to do this Continuing Education activity or you might like to have a look at some of our other CE activities here .

As a special treat for our basic level members we've made this activity available to them too FOR ONE WEEK ONLY.

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

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Poll: would you buy generics from Pfizer? : 27/01/2011 :

Come Feb 1 (next Tuesday) the only way community pharmacies will be able to obtain Pfizer prescription products for their customers is direct from Pfizer. Pfizer has withdrawn its products from the three mainstream pharmacy wholesalers from this date.

Presumably all pharmacies will have opened accounts with Pfizer but talk amongst pharmacists on AusPharmList and elsewhere makes it clear that they are p*ssed off with Pfizer's move. All of this has 'listers (and us) wondering how much support Pfizer will get for its generics range, particularly when Lipitor generics become available on the PBS later this year.

Please let us know what you think by voting in this week's AusPharm poll. Please note that is a 24 hour 'quickie' poll - we'll be publishing the result tomorrow.

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Geraldine Moses Flood Appeal : 27/01/2011 :

As many 'listers will already be aware, an appeal is underway to raise money for Australian pharmacy icon, Geraldine Moses.

Geraldine and her family lost  most of their possessions when their Brisbane home was flooded and they, like many Brisbanites, had no flood insurance.

If you're interested in contributing to the appeal you can get more information here.

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Former Guild President honoured : 27/01/2011 :

Former Guild President John Bronger is one of 334 Australians awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in the 2011 Australia Day Honours yesterday.

Mr Bronger was Guild President from 1994 - 2005. His award was for 'For service to the pharmaceutical industry through roles with professional organisations.'

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Reduce Your Risk During Healthy Weight Week : 25/01/2011 :

The Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon kicked off Healthy Weight Week yesterday by calling on the community to get active, eat well and adopt a healthy lifestyle.

“Australia has the world’s fifth-highest rate of adult obesity and with more than 60 per cent of adults and 25 per cent of children either overweight or obese, there has never been a more important time to tackle preventable diseases”, Ms Roxon said.

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Australia Day : 25/01/2011 :

We won't be publishing the AusPharm(e)news tomorrow as it's Australia Day.

We'll be back as usual on Thursday.

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Unsanctioned tranquilliser use in teenagers : 24/01/2011 :

Around 17% of Australian teenagers have used tranquillisers other than for medical reasons at some point in their life with the proportions of students ever using tranquillisers increasing from
13% of 12 year-olds to around 19% of 15 to 17 year olds.

These figures were released this week in a National Drug Strategy monograph: Australian secondary school students’ use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2008.

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Only stage 1 NRT PBS listed? : 24/01/2011 :

'Listers may have noticed in our February PBS report that some nicotine replacmeent therapy products will be fully listed from February 1. The listed products are:

  • Nicorette 15mg Patch
  • Nicotinell Step 1 21mg patch
  • Nicabate P 21mg

AusPharm wonders what the rationale is for listing only 'stage 1' NRT products?

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Cipro gets PBS flood listing : 21/01/2011 :

The Acting Minister for Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, announced yesterday the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) listing of an important antibiotic will be extended, to increase the treatment options for people with skin infections caused by contact with contaminated flood water.

Mr Butler said that in response to a Queensland Health request, doctors will be able to prescribe the PBS-subsidised antibiotic ciprofloxacin for the treatment of skin infections associated with exposure to flood waters.

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Consumers release budget ask : 21/01/2011 :

The Consumers Health Forum has released its 2011-12 Federal Budget submission.

The submission addresses a range areas including:

  • prevention and promotion
  • access and equity
  • health reform initiatives, including consumer engagement and involvement in these initiatives
  • therapeutic goods policy, and
  • and consumer information and health literacy.

The CHF submission is here.

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