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Three inaugural honorary members appointed by NPS : 21/11/2011 :

The NPS constitution was revised in 2010 to enable the NPS Board to publicly recognise individuals who have made outstanding contributions towards quality use of medicines. The first three honorary members of NPS have now been appointed following an extensive call for nominations and shortlisting process.

The NPS Board resolved unanimously to invite consumer health advocate Ms Jan Donovan, leading figure in Australian health Professor Emeritus Lloyd Sansom AO and long-standing quality use of medicines advocate Professor Richard Day AM to become honorary members of NPS.

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RGH E‑Bulletin: Zonisamide : 21/11/2011 :

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

"Zonisamide (Zonegran®) is an antiepileptic drug that has been used for many years around the world but has only recently become available in Australia. It is listed as an Authority benefits prescription on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, subsidised for the treatment of partial epileptic seizures not controlled satisfactorily by other anti-epileptic drugs. Zonisamide is a sulphonamide agent and its exact mechanism of action is unclear. Studies have shown efficacy as an adjunct treatment in partial epilepsy, and it may also be effective as monotherapy. Whilst zonisamide reduces the frequency of seizures more than placebo, few patients become seizure free. The longest randomised controlled clinical trial had a maintenance stage of only 18 weeks, so long term efficacy is unclear. Its use has also been investigated in the treatment of bipolar disorder, obesity and parkinsonism."

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

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Agencies come together to combat online supply of counterfeit and illegal medicines : 18/11/2011 :

The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service and the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) have taken part in an international ‘Week of Action’ targeting the online sale of counterfeit and illegal medicines.

Together with over 80 participating countries, Operation Pangea IV was undertaken to raise awareness of the health risks associated with the misuse of counterfeit and illegal medicines, and has resulted in a series of arrests across the globe and the worldwide seizure of thousands of potentially harmful medical products.

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Role for a new union in Australian pharmacy? Maybe : 18/11/2011 :

While there is some difference of opinion some 60% of respondents to this week's AusPharm poll told us they think there is a place for a pharmacist' union to represent the interests of ALL Australian pharmacists.

Last week's poll told us that the 'right' price for membership of such a union would be $150 - $200.

This week's result suggest that further research might be useful to determine whether or not a new organisation like this might actually fly.

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NPS Medicines List iPhone app wins SHPA award : 18/11/2011 :

A presentation on the award-winning NPS Medicines List iPhone app has been recognised with two awards at the Society of Hospital Pharmacists Australia (SHPA) federal conference, held in Hobart last weekend. The paper won an award for Best Paper in IT and Innovation, as well as Best Paper overall.
NPS clinical adviser Dr Danielle Stowasser, who presented the paper, says that she is thrilled by the huge interest in ­ and praise for ­ the app from delegates at the conference.

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AusPharm CE: Rheumatoid arthritis : 17/11/2011 :

The latest AusPharm CE topic is Rheumatoid arthritis - it's been put together for us by Dr Jenny Gowan.

"Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic inflammatory disease that initially focuses on synovial joints.  It is a lymphocyte-mediated autoimmune disease that can cause chronic inflammation of the joints and other areas of the body, including the heart, respiratory system, nerves and eyes. It can affect people of all ages. RA usually affects multiple joints on both sides of the body at the same time. The cytokines tumour necrosis factor (TNF) and interleukin-1 ((IL-1) appear to be key factors although other pro-inflammatory mediators are also involved.  The inflammation results in joint destruction with both bony erosions and cartilage loss."

The Learning Objectives for this activity are:

  • To be able to communicate with patients about the management of rheumatoid arthritis
  • To assist patients to achieve adherence to medication regimens to treat rheumatoid arthritis and its associated complications
  • To  identify adverse effects from medications used  to treat rheumatoid arthritis
  • To ensure that patients undergo regular monitoring to minimise adverse effects from medications used to treat arthritis.

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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Revised Arrangements for Chemotherapy Drugs from 1 December 2011 : 17/11/2011 :

The Revised Arrangements for the Efficient Funding of Chemotherapy Drugs commence from 1 December 2011. Prescribing and dispensing arrangements for oral chemotherapy medicines remain unchanged. The Revised Arrangements cover infusible and injectable chemotherapy medicines.

The changes will:

  • require prescribers to write dose specific prescriptions using milligrams (in most situations) without specific reference to forms and strengths;
  • pay approved suppliers/pharmacists for the most cost-efficient combination of vials that makes up the required patient dose; and
  • result in changes to the way that chemotherapy drugs are listed in the Schedule.

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OTC medicines sector to get less regulation but more scrutiny, TGA tells ASMI Conference : 17/11/2011 :

The over-the-counter (OTC) medicines sector will benefit from greater certainty and predictability from regulators, but should expect to come under increased community scrutiny, the Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) national conference in Sydney heard yesterday.

Dr Rohan Hammett, the National Manager of the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) told the conference that while the business reform process underway for the OTC sector will bring significant benefits in medicine approvals and timelines, community scrutiny of the sector's activities would be intense.

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Rural pharmacy workforce under the microscope : 17/11/2011 :

Pharmacy is faced with the challenge of providing an expanding range of professional pharmacy services and primary health care services to consumers.  The capacity of pharmacy to continue to expand its role in health care will involve addressing workforce supply issues across the entire pharmacy spectrum.
In order to address this issue, funding has been awarded – through the Research and Development Program funded under the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing – for research that will examine the rural and remote workforce and its impact on access to pharmacy services at a local level.

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Hay fever tops list for chronic respiratory conditions : 17/11/2011 :

About 3.1 million Australians, or 15% of the population, suffer from hay fever, making it one of the most common chronic respiratory conditions in Australia, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

Data from pharmacy suppliers suggests that spending by pharmacies on these medicines doubled between 2001 and 2010, going from $107.8 million to $226.8 million per year. While not all of these medicines would have been used for allergic rhinitis, treatment of this condition is likely to have accounted for a large proportion of the increase.

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Medicines Australia: pharma industry a key player in ‘post-mining boom’ economy : 16/11/2011 :

The medicines industry will offer Australia significant strategic and economic advantages in a post-mining boom future, Medicines Australia chief executive Dr Brendan Shaw told the National Press Club recently.

Dr Shaw said that with the right policy settings to encourage innovation, research and manufacturing the medicines industry could capitalise on its advantages.

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Award for quality use of medicines in pain management : 16/11/2011 :

Applications are now being invited for the 2012 PSA Award for QUM in Pain Management.

This award is to recognise a PSA member who is making an outstanding contribution to the quality use of medicines through direct clinical care in consumers with persistent pain.

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The issue of failure : 16/11/2011 :

Learning from your mistakes receives ringing endorsements from the highest circles as a legitimate management resource. So much so, that earlier this year an issue of the Harvard Business Review (HBR) was entirely devoted to the attributes of failure... the issue of failure.

As the editorial of the magazine says, "every article provides some home truths about good failures (when we expect to fail and learn something), bad failures (when we’re sabotaged by errors in judgment), or unavoidable failures (when complex systems break down). Check it out if you want to face fear of failure, handle failure, learn from failure, recover from failure, or persist despite failure. The HBR makes the point that management often pay lip service to the value of learning from failure, and have not in fact truly embraced the "F-word".

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Poll: Does the pharmacy profession need a new union, representing ALL pharmacists, to lobby for our interests? : 16/11/2011 :

There has been much discussion in pharmacy circles in recent times about the effectiveness or otherwise of pharmacist employee union, the Pharmacists' Division of APESMA and some dissatisfaction with the performance of owner union, the Pharmacy Guild, regarding its negotiation of PBS reforms and thehe 5th Agreement and its handling of the recent 'endorsement' deals.

The idea has been floated on AusPharmList that there might be some value in the establishment of a new union for ALL pharmacists, possibly called the 'Pharmacists' Union of Australia (PUA), to lobby for our the profession's collective interests.

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Pfizer announces further improvements to Pfizer Direct : 16/11/2011 :

Pfizer Australia has announced further improvements to the delivery of its medicines to community pharmacies across Australia through Pfizer Direct.

Managing Director John Latham said the package of measures was the latest in a series of enhancements made over recent months.

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Online Board registration a hit : 15/11/2011 :

Pharmacy Board of Australia Chair Stephen Marty said on Friday the Pharmacy Board is encouraged by the renewal response already received from the 24,000 pharmacists due to renew by 30 November 2011. With just over two weeks to go before the 30 November registration expiry date, more than 55 percent of pharmacists due to renew have done so.

“It is fantastic that many pharmacists due to renew have heeded calls to apply early and I would encourage all in the profession to use the online service for quick and easy renewal,” Mr Marty said.

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PSA NSW Branch launches CPExpo : 15/11/2011 :

The NSW Branch of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s NSW Branch has officially launched next year's inaugural Clinical and Practice Expo (CPExpo).

CPExpo, to be held at the Hordern Pavilion, Sydney 25 – 27 May 2012,is a new professional development and practice support event incorporating practical innovations and a patient focus.

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Australian Clinical Pharmacy Award 2011 to Adelaide Pharmacist, Greg Roberts : 15/11/2011 :

During Medicines Management 2011, the 37th SHPA National Conference, held in Hobart last weekend, the SHPA Australian Clinical Pharmacy Award for 2011 was awarded to Mr Greg Roberts, Clinical Research Pharmacist at the Repatriation General Hospital in Adelaide.

Greg’s skills in research, collaboration and communication have enabled him to realise his visions of improving patient care and medication safety.  His research outcomes have been integrated into everyday clinical patient care by pharmacists, doctors and nurses in many parts of Australia.

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NPS launches new online information hub on World Diabetes Day : 15/11/2011 :

Yesterday, on World Diabetes Day, NPS launched an online information hub for consumers, to help people with type 2 diabetes be medicinewise about their condition.

NPS Clinical Adviser Dr Danielle Stowasser says the online hub is a comprehensive source of information about type 2 diabetes, including its causes, diagnosis and treatment.

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Chemist Warehouse to fight location rule changes : 15/11/2011 :

The Chemist Warehouse group has launched a campaign to overturn the recent changes to the pharmacy location rules. Read all about it here.

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