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AusPharm news

VCP student Victorian Pharmacy student of the year : 30/07/2012 :

Victorian College of Pharmacy student Kahlinda Mahoney has been named the 2012 Victorian Pharmacy Student of the Year.

Winning by the closest margin in the history of the competition, Kahlinda will represent Victorian pharmacy students to compete for the national title being held at PAC12 in October.

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RGH E-Bulletin: Antibiotics in renal impairment : 30/07/2012 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Antibiotics in renal impairment.

"Confusion surrounds the prescribing of antimicrobials in renal impairment; whether to reduce the dose or extend the dosing interval. Suggested dose adjustments in renal impairment for many commonly used antibiotics are provided here, based on tables which can be found in the Therapeutic Guidelines (TG) Antibiotic, 14th edition. No dose adjustment is required for some agents – these include azithromycin, roxithromycin, ceftriaxone, cefaclor, clindamycin, doxycycline, linezolid, moxifloxacin, phenoxymethylpenicillin, metronidazole among others. The dosing of antibiotics such as penicillins (beta-lactams) and vancomycin is time-dependent, meaning that these exert optimal bactericidal effect when drug concentrations are maintained above the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC). Therefore reducing the frequency of administration by extending the dosing interval (rather than changing the magnitude of individual doses) is the strategy for dosing these antibiotics in renal impairment."

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

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Why are homeopathic preparations available in Australian community pharmacy? Practice based research. : 27/07/2012 :

As health consumers take more control of  their own health and improve their health literacy, complementary medicines are a popular choice. Pharmacists pride themselves on being medication experts and being able to provide sound advice to consumers to support their health behaviour.

Scientific and good quality evidence for claims and advice given to consumers has been the subject of significant media attention in Australia in the recent past. Pharmacists want to increase their role in helping people to navigate the evidence, understand their medicines and care for their health. They also want to build their credibility within the primary health care team with government and other health providers.

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College conference set to impress : 27/07/2012 :

The Australian College of Pharmacy's 23rd Annual Conference, scheduled for 3-6 August 2012 in Brisbane, is proving to be a great hit. The industry has responded to the College’s changed format, location and price.
 
College National President Trent Twomey said: "Our 2012 conference is shaping up to be our most successful ever by any measure. We have our largest number of delegates, our largest number of trade exhibitors and our largest number of corporate partners and sponsors in our 34 year history. I am very proud of the program we have put together. "

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Pharmacists measure up well : 27/07/2012 :

This week's AusPharm 'lifestyle' related poll, which looked at pharmacists' BMI, followed two other recent polls that look at pharmacists' smoking habits and level of alcohol consumption.

This week's poll suggests that pharmacists are much more likely to maintain a healthy weight than 'average' Australian adults.

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PHARMeFOOTY weekly wrap : 26/07/2012 :

AFL Round 17

Round 17 of the 2012 AFL season commenced with a Friday night blockbuster featuring the Cats and the Bombers, in a hard game it was the Cats who reigned supreme and doubled the score of the Bombers 134-67. Otherhighlights of the round included the Hawks showing the Magpies who the real birds of prey are, defeating them by 47 points at the MCG.

NRL Round 20

Round 20 of the 2012 NRL Season commenced with the Sea Eagles and the Bulldogs, in an intense match it was the Bulldogs that were victorious 20-12. Other results of the round included the Titans rising to the occasion defeating the Broncos at Skilled Park 14-10, the Eels defeating a woeful Storm outfit 16-10, handing them their third loss in a row and the Raiders demolishing the Sea Eagles 36-4.

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PAC12 Early Bird registrations now close August 1 : 26/07/2012 :

PAC12 Early Bird Registrations have been extended, giving pharmacists extra time to save money while ensuring their attendance at the pharmacy profession’s premier Australian conference.

Early Bird Registrations will now close on August 1 and under this special offer PSA members will pay $775 (a saving of $150), while for  non-members the fee is  $960 (a saving of $195).

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Medicines Australia: MoU lowering prices : 26/07/2012 :

Inflation figures released yesterday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) measuring the Consumer Price Index (CPI) show a fall in the prices consumers pay for medicines.

According to Medicines Australia (MA) this fall shows that the Memorandum of Understanding between Medicines Australia and the Government for the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme is working.

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Counterfeit medicines a growing global concern : 25/07/2012 :

Medicines Australia has joined calls from the global pharmaceutical industry this week for a crackdown against online sales of counterfeit medicines around the world.

According to Medicines Australia chief executive Dr Brendan Shaw evidence is emerging of thousands of websites operating internationally engaged in the supply of counterfeit medicines.

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New e-Mental Health Tool Launched : 25/07/2012 :

A new online mental health tool, myCompass, designed to support people living with a mental health issue such as anxiety or depression was launched yesterday.

Developed by a team of health professionals at the Black Dog Institute the online tool assesses user symptoms, then provides a personalised support program that includes online psychological tools, round-the-clock monitoring of moods and behaviours and motivational tips via email and SMS.

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Raising awareness of chronic pain : 25/07/2012 :

This week is National Pain Week and as part of the week's activities Chronic Pain Australia is a

iming to initiate a discussion with Government to:

  • raise awareness of the impact of chronic pain on Australians;
  • de-stigmatise the condition as part of the approach to helping people manage their pain
  • minimise the risk of pain becoming chronic and
  • reduce the financial burden of pain on the whole community

According to the group, chronic pain is now recognised as the third largest “health problem” in Australia with 1 in 5 Australians suffering from some form of chronic pain.

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Poll: are pharmacists at their healthy weight? : 25/07/2012 :

Over the last couple of week's AusPharm's polls have looked at pharmacists' smoking and drinking habits. The results showed that pharmacists, in the main, don't smoke but, in concert with the broader Australian community, many pharmacists drink more alcohol than is good for them.

What about weight? Are you at a healthy weight? While Body Mass Index (BMI) might not be the most appropriate measure in 2012, it remains the most well known so we'll use that measure for our poll.

Where do you sit on the BMI scale? Please let us know by ticking the relevant box in this week's AusPharm poll.

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Pharmacists: dextropropoxyphene should be off the market : 25/07/2012 :

In an AusPharm poll with a, for us, surprisingly high voter turnout (n=265) almost 3/4 of respondents (71%) say that dextropropoxyphene containing products should be removed from the Australian market, despite them apparently having a clinical use in a small number of patients.

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Dunlevy: it's Pfizer : 25/07/2012 :

In a piece in today's Australian newspaper (subscription), journalist Sue Dunlevy, tells readers about the recent PBS price manoeuverings with atorvastatin.

She notes that 'Chemists stand to bear the brunt of the cuts, which will claw back for taxpayers some of the 70-90 per cent discounts pharmacists have been pocketing when drug wholesalers sell them medicines at much lower prices than the government set price under the nation's drug subsidy scheme.'

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Danish pharmacy ownership parallels with Australia : 24/07/2012 :

Consumer advocates in Denmark are calling on the government to force pharmacists to de-regulate pharmacy ownership according to a recent article in The Copenhagen Post. As in Australia, the law in Denmark requires pharmacies to be owned by pharmacists with limits to the number of pharmacies a single pharmacist may run. Consumer/competition bodies are recommending changes to allow any individual or company to open a pharmacy provided it was staffed by appropriately qualified healthcare professionals.

The call comes in response to study findings that Denmark had the fewest pharmacies per capita amongst European countries, as a result of its restrictive pharmacy regulations. Liberalising ownership regulations would be expected to increase competition, giving consumers a substantial saving on prescription spending.

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AMA plan for better meeting chronic and complex care needs : 23/07/2012 :

In recognition of the growing need for care of those with chronic and complex health needs as the population ages, the AMA has released a revised version of its Chronic Disease Plan: Improving Care for Patients with Chronic and Complex Care Needs.

In promoting the plan, AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton said “current Medicare funded chronic disease management arrangements are too limited, are difficult for patients to access, and involve considerable red tape and bureaucracy." The AMA's plan focuses on how GP-coordinated primary care can be made more accessible for patients with multiple chronic conditions, and if followed, could provide savings to the overall health budget by keeping such patients out of hospital.

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PDL Centenary dinner: RSVP deadline is TODAY : 23/07/2012 :

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RGH E-Bulletin: Vemurafenib for metastatic melanoma. : 23/07/2012 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Vemurafenib for metastatic melanoma.

"Melanoma is the fourth most common cancer affecting Australians, accounting for 9.5% of all cancers in this country, with more than 10,300 new cases diagnosed annually. While melanoma is the least common dermatological cancer, it is associated with the highest rates of mortality and accounts for around 75% of all skin cancer related deaths.

Vemurafenib (Zelboraf®) is a targeted new oral therapy for metastatic and unresectable melanomas which carry the BRAF-V600E gene mutation. This BRAF-kinase inhibitor was approved by the US FDA as well as the European committee for medical products for human use in 2011 after publication of a phase 3 efficacy study: the BRIM-3 trial (n = 675). The trial showed a greater overall survival rate at six months (84% vs. 64%) and greater mean progression-free survival (5.3 months vs. 1.6 months) with vemurafenib when compared to the standard first line chemotherapy agent  dacarbazine."

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

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UK polypill trial hits the headlines : 23/07/2012 :

In news widely reported in mainstream media around the world, the results of a small UK 'Polypill' trial published last week in the journal PLoS One show that a four-component Polypill given to people aged 50 and over achieved large reductions in blood cholesterol and blood pressure.

The study was a randomised placebo-controlled cross-over trial in which each person took the Polypill for three months and a placebo for three months, in random sequence, and was the first trial in people selected on the basis of age alone without the need for a medical examination or tests.

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Poll: should dextropropoxyphene products remain available in Australia? : 23/07/2012 :

'Listers will be aware that, in December 2011, on the basis of a risk/benefit analysis, the TGA announced plans to remove all dextroproxyphene containing products from the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods.

Capadex and Paradex were duly removed from the ARTG on 1 March 2012 but Doloxene and DiGesic received a stay of execution following a successful legal appeal by its maker, Aspen who say that 'a small group of patients would be left without adequate pain relief if DiGesic [and Doloxene] were no longer available'.

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