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AusPharm news

1/3 of pharmacists drink alcohol outside accepted standards : 20/07/2012 :

1/3 of the respondents to this week's AusPharm poll told us that they drink alcohol in unsafe ways.

While only 3% told us they drink 'heavily' (2%) or 'had a 'problem' (1%), 13% told us they binge sometimes with another 19% admitting to drinking 'a bit more' than the accepted 'safe' level. These numbers are not too far from those for the population as a whole.

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You call THAT a syringe? : 20/07/2012 :

A nice syringe last Friday's Photo of the Week. Thanks to Peter Allen, for this week's photo below.

Our clients are fascinated by the collection below, especially the fat needles. I explain that the 18-gauge are only for drawing up.

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AusPharm CE: Ten possible questions for the person with hypertension : 19/07/2012 :

The latest AusPharm CE topic is Ten possible questions for the person with hypertensione - it's been put together for us by Dr Jenny Gowan.

"Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the term used for heart, stroke and blood vessel diseases. It is the leading cause of death in Australia, accounting for 33% of all deaths in Australia in 2009. Cardiovascular disease is one of Australia's largest health problems. Despite improvements over the last few decades, it remains one of the biggest burdens on our economy."

The Learning Objectives for this activity are:

  • To select relevant counselling points when talking to people  about optimum blood  pressure control 
  • To list targets for optimum blood pressure levels   
  • To assist in optimum choice of medications for hypertension
  • To identify and predict adverse effects from medications used  to manage  hypertension
  • To refer patients for appropriate assessment to optimise their risk management 

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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Large increase in treated end-stage kidney disease : 19/07/2012 :

The number of Australians treated with dialysis or kidney transplantation for their end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) almost tripled between 1991 and 2009, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

ESKD is the most severe form of chronic kidney disease, where kidney function is so reduced that dialysis or a transplant is necessary for survival.

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Too much food, too little balance on Aussie plates : 18/07/2012 :

Many Australians are eating too much of some foods and not enough of others, according to a report released yesterday by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

‘The report shows that many Australians are not striking a balance between foods high in fat and sugar and more nutritious choices,’ said AIHW spokesperson Lisa McGlynn.

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PHARMeFOOTY weekly wrap : 18/07/2012 :

AFL - Round 16

Round 16 of the 2012 AFL season commenced with a Friday night blockbuster featuring the Roos and the Blues, in an intense match it was the Roos who broke away to defeat the Blues by a whopping 54 points. Other highlights of the round included the Dockers firing up in the last quarter to defeat the determined Demons by 34 points and the GC Suns defeating Richmond by a slim 2 points, recording their first win of the season.

NRL - Round 19

Round 19 of the 2012 NRL Season commenced with the Broncos and the NZ Warriors, in a close encounter it was the Broncos that were victorious 10-8. Other results of the round included the Bulldogs rising to the occasion defeating the Eels at ANZ Stadium 32-20, the Cowboys outplaying the Storm 20-16, handing them their second loss in a row and the Knights demolishing the Sea Eagles 32-6.

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TGA gets new advisory committee : 18/07/2012 :

The TGA is to get a a new advisory committee, to be called the Australian Therapeutic Goods Advisory Council, to provide it with broad strategic advice, with an emphasis on improving communications between the regulator and its key stakeholders.

The Council will be chaired by Australia's Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Baggoley and will comprise 10–12 members who will provide expert advice from the perspective of the TGA’s three main stakeholder groups – consumers, health professionals and industry.

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Poll: do you drink alcohol responsibly? : 18/07/2012 :

Last week's AusPharm poll told us that only 2% of pharmacist smoke daily, well below the average for the general community, thought to be about 15%.

What about the other legal drug, also responsible for significant morbidity in Australia, alcohol?

Do you drink alcohol regularly? Never? Socially?

Please let us know by ticking the relevant box in today's AusPharm online poll.

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NPS: Non drugs therapies preferred for insomnia : 17/07/2012 :

Following the wave of recent media reports regarding the use of Stilnox by athletes, NPS is promoting the message to the publisc that there are many non-medicine options available to help those who have trouble sleeping.

NPS clinical adviser Dr Philippa Binns says that sleeping tablets, including Stilnox / zolpidem ­ are not the first-choice treatment for sleep disorders and that using non-medicine therapies are a better option.

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PSA releases draft mental health care framework : 17/07/2012 :

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) has released a consultation paper on a draft Framework for pharmacists as partners in the mental health care team.
 
The draft framework has been developed in consultation with an Expert Steering Committee (ESC), chaired by Dr Julie Stokes, comprising representatives from pharmacy and mental health organisations, the medical, nursing, psychology and psychiatry professions, and consumer and carer representatives.

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(A little) more on atorvastatin : 17/07/2012 :

One other company yesterday declared it was not responsible for the pending December 1 atorvas tatin chemist list price drop and Lipitor manufacturer Pfizer also commented.

Apotex said in a statement that it would 'like to advise customers that it was not responsible for triggering this price reduction and at this stage is not aware which sponsor has offered the reduced price'.

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UK Chief Pharmaceutical officer to speak at PAC12 : 16/07/2012 :

The United Kingdom’s Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, Dr Keith Ridge Chief, will be a keynote speaker at this year’s Pharmacy Australia Congress (PAC12).
 
Dr Ridge will bring to the Congress his wealth of experience in a wide range of pharmacy areas and in particular will look at the viability and sustainability of the profession.

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Board looking for committee members : 16/07/2012 :

The Pharmacy Board of Australia is seeking expressions of interest from suitably qualified and experienced pharmacists to be appointed as a member of the Board's Notifications Committee.

The Notifications Committee considers notifications from all jurisdictions with the exception of NSW. The expression of interest process is therefore open to pharmacists in all other states and territories.

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Union urges employee pharmacists to 'Check your pay' : 16/07/2012 :

As part of National Check Your Pay Day employee pharmacist union APESMA is urging pharmacists to check their pay today to ensure they are getting the right amount.

APESMA's Jacki Baulch said APESMA was regularly contacted by pharmacists who had not been receiving their legal rates of pay from their employer, backing up recent findings from the Fair Work Ombudsman.

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Atorvastatin price drop no joke : 16/07/2012 :

'Listers may recall this year's AusPharm's April Fool story that foreshadowed atorvastatin price cuts outside the price disclosure framework.

At the time we were surprised at the level of angst this caused in Health Minister Plibersek's office. The day we ran the story AusPharm received a call from a highly agitated Ministerial staffer demanding we pull the piece and issue a 'clarification' (which we did).

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RGH E-Bulletin: Calciphylaxis : 16/07/2012 :

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

"Calciphylaxis or calcific uremic arteriolopathy is a complex syndrome which causes vascular calcification and skin necrosis. It is characterised by the presence of calcification of the arteries and soft tissues and it causes skin necrosis resulting in ulcer formation. Clinical markers include altered sensations on the skin and mottled skin lesions, plaques and nodules which can lead to painful necrotic ulcers. Disorders that are most often implicated in the pathogenesis of calciphylaxis include chronic renal failure, obesity, diabetes, hypercalcemia, hyperphosphotaemia, an elevated calcium-phosphate product and secondary hyperparathyroidism. Other risk factors associated with calciphylaxis include female gender and Caucasian descent."

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

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Pharmacists don't smoke : 13/07/2012 :

94% of the respondents to this week's AusPharm poll told us they either never smoked or 'gave up years' ago. This is in start contrast to the 14-16% said to be daily smokers in Australia in 2010.

Why is it so? Who knows but it's probably not, as one 'lister suggested, 'because we're not allowed to leave our post to grab a fag!

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5 questions to ask your pharmacist on treating colds and flu : 13/07/2012 :

NPS yesterday published guidance for people suffering from a cold or flu to help them seek advice from pharmacists on how to treat their symptoms.
 
NPS clinical adviser Dr Philippa Binns says that with colds and flu abundant at this time of year, and with reported flu spikes in some parts of the country, it’s important people equip themselves with the information they need to manage the symptoms of their illness and help themselves feel better.

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New NAPSA executive elected : 12/07/2012 :

University of South Australia pharmacy student Chris Braithwaite in the new president of the National Australian Pharmacy Students’ Association (NAPSA).

Chris was elected at the NAPSA AGM, held in Canberra last weekend. Also elected at the AGM were executive committee members Ellen Pedler (University of South Australia), Bronwyn Jones (University of Tasmania) and Frank Kazantzis (Curtin University).

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Fact sheet: Unapproved pharmacies and switching between PBS and non-PBS : 12/07/2012 :

The Department of Health and Ageing has finalised the development of a fact sheet that describes what happens to prescription repeats when consumers move between PBS approved and unapproved pharmacies.

In short, once an unapproved pharmacy is used to dispense a valid PBS/RPBS prescription, that supply, and all subsequent repeats, must be supplied as non-PBS (private) supplies, regardless of whether they are dispensed in PBS approved or unapproved pharmacies.

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