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RGH E-Bulletin: Systemic effects of topical ophthalmic preparations : 12/06/2012 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Systemic effects of topical ophthalmic preparations.

"Ophthalmic medications are used for a number of conditions such as glaucoma, infection, allergy and inflammation, often on a chronic basis. Generally the drugs used in this manner have good safety profiles, but they do have the potential to cause significant adverse drug events, and can interact with other systemic medications. The pharmacokinetic profile associated with ocular drug delivery resembles that of intravenous administration more closely than that of oral administration. Ophthalmic medications pass through the lacrimal sac and have access to the highly vascular nasal mucosa. Drugs are variably absorbed from this site, but importantly they avoid first-pass hepatic metabolism."

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

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Continuing rise in number of older Australians hospitalised after a fall : 12/06/2012 :

The number of older Australians hospitalised after a fall is rising, according to a number of reports released last week by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The first, Hospitalisations due to falls in older people, Australia 2008-09, shows that there were 78,600 hospitalised injury cases due to falls in people aged 65 and over in 2008-09.

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Counselling guide for non-prescription medicines : 12/06/2012 :

PSA has published a new reference work, Non-Prescription Medicines in the Pharmacy: A guide to advice and treatment, to help pharmacists provide the best possible advice when talking to customers and patients about non-prescription medicines.

This reference book is a practical guide to the counselling advice that should be given when selling non-prescription and complementary medicines. It is an ideal resource to use when providing training for pharmacy assistants and students which can help them in advising on self care strategies for minor illnesses.

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In vitro studies indicate goji berry potential in diabetic retinopathy : 12/06/2012 :

Assisted by a PhD scholarship from the National Institute of Complementary Medicine, University of Sydney researcher Ms Min Song has conducted in vitro tests indicating that a taurine-rich goji berry (Lycium barbarum) extract may have some value in protecting the retinal barrier in diabetic patients.

According to the lead researcher, Basil Roufogalis (Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry), "diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of blindness for people with diabetes. Typically what happens is proteins in the eye become oxidated and high glucose levels force retinal cells to die."

The pharmacy researchers initially undertook work showing the goji berry and its taurine component activated a nuclear receptor protein, PPAR-gamma. This protein plays a crucial role in regulating the retinal cells. This paved the way for further investigation of Lycium barbarum (goji) and its potential to activate the PPAR-gamma receptor.

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Training pharmacists in smoking cessation : 12/06/2012 :

Campaigns to quit smoking continue to be a high, and highly visible, public health priority. A recently updated Cochrane review identified and analysed randomised trials (conducted up to March 2012) in which the intervention was training of health care professionals in smoking cessation.

Of the 17 trials considered, one involved pharmacists exclusively, and 3 others involved a combination of healthcare professionals that included pharmacists. The study locations were predominantly the USA, but also included Switzerland, Germany, UK, Canada and Taiwan.

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QB honours for Elizabeth Frost, Delaat, Brunasco : 12/06/2012 :

Former President of the Australian Pharmacy Council and former President of the NSW Pharmacy Board, Elizabeth Frost, pictured right, has been awarded a Medal (OAM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia for 'service to the pharmaceutical industry through a range of roles with professional organisations'.

Also awarded a Medal, was former Chair of Medicines Australia and former Merck CEO, Will Delaat, for 'service to the pharmaceutical industry through roles with professional organisations, to the development of medicines policy and reform, and to the community.'

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Guild: current ownership model serves community well : 11/06/2012 :

Responding to last week's comments from Productivity Commission Chair, Gary Banks, that a review of pharmacy ownership remains on the Commission's 'to do' list, the Pharmacy Guild says it believes the current ownership model can stand the test of any scrutiny in terms of public benefit.

The Guild said yesterday that it rejects the suggestion that current pharmacy regulation ‘adds to healthcare costs for little apparent benefit’, a comment made by Mr Banks in a speech delivered to the Economic and Social Outlook Conference, 'Securing the Future' in Melbourne on 1 November 2012. 

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Call for additional labelling symbol on new medicines : 08/06/2012 :

Speaking at the recent NPS National Medicines Symposium, Professor Emily Banks,Chairperson of the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Medicines (ACSOM), called for an additional symbol to be placed on a new medicine's packaging, advertising and other materials indicating that authorities are interested in gathering additional information on the medicine and inviting consumers to be a key part of this process.

“...when medicines are first used, it is vital that we gather information about the experiences among people using it, particularly whether there are any unexpected adverse effects, outside the clinical trial setting,” she said.

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CW 'free Lipitor generic' promotion on the nose : 08/06/2012 :

447 'listers voted in is week's poll which is two to three times the number who usually vote. Clearly, this is an issue people feel very strongly about.

Over 80% of respondents told us they were seriously p*ssed by the CW 'free Lipitor generic' promotion, all of them on Quality Use of Medicines grounds and with about half of these also concerned about the effects it will have on their businesses.

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The countdown to the best value pharmacy offer is now on : 08/06/2012 :

The Guild Pharmacy Academy – National Convention & Exhibition will open next Friday at Darling Harbour. 

Select from the range of FREE components including the Business Stream, Plenary Session, Trade Expo & Cocktail Function (on Friday 15th), or the full program available on Friday, Saturday and Sunday – over 60 education topics, hundreds of pharmacy and retail brands and networking. Don’t miss out on the dedicated sessions for owners and managers, pharmacists, accredited pharmacists, pharmacy assistants and students.  Some of the practical training sessions are nearly sold out!

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Don't let the flu floor you this season: consider the flu vaccine : 07/06/2012 :

With flu season fast approaching, NPS is encouraging has launched its annual flu vaccine campaign.
NPS clinical adviser Dr Philippa Binns says that the benefits of the flu vaccine are clear in terms of protecting individuals and communities.

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Rigby gets a paint job at ConPharm : 07/06/2012 :

The entertainment at last weekend's ConPharm gala dinner was provided by World Renowned Speed Painter, Celebrity Artist, Entertainer Brad Blaze. Brad paints portraits in a few minutes with the audience guessing who he is painting. The first painting started as Bart Simpson then transformed into Albert Einstein, the next was John Lennon who was transformed into Steve Jobs.

In between each painting he told his story of his career change, the famous people he's painted, raising over half a million dollars in the past year for charity in the process, usually through auctioning the paintings at corporate dinners.

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PHARMeFOOTY weekly wrap : 07/06/2012 :

AFL - Round 10

Round 10 of the 2012 AFL season kicked off with St. Kilda taking on Richmond which saw the tigers get over the line and close the match with an 8 point win.

NRL - Round 13

Round 13 of the 2012 NRL season saw the West Tigers demolish the Radiers at Canberra Stadium to win by a huge 40-0. Highlights for this week included the Bulldogs defeating the Rabbitohs by 5 points, the Sea Eagles beating the Dragons 20-8 at Brookvale Oval and the Titans securing a win over the Cowboys 28-12.

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AACP gets new Chair : 07/06/2012 :

Paul Sinclair, pictured right, is the 2012-2014 Chair of the AACP Board of Directors. Appointed to the AACP Board as one of the four Guild nominated directors in March 2009, Paul is also Vice President of the NSW Branch of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and a National Councillor of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.

Paul is a practising Community Pharmacist with over 30 years experience, having owned pharmacies in South West Sydney, the Southern Highlands and the Central Coast of NSW. He is Chair of the Quality and Standards Committee (QAS) of the Guild and a member of the Pharmacy Guild Health Economics Committee.

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Complementary medicines regulatory reforms : 06/06/2012 :

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) announced this week that it has started work on a series of reforms relating to complementary medicines (CAMs).

The reforms are part of the overarching A blueprint for TGA's future and also include a number of recommendations from the Auditor-General's Report on Therapeutic Goods Regulation: Complementary Medicines.

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College sessions on nutrient / medicines issues well received : 06/06/2012 :

Nine Australian and three New Zealand seminars recently staged by the Australian College of Pharmacy on the topic Drug Influences on Nutrient Levels – Examining the relationships between medicines and nutrients have attracted positive feedback from those attending.

Areas covered included the nutrient requirements for preconception planning, the cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and immune systems. The seminar was designed to update pharmacists on nutrient requirements in Australian and New Zealand populations and the effect of medications on nutrient levels. The seminars provided an evidence base for the recommendation of supplementation by pharmacists and was rounded out with case studies to help pharmacists incorporate what they had learnt into their practice.

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RGH E-Bulletin Supplement: Safety alert – check route of administration carefully : 06/06/2012 :

This RGH E Bulletin Supplement was put together following recent incidents at South Australia's Repatriation General Hospital. As it has wider applicability, it is being circulated to the broader pharmacy community.

"Recent incidents have once again drawn attention to the potential for significant adverse consequences if a medication is administered to a patient via a route other than that which was intended. If a drug intended for oral administration via a nasogastric tube is inadvertently administered via an IV line, this can cause a serious adverse reaction or even death.

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Under the influence of magnetic drugs : 06/06/2012 :

By combining three metals iron, gold and platinum, pharmacists at the University of Sydney believe they have discovered a method for magnetically directing drugs through the body.

Led by Dr Nial Wheate, a team of scientists from the Faculty of Pharmacy, along with collaborators in Scotland, have developed a new anticancer drug that has an iron oxide core as small as 5 nanometres in size (1/1000th the width of a human hair).

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Poll: reaction to the Chemist Warehouse free generic Lipitor ad : 06/06/2012 :

The discussion topic of the week in pharmacy is, without doubt, the Chemist Warehouse decision to offer its customers a free Sandoz brand atorvastatin product.

Posts to AusPharmList have, in the main, condemned the move.

How do you feel about it? Please let us know by voting in this week's AusPharm poll.

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'Speed networking' a hit : 06/06/2012 :

Friday evening's cocktail reception for delegates at the Australian College of Pharmacy's annual conference, currently underway in Brisbane,  featured 'speed networking' a great way of encouraging those in attendance to mingle more widely.

Delegates were divided into one of four groups: pharmacy owners, pharmacist employees, students and industry/HR. Each group was placed with another and the groupings changed every 15 minutes. 

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