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AusPharm news

Codeine-related deaths double between 2000 and 2009 : 05/10/2015 :

Research published in today's Medical Journal of Australia reports that the rate of codeine-related deaths in Australia more than doubled between 2000 and 2009, driven primarily by an increase in accidental overdoses.

Ms Amanda Roxburgh and colleagues from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, using data from the National Coronial Information System, found that codeine-related deaths had increased from 3.5 to 8.7 per million population between 2000 and 2009. The number of deaths due to accidental codeine overdose also increased significantly, with a 9.3% rise recorded each year, from 1.8 to 5.1 deaths per million persons.

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‘Ice’ availability and use increasing; more seeking treatment : 02/10/2015 :

The use, treatment and availability of ‘ice’ have all increased, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

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Codeine likely to go Schedule 4 : 02/10/2015 :

The Therapeutic Goods Administration's Advisory Committee on Medicines Scheduling (ACMS) yesterday published a decision made at its August meeting to up-schedule all Schedule 2 and Schedule 3 codeine containing medicines to Schedule 4.

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Many pharmacists still support sale of homeopathic products in pharmacies : 02/10/2015 :

21% of the respondents to this week's AusPharm poll disagreed with the statement 'Pharmacies should not sell homeopathic products', despite the recent publication of a position statement from the Australian Pharmacy Liaison Forum (APLF) - a group representing the peak professional bodies for pharmacy - which says pharmacists should not 'recommend or support the sale of homeopathic treatments'.

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Guild 'pharmacist prescriber' proposal raises concerns : 02/10/2015 :

Responding to the release this week of a Pharmacy Guild position statement on pharmacists in general practice which proposed pharmacists in such settings be able to prescribe, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) made it clear yesterday that its proposed, evidence based, model for pharmacists in general practice 'does not incorporate the role of a pharmacist prescriber'.

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Naracoorte Pharmacy wins the prize : 01/10/2015 :

Naracoorte Pharmacy in South Australia has taken out first place in this year's Pharmacy Choice Incentive Program.

Owner Alison Richards' prize is a luxury trip to Cape Town in October. She will be accompanied on the trip by someone from each of the top 10 pharmacies in the Program.

510 pharmacies took part in this year’s Incentive Program with stores awarded points for their commitment to group's Five Steps – buy better, improve layout, ramp up marketing, train for better results and streamline operations.

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Guild: thanks Tony. Malcolm, we can help... : 01/10/2015 :

Pharmacy Guild Executive Director David Quilty has paid tribute to former Prime Minister Tony Abbott for the role he played in getting the 6th Community Pharmacy Agreement finalised in a form that gives community pharmacy a secure future for at least the next 5 years.

Writing in Guild publication Forefront Mr Quilty said "This year, community pharmacy was shaken to its core by the twin threats of Harper and negotiating a 6CPA in the toughest possible fiscal climate".

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New report: re-evaluation of pharmacy payment models needed : 01/10/2015 :

Too many community pharmacies are subsidising professional services from their own pockets, according to a new report released yesterday at the 75th FIP Congress, currently underway in Dusseldorf.

The report - Sustainability of pharmacy services: Advancing global health - provides an international overview of remuneration models for community and hospital pharmacy.

It was produced primarily by pharmacists and health economists and is based on data from 49 countries. It reveals a common concern among pharmacy associations worldwide over the long-term financial viability of community pharmacies, independent pharmacies in particular, owing to successive price and margin cuts.

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Pressure continues on Ley to PBS list new Hep C meds : 01/10/2015 :

Twenty-seven medical and health advocacy groups have penned an open letter to Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley urging the immediate inclusion of new and effective hepatitis C drugs on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Hepatitis Australia CEO Helen Tyrrell said that pricing negotiations with pharmaceutical companies appear to have become protracted and that the time had come for the Minister to intervene and expedite the process.

“This Government is proud of its record of subsidising new medicines for conditions ranging from cancer to eye disease, citing 798 new and amended PBS listings since coming to office. We trust that the PBS listing of new hepatitis C cures will be added to this impressive list of achievements before the end of 2015,” Ms Tyrrell said.

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Poll: should pharmacies sell homeopathic products? : 30/09/2015 :

The Australian Pharmacy Liaison Forum (APLF) - a group representing the peak professional bodies for pharmacy - last week published a new Position Statement on homeopathy which says pharmacists should not 'recommend or support the sale of homeopathic treatments'.

APLF says it supports the findings of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) that homeopathy is not effective in treating health conditions.

What do you think? Should pharmacies sell homeopathic medicines (patient choice) or not (APLF Position statement)? Please cast your vote in today's AusPharm poll.

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FIP president describes plan for profession at opening of 75th world pharmacy congress : 30/09/2015 :

The 75th International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences has opened in Düsseldorf, Germany.

At the opening ceremony, FIP President Carmen Peña, in her inaugural presidential address, called on pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists around the world to ensure that the profession of pharmacy remains relevant and able to respond effectively to the current and future needs of the world’s communities.

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FIP fellowships to two Australian pharmacists : 30/09/2015 :

Two Australian pharmacists have been honoured with FIP fellowships at the current FIP Congress which began in Dusseldorf early this week.

Professor Jennifer Marriott from Monash University's Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Dr Rebekah Moles from the University of Sydney's Faculty of Pharmacy were two of eleven pharmacists so honoured.

FIP Fellowships recognise individual members of FIP who have exhibited strong leadership internationally, who have distinguished themselves in pharmacy practice or the pharmaceutical sciences, who have contributed to the advancement of the practice of pharmacy or pharmaceutical sciences, and who have served FIP.

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NSW government to cover S100 Highly Specialised Drugs co-payments : 30/09/2015 :

From tomorrow (1 October) the NSW government will pay the patient co-payment for s100 Highly Specialised Drugs supply for NSW residents who are patients of NSW public hospital or authorised community prescribers in NSW.

The government committed to the initiative in March 2015 'to help ease the financial burden for those in the community who have some cancers and other chronic conditions'.

In the initial roll out of the system, the NSW Government will pay the co-payment for HIV antiretroviral therapy, Hepatitis B medicines and clozapine dispensed in the community pharmacy setting.

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The pitfalls of opioid prescribing, dispensing : 29/09/2015 :

A new article published online in Australian Prescriber highlights both the risks associated with prescribing opioids and the potential pitfalls that might be encountered when having opioid prescriptions dispensed.

Authors Dr Walid Jammal and Ms Grace Gown - from medical indemnity provider Avant Mutual Group - urge prescribers to recognise that opioid prescribing can lead to patient harm as well as pose medicolegal risks. They highlight that the regulation of opioids is a public health issue that urgently needs action to address the inconsistencies across states.

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Online renewal of pharmacist registration now open : 29/09/2015 :

Australian pharmacists can now renew their registration online with the Pharmacy Board of Australia. Renewals are due by 30 November.

Earlier this month the Board announced that it had limited the fee increase for next year to below the national CPI of 1.3%. A fee schedule, including the fee arrangements for practitioners whose principal place of practice is NSW, is published on the Board’s website, here.

The general registration fee, for most pharmacists, has been set at $320 for 2015/16 - a rise of $3.00 on this year.

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Be Medicinewise Week: Be medicinewise at all ages and life stages : 28/09/2015 :

The theme of this year's Be Medicinewise Week is to be Be medicinewise at all ages and life stages.

Be Medicinewise Week, a national awareness week that promotes the safe and wiser use of medicines by all Australians, is now in its fifth year and will be held in 2015 from 12-18 October.

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Have you experienced violence in your workplace before? : 28/09/2015 :

The result of last week's AusPharm poll has prompted researchers from the University of Tasmania's School of Pharmacy to get in touch to alert us to a study they are conducting.

The University of Tasmania is currently surveying community pharmacists, paramedics, emergency physicians and GP registrars to determine the types of violent incidents experienced by health care professionals in their workplace and how they dealt with these incidents.

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Pharmacists learning with other health professionals will become more common, new report predicts : 28/09/2015 :

Learning together with other health professionals is becoming more mainstream for pharmacists and future pharmacists, according to a new report published by the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) Education Initiative.

The report - Interprofessional education in a pharmacy context: Global report 2015 - was launched to align with the theme of this year’s World Pharmacists Day - partnership. It presents examples of multidisciplinary education from around the world, which include the development of an interprofessional curriculum at the University of Queensland, Australia, and oncology nurses training in a hospital pharmacy department in Uruguay.

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Millmerran Pharmacy GuildCare Pharmacy of the Month : 28/09/2015 :

Southern Queensland rural pharmacy Millmerran Pharmacy was recently named the GuildCare Pharmacy of the Month for August 2015.

Here is owner Grace Murray's account of life in a rural pharmacy.

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As a small rural pharmacy (single pharmacy town) we are called upon for many and varied services. Over many years as a rural pharmacist these services have been provided as part of the job.

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RGH E‑Bulletin: Medication rationalisation towards end of life : 28/09/2015 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Medication rationalisation towards end of life.

"A limited amount of literature is available regarding algorithms for best practice when it comes to discontinuation of medications towards the end of a life-limiting illness. Although medications for comorbid conditions are eventually ceased, this often happens quite late in disease progression, towards the terminal phase of the illness, at which time a number of medications for management of symptoms have already been added, leading to a significant medication burden. According to some research, the total number of medications may in fact be increased at the end of life."

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

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