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AusPharm news

Anonymous (?) union petition : 05/04/2012 :

Employee pharmacist union APESMA has launched an online petition calling on the Fair Work Ombudsman to conduct an Australia-wide wages audit of pharmacies.

This follows the findings of a recent audit of Queensland pharmacies that uncovered numerous instances of non compliance with the award. These were subsequently downplayed by the Pharmacy Guild, who said that most contraventions appeared to have been inadvertent with a significant number (9 per cent)  non-monetary and relating to record keeping.

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Media misreporting on PBS price cuts caused grief for some : 05/04/2012 :

The confused, ill informed and, at times, downright misleading, portrayal by the mainstream media of the April 1 PBS price reductions caused significant grief for about 1/3 of pharmacists who voted in the is week's AusPharm online poll. One in five pharmacists (18%) told us that customer response to the misinformation had been a 'major pain in the ar*e'.

Many thanks to Stuart Baker for producing a brief, clear and factual consumer guide to share with 'listers.

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Priceline rolling out flu clinic again in 2012 : 04/04/2012 :

As part of promoting its 2012 in-store flu clinics, the Priceline group is highlighting the results of an online survey it conducted which shows limited understanding amongst consumers of the role of vaccines in preventing flu.

The survey found that many people avoid regular flu vaccinations instead relying on garlic, chicken soup, multi-vitamins and hand sanitiser to protect themselves against the flu. According to the company, many Australians could do with a healthy dose of the facts along with their garlic, echinacea and vitamin C.

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Pharmacy Board releases CPD FAQ : 04/04/2012 :

Do you need advice on how to meet your Continuing Professional Development obligations?

The Pharmacy Board of Australia yesterday published a comprehensive set of Frequently Asked Questions on Continuing Professional Development (CPD). The 36 questions and answers cover all aspects of CPD including what you need to do to satisfy the Board`s requirements, what `relevant CPD` means, how to record your CPD and pretty much anything else you can think of.

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Reporting adverse drug reactions : 04/04/2012 :

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has produced a brochure for health professionals, including pharmacist, that is designed to encourage them to report adverse reactions to drugs.

As ’listers would know, the safety of medicines is monitored to contribute to a better understanding of their possible adverse effects when they are used outside the controlled conditions of clinical trials. Suspected adverse reactions reported by health professionals provide important information for the TGA’s safety monitoring program.

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Latest Edition of Australian Prescriber published : 03/04/2012 :

""The March 2012 issue of Australian Prescriber is now available online. Topics featured in this issue include:

  • Freedom of expression under threat: complaints about medicines
  • High blood pressure and cholesterol in Australian children
  • Hypertensive disorders in pregnancy
  • Safe use of adrenaline autoinjectors

It also contains the most recent Medicines Safety Update.

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Price Disclosure - Information for Consumers : 03/04/2012 :

Amidst reports of pharmacists having difficulty explaining exactly what happened to PBS prices on April 1, listers might find the Price Disclosure - Information for Consumers fact sheet a useful resource to offer customers. The fact sheet is available on the PBS website, here.

The machinations of the PBS are complex, and poorly understood by non pharmacists (and some pharmacists!), as demonstrated by the mix of garbled information provided by media commentators over the weekend and Monday. Listers might like to simply tell their customers this along with providing the fact sheet.

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Major web issues for AusPharm : 03/04/2012 :

AusPharm continues to experience major problems with the code on our websites. People remain unable to enter their AusPharmList posts online - fortunately, some of these were emailed along to us instead. We are unable to include images in much of our content. We’re working on the problem and hope to have it fixed today.

Should you experience difficulty posting online, manifested by the appearance of the error message - whoops, something went wrong - please email your post along to auspharmlist@auspharmlist.net.au. 

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Wholesalers cope with the April 1 rush : 03/04/2012 :

The major wholesalers say they coped well with the expected increase in orders at the March / April transition caused by the large price cuts to many PBS items on April 1.

Both Sigma and Symbion ramped up capacity and reported no issues when contacted yesterday.

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Community pharmacies are responsible employers : 03/04/2012 :

Following a call yesterday from pharmacist employee union the Pharmacists Division of APESMA for a national audit of pharmacy wages, the Pharmacy Guild says it is confident that the overwhelming majority of community pharmacies act in good faith to comply fully with the Pharmacy Industry Award 2010. 

The union’s call follows the release last month of a report from the Fair Work Ombudsman of an audit of a selection of Queensland pharmacies, disclosing a significant level of non-compliance.

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Poll: customer response to PBS price cuts : 03/04/2012 :

Sunday saw the PBS prices of a large number of medications drop significantly. The media covered this widely and AusPharms mail was that this might well cause consumers to ask "Why isn’t my medication $3.00 cheaper today?", which as listers know is usually not the case as most PBS scripts are dispensed at the concessional rate, which did not change.

How has the customer response been in your pharmacy since Sunday? Please let us know by voting in this weeks AusPharm poll.

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Australia’s most comprehensive guide to administering solid oral medicines to patients who are unable to swallow : 02/04/2012 :

Administering tablets and capsules to patients who have difficulty swallowing or an enteral feeding tube is a challenge.  Healthcare professionals need to know “can I crush it?”, “can I dissolve it?”, “can I open the capsule?”, “is there a liquid formulation?”, “can I give the injection orally?”.

Now the answers are available in SHPA’s newest publication – Don’t Rush to Crush – therapeutic options for people unable to take solid oral medicines.  In this handbook there are monographs for over 500 Australian medicines listing generic names, brand names and available forms and strengths.  There are separate recommendations for administering solid oral dose forms to patients with swallowing difficulties and patients with enteral feeding tubes. 

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Consumers: PBS price cuts should be a starting point for further PBS reform : 02/04/2012 :

The Consumers Health Forum (CHF) says that the April 1 PBS price cuts show that there are still areas in the health budget where savings can be made while still delivering high quality, affordable health care.

‘The Government is to be commended for making medicines more affordable and saving tax payers millions of dollars through its new price disclosure policy,’ said Consumers Health Forum Carol Bennett. ‘This is a good outcome for health consumers and needs to be acknowledged,' she added.

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April Fool story : 02/04/2012 :

Our April Fool's joke item on Friday that foreshadowed large price cuts in the PBS return price for atorvastatin attracted mix responses, to say the least.

While AusPharm received numerous emails along the lines of ' ...very well done…. got me hook, line and sinker ! ;) ' we also received a few like this one: ' I didnt find this piece amusing.  Many of my colleagues were very concerned about this apparently informative article, as it was portrayed.  Please understand that many pharmacists are edgy with the current climate they are faced and these things do not help it.'

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GMiA: few patients to benefit from April 1 PBS price reductions : 02/04/2012 :

According to the Generic Medicines Industry Association (GMiA), because of the large number of consumers paying the $5.80 PBS concessional copayment, few patients will benefit from yesterday's price disclosure reforms.

PBS listed medicines took an average minimum (PBS list) price reduction of 23% on April 1 - this is the largest single price cut in the history of the PBS and the reform will deliver substantial PBS savings. However, according to GMiA CEO, Kate Lynch, the reforms come at a significant cost to the pharmaceutical industry.

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Union calls for national wages audit : 02/04/2012 :

Employee pharmacist union, APESMA, has called on the Fair Work Ombudsman to conduct a national audit into Australian pharmacies after a Queensland based audit found 44.3 per cent of pharmacies were not paying their staff properly.

'We need the Ombudsman to conduct an urgent audit to help make sure one of the highest levels illegal underpayments and other breaches ever discovered is stamped out across the nation' the union says.

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NPS: Consumer should be centre of care when offering alternative medicine brands : 02/04/2012 :

Following yesterday's PBS price reductions, NPS is reminding pharmacists to place patient care first and avoid multiple switching of medicine brands for patients who may be at higher risk of confusion from switching.
 
NPS Head of Programs, Ms Karen Kaye, says that consumers always need to be at the centre of care when pharmacists give advice about medicine brand choices.

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RGH E-Bulletin: Ticagrelor for acute coronary syndrome : 02/04/2012 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Ticagrelor for acute coronary syndrome.

"Ticagrelor is an oral antiplatelet drug that is a reversible, direct-acting inhibitor of the adenosine diphosphate receptor P2Y12: it has a more rapid onset and produces more pronounced platelet inhibition than clopidogrel. Unlike clopidogrel and prasugrel which are prodrugs, ticagrelor does not need to be metabolised to become biologically active. The efficacy of ticagrelor was studied in the PLATO study, a multi-centre, double-blinded and randomized trial, comparing ticagrelor (180 mg loading dose, 90 mg twice daily thereafter) and clopidogrel (300 – 600 mg loading dose, 75 mg daily thereafter) for the prevention of cardiovascular events in 18,624 patients admitted to the hospital with an acute coronary syndrome, with or without ST-segment elevation. All patients also received aspirin at a dose of 75 – 100 mg daily unless not tolerated."

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

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UTS launches pharmacy confidence 'barometer' : 30/03/2012 :

Launched at Sydney's University of Technology (UTS) on Tuesday night, the first report of the UTS 'Pharmacy Barometer' provides some insights into the way pharmacists view the challenges of the next few years including PBS reforms, direct distribution and the changes in government support networks such as the establishment of Medicare Locals.

The barometer aims to provide data on the 'perceptions, attitude, knowledge experiences and behaviours of community pharmacists as they relate to the future professional practice and business of community pharmacy'.

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Atorvastatin PBS price *isn't* dropping : 30/03/2012 :

AusPharm would like to inform readers that an item we ran this morning referring to a pending PBS price drop for atorvastatin was an April Fool's joke. The PBS price of atorvastatin will not be dropping. Comments in that piece attributed to Minister Tanya Plibersek were not made by her.

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