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AusPharm news

AusPharm CE: Management of persistent pain in older people : 18/02/2012 :

The latest AusPharm CE topic is Persistent pain management in older people - it's been put together for us by Dr Jenny Gowan.

"Pain is not necessarily part of ageing but there is a higher prevalence of pain in older people, often under-reported, under-recognised, can be under-treated and older people are likely to experience more adverse treatment effects.  Pain is defined by the International Association for the Study of pain as: ‘An unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage or described in terms of such damage’ "

The Learning Objectives for this activity are:

  • To recognise the impact of persistent pain on quality of life  in  older people.
  • To describe essential features of pain assessment 
  • To assist in optimum choice of medications for pain management
  • To  identify and predict adverse effects from medications used  to manage  pain
  • To refer patients for appropriate assessment to optimise their management of pain

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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Harvey saddles up again : 18/02/2012 :

One man complementary medicine industry watchdog Dr Ken Harvey has lodged another complaint with regulatory authorities about the promotional claims made by a weight loss product.

The undoit website claims that 'undoit binds the fat and carbs from your snack while it's still in your stomach and stops them from being absorbed' adding that 'each undoit  pill will 'undo' 5g of fat and 210g of carbs'.

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Active ingredient labeling of all prescription components a no brainer : 17/02/2012 :

This week's poll produced the almost unanimous outcome that name of the active ingredient (thanks Debbie!) should feature on prescriptions, dispensing labels and repeats.

This issue would seem to be one tailor made for pharmacists' professional association, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, to progress with governments, regulatory agencies and other stakeholders.

Over to you PSA....

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'Continued dispensing' bill passes lower house : 17/02/2012 :

Legislation that will allow continued dispensing of some medicines by pharmacists in defined circumstances yesterday passed through the lower house of federal parliament.

Despite recent criticism of the medication continuance initiative by the Australian Medical Association, Guild President Kos Sclavos does not believe it will damage relations with doctors.

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Complementary medicine industry calls for industry plan : 17/02/2012 :

The Complementary Healthcare Council of Australia (CHC) has called on the Federal Government to provide support for the industry by establishing an industry plan for the sector to 'guide public investment decisions and give taxpayers confidence that targeted support is appropriately framed'.

The call is contained in a pre-budget submission, just lodged by CHC, for the 2012/12 Federal Budget.

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Pharmacist takes Sanofi to the cleaners : 17/02/2012 :

Readers may recall that on 1 December last year we ran a post from a (anonymous) 'lister drawing our attention to a radio talk show segment that our 'lister thought was, in effect, an advertisment for Actonel EC. In the segment the name Actonel was mentioned 15 times.

Initially, as alluded to in the post, the TGA took no action but did refer the complaint to the Medicines Australia (MA) Code of Conduct Committee, where it was considered and subsequently dismissed. Our 'lister appealed and the MA appeals committee took another look at the case. Our anonymous 'lister was represented at the appeal hearing by Dr Ken Harvey.

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Pfizer products unlikely to go back into CSO wholesalers : 16/02/2012 :

Media reports yesterday in Pharma in Focus and Pharmacy News suggest that CSO wholesaler and pharmacist efforts to have Pfizer's exclusive direct to pharmacy supply model outlawed will fail.

The reports quotes comments in a letter from Health Minister Tanya Plibersek to John Murphy, Federal MP for Reid, NSW in which she writes that her department had not yet received any independent evidence that the model has caused PBS supply issues for consumers.

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Better blood pressure control needed : 16/02/2012 :

A recent Australian study of blood pressure levels in general practice - the Pressure Points in Primary Care Study has revealed potentially important treatment gaps, with a large proportion of patients remaining at levels above accepted targets. The study examined the blood pressure records of 532,050 adults who visited their General Practitioner between 2005 and 2010.

Of more than 116,000 patients whose blood pressure readings were recorded in 2009-10, 59 per cent of higher risk patients with established CVD or related conditions and 48 per cent of patients without CVD or related conditions recorded a blood pressure level above their recommended targets (130/80 mmHg and 140/90 mmHg respectively) despite treatment.

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Pharmacy School accreditation standards under review : 16/02/2012 :

At the request of the Pharmacy Board of Australia (PBA) the Australian Pharmacy Council (APC) is undertaking a review of the Accreditation Standards for Pharmacy Degree Programs. The review aims to build upon the existing Accreditation Standards and be completed by 30 November 2012.

As part of the review process wide consultation on the existing Accreditation Standards will be conducted. A number of fora will be held as part of this consultation process at locations nationally and in New Zealand.

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How to comply for PPIs – GuildCare has the answers : 15/02/2012 :

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More Australians using insulin to manage diabetes : 15/02/2012 :

According to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), over 220,000 Australians began using insulin to treat diabetes between 2000 and 2009.

The web-based report, Incidence of insulin-treated diabetes in Australia, 2000–2009, shows that 77% of these people had Type 2 diabetes, 12% had gestational diabetes and 10% had Type 1 diabetes. The remaining 1% had other types of diabetes.

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MIMS chips in to Pharmacists’ Support Service : 15/02/2012 :

The development and expansion of the Pharmacists’ Support Service (PSS) has been given a boost through a donation of $2,000 from MIMS. The donation will be put towards developing a Pharmacists’ Support Service website which will include resources and information to support and assist pharmacists.

The website will enable PSS to broaden its outreach to pharmacists throughout Australia. Currently the service only has adequate funds to provide a telephone service between 8am and 11pm to Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and the Northern Territory. A website with links to useful information will provide pharmacists throughout Australia with a resource they can access 24 hours a day.

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Latest NPS News aims to educate prescribers on antibiotic overuse : 15/02/2012 :

The latest NPS News highlights the role that prescribers can play in limiting the spread of antibiotic resistance, and reviews the latest evidence about antibiotic resistance in the individual.

The publication, NPS News 77: Antibiotic resistance: a problem for everyone, coincides with the rollout of the NPS antibiotics campaign to health professionals. It looks at the latest evidence in this area and emphasises the importance of effective patient communication in reducing antibiotic prescribing. Increasingly, studies demonstrate that individuals can carry antibiotic-resistant bacteria after a routine course of antibiotics for as long as six to 12 months.

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AMA joins calls for inquiry : 15/02/2012 :

The Australian Medical Association has joined the list of groups pushing for a Senate Inquiry into the Community Pharmacy Agreement according to a report published in Medical Observer yesterday.

The story cites AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton saying he hoped an inquiry would lead to more input into future community pharmacy agreements by doctors, consumers and pharmacists. Dr Hambleton said the current process in which the agreement was negotiated in confidence between the Guild and the government was characterised by “secret handshakes and backroom deals”.

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Poll: should the generic name feature on scripts, labels, repeats? : 15/02/2012 :

In a post to AusPharmList yesterday, Merriwa community pharmacist Robert Smith suggested that it should be mandatory for the molecule (generic) name of a drug to feature on  prescriptions, dispensing labels and repeats.

What do you think? Please let us know by voting in today's AusPharm poll.

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More to pain management than pills : 14/02/2012 :

Patients always  want a cure, but a pill is not the silver bullet they would hope it to be. More than 20% of Australians reported pain lasting longer than 5 months in the past year. Are these sick people, or well people with pain?

At this year's NSW Annual Therapeutic Update – March Weekend, Dr Jon Fogarty, GP and conjoint lecturer in the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Newcastle, with the assistance of Dr Therese Cox, GP registrar will present a fascinating insight into the spectrum of pain, and the collaborative approach needed to provide effective pain management,  involving allied health, medical and pharmaceutical assistance.

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Flordis gives support to Friends of Science in Medicine : 14/02/2012 :

Natural medicines company, Flordis, has thrown its support behind the group, Friends of Science in Medicine, which is arguing for greater scientific evidence to support complementary medicines and alternative therapies.

Flordis Founder, Nigel Pollard, said the decision to side with Friends of Science in Medicine in its most recent push for scientific backing for health treatments, is entirely consistent with Flordis’ own advocacy of evidenced-based natural medicines.

“Some might find it curious that a natural medicines company would be associated with this group, but in fact, we know that all our products are backed by specific clinical trials, and thus meet the highest scientific standards for evidence."

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Court hits company with $3.1 million fine for TGA Act breaches : 13/02/2012 :

The Federal Court has fined a company just over $3.1 million for importing and supplying a number of products that were not on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG).

Export Corporation (Australia) P/L imports and distributes products under the business name 'Nutrition Systems'. In a three year to 2009 the company imported and supplied numerous products that were not on the ARTG. They included nutritional and weight loss products as well as body building, muscle growth and vitamin products. A number contained prescription medicines and undeclared ingredients which had the potential to harm consumers.

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Transparency required on payments to health professionals : 13/02/2012 :

The majority of Australians approve of pharma company financial support for doctors and the healthcare system in general, as long as the arrangement is declared openly, according to the results of a recent online survey.

The survey of 1,007 Australians aged between 18 and 64 years, conducted by Galaxy Research, on behalf of GSK, showed people were concerned that pharmaceutical sponsorship of healthcare professionals might compromise a doctor’s integrity (54%) or lead to patients not receiving the best medicine (52%).The biggest concern (72%) was for the potential for such payments to influence the advice that doctors give to patients.

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SensaSlim action against Harvey over : 13/02/2012 :

The last of the legal actions against Dr Ken Harvey brought by people associated with SensaSlim was struck out in the Supreme Court in Brisbane on Friday.

The judge dismissed Peter O’Brien’s defamation case against Dr Harvey and awarded costs to Maurice Blackburn Lawyers who defended Dr Harvey. Neither Mr O’Brien or his lawyers were present in court.

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