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AusPharm news

Pfizer on the nose : 17/12/2010 :

We always know when an issue is important to pharmacists - there are lots of AusPharmList posts and a strong response to a related poll.

This week's poll, which asked 'listers what they thought about Pfizer's move to withdraw its products from the wholesalers, attracted one of the best voter turnouts we've seen  - and the result was clear.

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MIMS responds to PI concerns on listed medicines : 17/12/2010 :

Following concerns raised about the status of listed medicine prescribing information, medicine information provider MIMS says that it will 'investigate mechanisms to highlight the TGA assigned status of a medicine that will better inform the healthcare professionals using the MIMS products'.

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Foxofenadine up for downscheduling again : 17/12/2010 :

Foxofenadine is once again to be considered for downscheduling by the Advisory Committee on Medicines Scheduling (ACMS) at its 23 February meeting.

The proposal is to amend the current Schedule 2 fexofenadine entry to exempt from scheduling oral fexofenadine for the short-term symptomatic relief of seasonal allergic rhinitis.

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Swine flu pandemic over : 16/12/2010 :

Health authorities have announced that as of December 1 Australia's Pandemic Phase moves from PROTECT to ALERT signifying the end of the H1N1 influenza (swine flu) pandemic in Australia.

This move has been taken on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Jim Bishop, and the Australian Health Protection Committee. The advice of Professor Bishop is that as levels of influenza-like illness in the community have declined and continue to be low (although sporadic activity has been reported within some states and territories) it is appropriate to declare the H1N1 pandemic over in Australia for this year by returning our pandemic phase to ALERT.

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FIP Awards in Recognition of Excellence 2011 : 16/12/2010 :

The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) have called for nominations for the 2011 Awards in Recognition of Excellence.

This year there are awards in the following categories:

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Reporting adverse drug reactions : 16/12/2010 :

Recently, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) wrote to a range of consumer, health professional and industry groups about the importance of medication or medical device adverse event reporting, asking that they pass on an information handout to their members.

These handouts have now been made available on the TGA  website.

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Poll: is Pfizer's decision to deal direct good for pharmacy? : 16/12/2010 :

The big pharmacy news of the last week was Pfizer's decision to remove their products from pharmacy wholesalers and deal directly with pharmacies. AusPharm's mail has it that the new terms of trade aren't to everyone's taste with particular concerns expressed about the DHL involvement and whether or not rural and remote pharmacies will receive satisfactory service.

What do you think? Will Pfizer look after pharmacy? Please let us know what you think by voting in today's AusPharm poll.

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Pharmacists' Support Service expands into South Australia : 16/12/2010 :

The Victorian based Pharmacists’ Support Service (PSS), an independent incorporated association supported by the official bodies of pharmacy, is expanding its service to South Australia from 15 December 2010.

Pharmacists in South Australia will be able to contact this anonymous service for the cost of a local call. 

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December Medical Journal of Australia is open access : 16/12/2010 :

The 6/20 December 2010 issue of the Medical Journal of Australia is now online.

Every article in this Double Christmas Issue is open access for the next three weeks. There are a number of articles that may be of interest to 'listers. These include:

The December issue of the MJA is here.

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Cancer rates increasing, but death rates falling : 16/12/2010 :

Cancer incidence rates have increased over the past 26 years, while cancer death rates have fallen, according to a report released on Tuesday by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare(AIHW).

The report, Cancer in Australia: an overview, 2010, shows that over 108,000 new cancer cases were diagnosed in 2007 . This was an increase on the previous year, when around 105,000 new cases were diagnosed.

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AusPharm CE: Polypill or Christmas cheer? : 15/12/2010 :

The last AusPharm CE topic for 2011 is Polypill or Christmas cheer? - it's been put together for us by Debbie Rigby.

"In 2003 the BMJ published an article proposing a 'Polypill' - a single combination pill daily that could reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease by over 80%. A tastier and perhaps safer alternative is the Polymeal. Evidence supports the benefits of wine, fish, dark chocolate, fruits, vegetables, garlic, and almonds."

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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Christmas asthma triggers - awareness : 14/12/2010 :

The National Asthma Council of Australia is raising awareness amongst asthmatics of Christmas asthma triggers.

Asthmatics need to be aware of potential triggers such as Christmas trees - the real ones, and the dust or mould being released from stored artificial trees and decorations. Their advice is to vacuum and wipe down artificial trees and decorations as they are unpacked, doing this outdoors if possible before putting them up indoors.

potential asthma triggers of the festive season include highly scented candles and excessive emotion. This holiday season is expected to be particularly problematic, given its coincidence with such a strong and extended hay fever season. This is due to recent rains, a prolonged grass growing season and widespread thunderstorm activity, which can stir up pollen in the air, increasing its potency.

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Health spending $5,190 per person in 200809 : 14/12/2010 :

Expenditure on health in Australia reached $112.8 billion, or $5,190 per person, in 2008–09, according to a report released last Friday by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Health expenditure Australia 2008–09, shows that after taking inflation into account, the $112.8 billion total was 5.8% or $6.2 billion more than for the previous year. Growth in total health expenditure has averaged 5.4% per year over the past 10 years.

The largest component of the increase was a $1.6 billion rise in spending on public hospital services, followed by spending on medications, which grew by $1.3 billion.

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Transparent TGA review panel publishes meeting papers : 14/12/2010 :

The first meeting of the review panel convened to investigate transparency of the TGA's processes and decisions was held on 7 December 2010. The panel agreed to publish meeting papers on the TGA website, and this has already happened. Twelve papers from a range of stakeholders have been published including the usual industry and consumer lobby groups, the AMA, Rural Health Alliance, NSW Clinical Excellence Commission and the TGA itself.

The panel will be seeking public input in February and March 2011 through a series of consultative meetings around Australia. Details will be made available on the TGA website.

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Updated TGA advisory - portable blood glucose meters : 14/12/2010 :

The TGA has issued an updated advisory notice on the risk of false high glucose readings under certain circumstances with blood glucose monitors utilising GDH-PQQ technology.

Original guidance was issued in 2005, but with continued reports of adverse events, an updated advisory notice has been issued as a precautionary measure. Details of the products of concern, and possible consequences, can be found in the advisory notice on the TGA website.

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My Hospitals website now live : 14/12/2010 :

The federal government's My Hospitals website is now live, making available basic information on the types of services at different hospitals across the nation. The site includes public and some private hospitals, with data (mostly from 2008-09) on measures such as waiting times, average discharge times, average bed numbers and types of outpatient services. The government believes the website will make it easier for the public to access information about how individual hospitals are performing.

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December NPS RADAR now out : 13/12/2010 :

The December issue of RADAR is now available on the NPS website.  It contains reviews of:

as well as a number of 'in brief' news items.

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December Australian Prescriber full of pharmacists : 13/12/2010 :

While we did alert 'listers to the publication of the December issue of Australian Prescriber last week, we neglected to mention specifically that there were three artcles in it authored by pharmacists.

These are:

Surely this is the first time pharmacists have been so well represented in Australian Prescriber?

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Closing the Gap : 13/12/2010 :

Minister for Indigenous Health Warren Snowdon said a new report on the Australian Government’s multi-million dollar commitment to tackling chronic disease in Indigenous communities shows that progress is being made.

The Australian Government’s Indigenous Chronic Disease Package committed $805.5 million over four years to target chronic disease in indigenous people.

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RGH E-Bulletin: Combination antihypertensive products : 13/12/2010 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Combination antihypertensive products

"Hypertension is one of the most common causes of cardiovascular disease and death, being a major risk factor for stroke, coronary artery disease, chronic kidney disease and heart failure. Treatment-resistant hypertension is also a common occurrence, with an estimated 50 – 75% of patients being unable to reach blood pressure goals with drug monotherapy."

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

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