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AusPharm news

January-February 2012 PBS schedule : 30/01/2012 :

A reminder that there is not a new PBS schedule for February 1 as the current schedule will remain in place until 29 February 2012. Regular monthly publication of Schedules will resume from 1 March 2012.

The January-February 2012 PBS Schedule and the ‘Summary of Changes’ are available here:

Download the Full PBS schedule

Download the PBS Summary of changes

Download the Efficient Funding of Chemotherapy – S100 Arrangements Supplement

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Email the preferred form of busines contact for pharmacists : 27/01/2012 :

This week's poll determined that email (61%) is very much the preferred form of business contact for pharmacists. Phone contact was the second preference (25%) with fax a distant third at 12%. Interestingly, Facebook and 'other' didn't get a look in with both returning only 1% of the vote.

Remarkable really, when you consider email wasn't there 20 years ago. AusPharm can even remember the pre fax era with faxes only becoming widespread in pharmacies in the early 1980s.

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Pharmacy trailblazer says non compliance a huge waste : 27/01/2012 :

Commenting on research results released last week, Webstercare founder and winner of the 2010 PSA Lifetime Achievement award, Gerard Stevens, said yesterday that while medication has the power to do good, it also has the potential to do harm if not taken correctly or not taken at all.

“Government invests an enormous amount in medication to maintain health and there is huge waste and costs through non-compliance,” said Mr Stevens.

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Queensland pharmacy identity wins an OAM : 27/01/2012 :

Queensland pharmacist Warren, pictured right, has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in the general division for service to the pharmaceutical industry and to the Australian Naval Cadets.

Mr Blee was Queensland PSA President from 1997-1999 and again from 2005-2008, Vice-President from1995-1997 and has been Councillor, since 1991.

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2011 PBS costs decline in real terms : 27/01/2012 :

Medicare has released PBS statistics for the 2011 calendar year.

Script numbers declined by 0.5% compared to 2010 (199 v 198 million) while dollar costs rose by 2.0% ($8.29 v $8.13 billion) which, after allowing for inflation (somewhere between 3.0% and 3.5%), represents an actual fall in dollar terms.

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It's time to bust open the pharmacists' closed shop : 27/01/2012 :

In an article published in the Australia newspaper on Wednesday pharmacy industry commentator Terry Barnes has once again called for reform of the community pharmacy sector.

Mr Barnes was the principal drafter of the report of the 2000 National Competition Policy Review of Pharmacy Regulation, headed up by Warwick Wilkinson AM. The Review supported the maintenance of pharmacist only ownership of Australian pharmacies.

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Poll: what means of work communication do you prefer? : 25/01/2012 :

In a post to AusPharmList today Samantha Northeast writes "I prefer the good old phone call, but are we all too busy and too focused on emails, iphones and ipads now?"

In your *working* life what means of communication do you prefer? Phone? Email? Facebook? Fax?

Please let us know by voting in this week's AusPharm poll.

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PSA: Carnell appointment a major boost for the mental health sectort : 25/01/2012 :

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia says that the appointment of Kate Carnell as beyondblue CEO will be a major boost for the mental health sector in Australia.

PSA President Grant Kardachi said of the appointment “PSA is particularly pleased that a pharmacist has been appointed to the position, given the role pharmacy plays in mental health and also the fact that pharmacists, because of their accessibility, are often the first point of contact that mental health patients have with health professionals.”

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Pfizer to introduce Saturday deliveries ... for a fee : 25/01/2012 :

Commencing 5 March Pfizer will be offering Saturday deliveries. Orders placed manually before 2pm on Fridays will be delivered on Saturday and will incur a $20 delivery fee. 

The introduction of Saturday deliveries coincides with the first anniversary of the Pfizer Direct distribution model.

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Another 'z' drug approved : 25/01/2012 :

ZOELY, a new combined oral contraceptive (COC) has been approved for use in Australia by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

Maker MSD claims that Zoely is made from a combination of hormones similar to a woman's own - nomegestrol acetate - derived from progesterone and an oestrogen (17ß-oestradiol – E2) that is structurally identical to endogenous oestrogen produced naturally in a woman's body.

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Pharmacy Council of NSW deregisters pharmacist : 24/01/2012 :

In a decision of 15 December 2011 the Pharmacy Council of NSW found pharmacist Ms Victoria Lau guilty of professional misconduct and to be an unsuitable person to hold registration as a pharmacist. The pharmacist was found to have an impairment likely to detrimentally affect her capacity to practise pharmacy.

Registration as a pharmacist was ordered to be cancelled (and not eligible for review for 18 months) and Ms Lau was ordered to pay the costs of the complainant, the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC).

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Guild responds to latest CHF criticism : 24/01/2012 :

In a letter to the Canberra Times yesterday Guild Communications Director, Greg Turnbull, hit back at claims made by Consumers Health Foruim CEO Carol Bennett in an opinion piece published in the paper last Friday.

"In her article "Less about vested interests and more about health" (January 20, p17) Carol Bennett got several things wrong about the Community Pharmacy Agreement.

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Pharmacist Kate Carnell appointed beyondblue CEO : 24/01/2012 :

Ms Kate Carnell AO, has been appointed beyondblue's new Chief Executive Officer. beyondblue is a national, independent, not-for-profit organisation working to address issues associated with depression, anxiety and related disorders in Australia.

Ms Carnell is a registered pharmacist, was ACT Chief Minister for six years, and was ACT Minister for Health for three years prior to that. She was awarded the Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2006. More recently, Ms Carnell was Chief Executive Officer of the Australian General Practice Network, and up until this appointment, has been CEO of the Australian Food and Grocery Council. She has been a Director of beyondblue since 2008 and Deputy Chair since 2010.

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NAPSA Congress underway. Council endorses Rural and Indigenous Position Statement : 24/01/2012 :

The annual National Australian Pharmacy Students’ Association (NAPSA) congress got underway in Wagga Wagga on Sunday and will conclude with a Gala Ball on the evening of Friday 27 January.

In the leadup to the Congress, NAPSA’s National Council met on 20-22 January to discuss general business and undergo workshops. During its meeting  the council approved a final draft of the NAPSA Rural and Indigenous Position Statement.

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No AusPharm(e)news on Australia Day : 24/01/2012 :

There will be no AusPharm(e)news tomorrow due to the Australia Day public holiday. The (e)news will be recomencing the AusPharm(e)news on Friday the 26th.

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CHF CEO Carol Bennett maintains criticism of CPA5 : 23/01/2012 :

In a recent opinion piece, Consumer Health Forum CEO Carol Bennett refers to the friction between vested economic interests and the political system which so often characterises the health policy debate. She points out that while such policy does impact health consumers, it is "rarely referenced to real health outcomes".

The healthcare sector is Australia's largest employer (1 in 8 Australians work in healthcare) and it's growing at a rate faster than most others sectors. While healthcare remains "a remarkably resilient economic powerhouse in Australia" we "cannot afford to continue to ignore the areas of exorbitant expenditure in the current health system for much longer."

Bennett points out that "Any Health Minister proposing cost saving changes to the health system is going to have to run a gauntlet of opposition from those who will lose money if the policy change is implemented." She cites cataract surgery rebates for opthalmologists and the Pharmacy Guild's $15 billion CPA5 deal as examples.

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Telehealth guidelines released for consultation : 23/01/2012 :

Six months after Medicare rebates for telehealth consultations were introduced, more than 7,000 services provided by over 1,200 clinicians around Australia, mostly to rural and remote areas, have been funded.

Telehealth is a real-time alternative to the face-to-face way provision of medical care and advice - it removes some of the barriers, such as distance, time and cost which prevent patients from accessing timely and appropriate healthcare services.

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New NPS campaign to help combat antibiotic resistance : 23/01/2012 :

On 1 February NPS will launch a health professional education program as part of its new five-year campaign addressing the critical issue of antibiotic resistance.

Beginning with a series of educational visits to prescribers by NPS facilitators, the first year of the campaign will encourage health professionals to adhere more closely to therapeutic guidelines when prescribing antibiotics for respiratory tract infections and to communicate with patients about the dangers of overusing and misusing antibiotics.

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Invitation to contribute to the Evaluation of the Indigenous Chronic Disease Package : 23/01/2012 :

KPMG together with Winangali, Ipsos-Eureka and Baker IDI have been engaged by the Department of Health and Ageing to undertake an evaluation of the Indigenous Chronic Disease Package (ICDP). The evaluation commenced in July 2011 and will finish mid-2013.

This is an evaluation to look at how the Indigenous Chronic Disease Package is working. As you may know, ICDP is a project that aims to reduce chronic disease amongst Indigenous people.

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Minister for Health NSW, Keynote Speaker at Guild Convention Weekend : 23/01/2012 :

The Honourable Jillian Skinner – Minister for Health NSW will be, for the second year running, Keynote Speaker and Guest of Honour at the Guild Pharmacy Academy – NSW Convention’s official dinner on Saturday, 25 February at the Novotel Manly Pacific.
 
The Minister’s attendance will be another highlight for the delegates attending this premier pharmacy event, with its comprehensive and  diverse offer of clinical, industry and relaxation opportunities.

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