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AusPharm news

RGH E‑Bulletin: Update on the Beers criteria : 23/01/2012 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Update on the Beers criteria

"Avoiding the use of high-risk and inappropriate drugs is a simple and cost-effective way to reduce medication-related problems in older people. Several methods have been developed to help identify potentially inappropriate medication (PIM) use in elderly populations. These can be either criteria-based (explicit) or patient specific (implicit). The Beers criteria, first published in 1991, are the most studied explicit measure of medication use in the elderly. They were first used to assess medication use in nursing home residents in the USA, and were revised in 1997 and 2003 to permit more general use. The 2003 criteria were divided into two classes; PIM use independent of diagnosis or condition, and PIM use due to drug-disease interaction. The criteria also classified each PIM as having either low or high significance."

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

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Majority of pharmacists relaxed about taking OOD meds : 20/01/2012 :

The results of this week's AusPharm poll tell use that the majority (52%) of pharmacists are relaxed about administering out of date medicines to themselves or family members. A further 39% of poll respondents said that they's use out of date medicines 'if they had to'.

Only 5% told us that they think 'this is unwise.

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AAPM joins forces with MedView and eRx to advance Medicines Management : 20/01/2012 :

The Australian Association of Practice Managers (AAPM) is partnering with MedView and eRx in recognition of their importance to Australia’s eHealth future.

National President of the AAPM, Brett McPherson, said “The AAPM is joining the MedView project and endorsing eRx because of their integral role in Australia’s eHealth future. MedView represents a tremendous advance in medicines management, and ePrescribing is a vital link in the secure sharing of consented data required to achieve this.

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Antipsychotics in focus at the 2012 PSA refresher conference : 20/01/2012 :

To many pharmacists and GPs, antipsychotics are something of a mystery. But for pharmacists attending the PSA offshore Refresher Conference this year, help is at hand.
 
Professor Andrew McLachlan, Education Director of the Refresher Conference, will present some simple rules to help understand the differences and similarities of the conventional and atypical antipsychotics.

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SHPA CEO, Yvonne Allinson, moving on : 20/01/2012 :

Long term Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA) CEO, Yvonne Allinson has resigned from her role as CEO, effective 10 February 2012.

Ms Allinson said that her tenure as CEO at SHPA had been thoroughly enjoyable and much had been achieved.

“In particular, it has been my pleasure to assemble a great team of staff at SHPA who each day strive to provide enhanced services to our growing membership.  They are supported by the many dedicated and hard-working volunteers throughout our Branches and other Committees. Together they are the heart and soul of SHPA.”

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'Timeouts' on the AusPharmList website : 20/01/2012 :

We occasionally receive emails from 'listers who 'lose' posts they have attempted to upload via the AusPharmList website because their session has timed out.

Please be aware that, in some circumstances, the website currently has a 30 minute timeout. If you start to compose a post and don't finish it within 30 minutes, when you hit the 'Enter post' button, you may lose your post.

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ASMI says consumers shouldn’t be warned-off sunscreen : 20/01/2012 :

The Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI) said yesterday that concerns being expressed by Friends of the Earth about nanoparticles in some sunscreens were not supported by the weight of scientific evidence.

A group of 20 Sydney-siders and Friends of the Earth members dressed up as beach safety icon David Hasselhoff had, on Wednesday, attempted to bring their concerns about the safety of nano-sunscreens to the office of the new Minister for Health, Tanya Plibersek.

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AusPharm CE: The Pharmacist's Role in Migraine Management : 19/01/2012 :

Over the last fortnight a large number of 'listers took the opportunity to catch up on some CE by doing one of AusPharm's more popular CE activities, Preventing Pharmaceutical Poisonings, which we first published in July 2011.

Today we're featuring another of our most popular activities, The Pharmacist's Role in Migraine Management. This was first published in April 2011 and was put together fro us by the University Of Tasmanian's Angus Thompson.

Once again, as a holiday treat for our basic level members, we're making it available to them too.

AusPharm gratefully acknowledges the financial support provided by the sponsors of our CE program, MIMS.

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Guild slams Consumers Health Forum : 19/01/2012 :

The Pharmacy Guild has hit out at a number of comments made by Consumers Health Forum (CHF) CEO Carol Bennett on ABC TV's The Drum on Monday night about the 5th Community Pharmacy Agreement saying that they misstate the facts.

Key among the comments that sparked the Guild spray was the claim by Ms Bennett that CPA5 takes $15 billion out of the annual health budget of $120 billion when, in fact, the $15 billion is spread over 5 years, not one.

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Pharmacists left off the map: PSA critical : 19/01/2012 :

The Government’s draft Ten Year Plan for Mental Health is a welcome first step in helping to address what is Australia’s third most prevalent health problem after heart disease and cancer says The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia.

However, according to PSA Vice-President Claire O’Reilly, the draft is disappointing in that while calling for  “a collective role” in improving mental health and  wellbeing  it fails to look very far beyond the usual suspects (or 'current system') and makes no mention whatsoever in its 42 pages of the most accessible of all health-care professionals – pharmacists.

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Poll: do you sometimes use expired medicines? : 18/01/2012 :

'Listers will have read Associate Professor Lisa Nissen's article  , first published on The Conversation (here) in which she puts the view that it *is* OK to take medicines that have passed their expiry date ..... sometimes.

In a post to AusPharmList today Peter Allen wonders how pharmacists approach this issue 'in real life'. Please let us know what you do in your own, personal, life by voting in today's AusPharm poll.

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API confident for 2012 : 18/01/2012 :

Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (API) said yesterday that despite difficult retail pharmacy trading conditions its flagship Priceline brand had delivered a solid result over the last 12 months, showing 1.4% store on store growth over 2010.

The company says it is well prepared for the challenges that will present in 2012, including the April 1 PBS price drops and the launch of Lipitor generics. It is pinning it growth plans on  its belief that, in light of predicted reductions in dispensary income, pharmacy owners will increasingly embrace pharmacy brand offers, including its Priceline franchise package. It says it is well placed to double the number of Priceline stores it operates. The company plans to launch its Priceline on-line store in the second quarter of 2012.

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New Ten-Year Roadmap for National Mental Health : 18/01/2012 :

A draft Ten-Year Roadmap for National Mental Health Reform for public consultation was released yesterday by the Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler.

The Roadmap will provide governments, the community sector, workplaces and communities themselves with a measurable, long term national reform plan for mental health which will guide where attention and funding will be focused over the next 10 years.

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Multiple medicine use very common: new snapshot of over-50s’ medicine habits : 17/01/2012 :

A study by NPS in collaboration with the University of Melbourne ­published today in the Medical Journal of Australia ­ has provided new insights into how people use medicines on a daily basis and highlights that the use of multiple medicines in older Australians is common and more complex than previously thought.

NPS CEO Dr Lynn Weekes says the study’s findings emphasise the importance of the availability of accurate information about medicines, and of health professionals speaking with their patients about the medicines they are taking.

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Australia Reaches 1000 Organ Transplant Recipients in 2011 : 17/01/2012 :

Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, Catherine King announced yesterday that more than 1000 Australian lives were saved or improved through organ transplants in 2011.

“In 2011, 1001 Australians and their families benefited from the legacy of 337 of their fellow Australians who last year became organ donors,” Ms King said.

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Anonymous posts to AusPharmList : 16/01/2012 :

Last week's poll outcome helped us decide to return to our 'old' system of allowing (or not) anonymous posts to AusPharmList.

To re-iterate, we will accept anonymous posts to AusPharmList but only where the 'lister requesting anonymity provides a 'good reason'.

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Comments deadline this Thursday for scheduling proposals : 16/01/2012 :

Anyone wishing to formally comment on the latest agenda of scheduling proposals being considered by the expert advisory committees, is reminded that the comments deadline is this Thursday 19 January. Note that if you don't lodge a comment in the first round, you will not be invited to comment later on the delegate's interim decision arising from these matters. Of particular interest to community pharmacy are rescheduling proposals being considered by the Advisory Committee on Medicines Scheduling (ACMS) relating to:

- loratadine - to be unscheduled
- ibuprofen - S3 to S2
- loperamide - widen types of preparations in S2
- pantoprazole - S3 to S2
- paracetamol - further restrict unscheduled pack sizes
- ciclopirox - S3 to S2
- adrenaline (injectable) - to S3
- tranexamic acid - exclusion from S4 when for non-therapeutic use (under consideration by Advisory Committee on Chemicals Scheduling, ACCS)

Full details of exactly what is proposed in these changes can be downloaded from the TGA website.

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Industry: aspirin benefits indisputable for patients with cardiovascular disease : 16/01/2012 :

According to the Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI), for patients who have previously had a heart attack or a stroke, low-dose aspirin provides demonstrated benefits in preventing future cardiovascular events and strokes. This role in secondary prevention is not controversial, says ASMI.
 
The use of low-dose aspirin products to help prevent blood clotting and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke in patients with blood vessel disorders is well established. Products for this purpose (i.e. secondary prevention) are available in Australia without prescription but should only be used under medical supervision.

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Anonymous posts to AusPharmList: 'old' system to return : 13/01/2012 :

This week's poll helped us confirm our decision to return to the 'old' system for anonymous posts to AusPharmList.

In line with the majority vote, 'listers will be strongly encouraged to put their names to their comments but anonymity will be allowed for 'good reason' (eg personal repercussions, legal issues, privacy considerations) with the assessment of 'good reason' to be at the discretion of the moderators. Acknowledging the significant minority view that all anonymous posts should be allowed, we will take a fairly liberal view of what constitutes 'good reason'.

In addition, we encourage 'listers to include their credentials in posts (eg 'community employee', 'hospital', 'student', 'pharmacy owner') in order to give context to their comments.

Thanks to all those who contributed their views on this issue to AusPharmList during the week.

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Decision paralysis in the face of ambiguity... sound familiar? : 13/01/2012 :

Although from within, the profession of pharmacy has many guises, it remains on the whole a well-defined profession in Australia, with a rich heritage and strong identity. As with any identity, 'pharmacy' has its own culture, and certain personality traits may appear to be dominant within pharmacy culture. In Canada, pharmacy practice research by Meagen Rosenthal, Zubin Austin and Ross Tsuyuki (pharmacists/academics) has identified a number of specific personality traits associated with pharmacists.

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