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AusPharm news

Improvements in drug interaction alerts needed : 13/12/2011 :

The results of an NPS survey to find out what GPs and pharmacists want in drug interaction alerts in prescribing and dispensing software have been published in the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA).

Over 300 GPs and community pharmacists responded to the survey, which found that there appears to be a gap between the current offerings of some software systems and what users are looking for.

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UK introduces new paracetamol dosage guidelines for children : 12/12/2011 :

Following a review of children's paracetamol doses in July 2011 UK regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), has introduced new dosing instructions for children's liquid paracetamol products.  Doses have been revised to clarify the most effective dose to be given to a child.

The new guidelines are here.

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Rosuvastatin legal proceedings - Apotex & AstraZeneca : 12/12/2011 :

Apotex have circulated a letter to customers outlining ongoing legal action with AstraZeneca (AZ) over their generic rosuvastatin, scheduled for PBS listing on 1 April 2012.

Apotex had initiated legal proceedings some time ago to revoke AZ's patents for 5mg and 10mg dosing patents; (AZ doesn't hold direct patent protection over the rosuvastatin molecule in Australia). 

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Four drug groups behind majority of ADR A&E admissions : 12/12/2011 :

A US study published in the NEJM has found that just four drugs/drug classes are implicated in the majority (67%) of ADR emergency admissions in the over 65 age group. The culprits are: warfarin; insulins; oral antiplatelet agents; and oral hypoglycemic agents.

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Union maintains attack on Guild : 12/12/2011 :

Referring to a report in Saturday’s Australian, pharmacist employee union, the Pharmacists' Division of APESMA has accused the Pharmacy Guild of bullying NAPSA into abandoning its support, through its membership of the Pharmacist Coalition for Health Reform (PCHR), for Green Senator Richard di Natale's call for a Senate inquiry into the 5th Community Pharmacy Agreement.

APESMA has a copy of an email from NAPSA President Timothy Mizzi to the NAPSA council that the union says shows the Guild threatened to withdraw its sponsorship of NAPSA over the issue and that this is what caused NAPSA's recent resignation from PCHR.

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RGH E‑Bulletin: Alcohol and medications : 12/12/2011 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Alcohol and medications.

"Alcohol has the potential to interact with many medications, but the clinical significance of these interactions is often queried. Pharmacokinetic interactions between alcohol and drugs occur mainly in the liver where both are metabolised. Pharmacodynamic interactions generally result in enhanced effects in the central nervous system (CNS) including sedation and decreased motor skills. Assessment of alcohol-drug interactions is confounded because acute alcohol intake may inhibit drug metabolism whereas chronic alcohol intake can induce enzymes. Studies often focus on the effects of chronic heavy drinking with little evidence for advice around concomitant moderate alcohol consumption."

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

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Latest Webstercare newsletter : 12/12/2011 :

Every second month our friends at Webstercare produce a newsletter that is distributed to all aged care homes throughout Australia.

They've kindly agreed to make it available to pharmacists too, through AusPharm.

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A quiet revolution taking place for remote Aboriginal Clinics with the Mirrijini Dispensing System : 09/12/2011 :

A quiet revolution has been taking place in the last decade to control dispensing and inventory control of drugs for remote Aboriginal communities.

Known as the Mirrijini Dispensing System, it was first introduced by Webstercare for Australia’s first Aborigine-controlled pharmacy in the Tiwi Islands in 2000.

“It is fantastic the way the system has rolled out.  In January 2008 the first controlled site in Napranum, Cape York, was opened;  this was followed by another 11 sites over the Cape York Region; there is one independent site at Mount Magnet in WA which started on August 1, 2011 under the Geraldton Health Service and in October 2011 another six sites commenced in the Mount Isa region,” Gerard Stevens, Managing Director of Webstercare said.

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'Listers not scared to do business online : 09/12/2011 :

This week's poll (n=305) confirmed what you might expect from a group who choose to receive information (their daily AusPharm hit) electronically.

I'm sure the Pharmacy Board will be pleased to see that not a single respondent had neglected to renew their registration by November 30.

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TGA Blueprint for reform released early - CAM adverting loopholes remain : 09/12/2011 :

Following the inadvertent distribution yesterday of Ministerial briefing notes the TGA has released TGA reforms: A blueprint for TGA’s future ahead of its planned release next Monday. The document incorporates the government's response to several major reviews of therapeutic goods regulation that have been undertaken over the past 18 months.

The government says its reforms will enhance the regulatory framework, ensuring that it remains adaptable to new scientific developments and emerging community expectations adding that they will also improve the Australian community's understanding of the TGA's regulatory processes and decisions and enhance public trust in the safety and quality of therapeutic goods.

Public health and complementary medicine regulatory reform advocate Dr Ken Harvey however, was scathing in his criticism of one the government's [lack of] response to one of the key consumer and health professional concerns covered in the reviews - that of the unfounded therapeutic claims made in many advertisements for some complementary medicines.

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Kardachi new APLF Chair : 08/12/2011 :

The Australian Pharmacy Liaison Forum (APLF) announced following its meeting on Monday that Mr Grant Kardachi, National President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, is the new Chair of the APLF for 2012.

The APLF commented that Mr Kardachi is a community pharmacist of long standing with a good grasp of the politics and current issues facing the profession who will give strong leadership to the Forum over the next 12 months.

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SIGMA urges pharmacists to oppose CPA5 inquiry : 08/12/2011 :

In a letter to its customers this week SIGMA Pharmaceuticals CEO Mark Hooper urges pharmacists to contact their federal member of parliament and tell them there is no need for a Senate inquiry into the Community Pharmacy Agreement.

Mr Hooper wrote that the value of the proposed inquiry is unclear given the savings already apparent that will flow from the Agreement, adding that a CPA5 review would only further destabilise an industry already facing significant uncertainty.

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Evidence Shows How Childhood Obesity Can Be Prevented : 07/12/2011 :

According to a new review of the evidence, targeting children aged six to 12 with school-based programmes that encourage healthy eating, physical activity and positive attitudes to body image are among a range of interventions that can help reduce levels of obesity.

 “There is now compelling evidence that strategies can be implemented to halt the growing rates of obesity in children. We know that doing nothing is likely to result in increases of overweight and obesity, particularly in countries where the prevalence continues to rise”, says the lead researcher of this study, Prof Elizabeth Waters, who works at the McCaughey Centre at the University of Melbourne, Australia. The research is published in The Cochrane Library.

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Safety Advisory: simvastatin - new contraindications, precautions and dosage recommendations : 07/12/2011 :

The TGA yesterday issued a safety alert advising health professionals to limit the prescribing of high dose (80 mg/day) simvastatin and to be aware of new contraindications and precautions for the use of simvastatin with other medicines.

Patients on high dose simvastatin and those taking certain other medicines have an increased risk of developing myopathy (muscle weakness) and, more rarely, rhabdomyolysis. The TGA recommends that 80 mg/day simvastatin should only be used in patients at high risk of cardiovascular complications who have not achieved their treatment goals on lower doses.

Read the full text of the Safety Advisory on the TGA website here.

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Poll: online pharmacist registration : 07/12/2011 :

The deadline for pharmacists to renew their registration passed last week on November 30. For the first time, registration renewal was possible through an online portal at the website of the Pharmacy Board of Australia.

Did you take advantage of this? Please let us know by voting in this week's AusPharm poll.

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Vale Sam Loxton : 07/12/2011 :

Those who have attended the various Pharmacy Cricket events will be saddened by the passing of Sam Loxton.

Sam, with Neil Harvey, were the guest speakers at the first Pharmacy Cricket pre match dinner held at Bradman Oval Bowral in April 2000.

Sam has been a great friend of ours since that time and has been a wonderful supporter of Pharmacy Cricket. He has been our guest speaker at other times and has attended many of our games, delighting us all with his great stories of his time playing cricket.

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New paper shows need to complete clinical trial plan : 06/12/2011 :

According to Medicines Australia, a paper launched at Parliament House recently shows the Federal Government’s plan to invigorate the clinical trials industry is working but that implementation must be completed.
 
The paper, Keeping clinical trials in Australia: why action is needed now, argues that the recommendations of the Clinical Trials Action Group (CTAG) hold the key to ensuring the future of clinical trials in Australia. The CTAG was set up by the Government to help cement Australia's position as a good place to conduct clinical trials.

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'Hot headed' Sclavos nation's top lobbyist : 06/12/2011 :

Crikey offshoot The Power Index yesterday labelled Guild President Kos Sclavos the most powerful lobbyist in the country.

Author of the Sclavos profile, Matthew Knott, has it that "if you're looking for power that's concentrated, power that's embedded in our political system and power that's wielded through intimidation, not just persuasion, then Kos is your man."

The Power Index's assessment of the Guild President is worth a read - take a look for yourself here.

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AMA President calls for pharmacy reforms : 06/12/2011 :

In an opinion piece published on doctor website Medical Observer yesterday Australian Medical Association President Dr Steve Hambleton called for a number of reforms to the community pharmacy environment. Chief among these was the abolition of the pharmacist only ownership rules and the location rules.

According to Dr Hambleton these rules should be lifted so "so the health system can truly provide ‘joined up’ care in the primary care setting," adding that the current rules "make it difficult for younger pharmacists to establish their own businesses. They also prevent doctors from owning pharmacies. It is curious that pharmacists can own medical practices, but not the other way around."

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Award winning NPS iPhone app now includes a medicines reminder function : 06/12/2011 :

NPS has introduced a range of new features to its award-winning  Medicines List iPhone app that allow people to schedule in reminders to prompt them to take their medicine.

As part of the upgrade, people can also record whether they took their medicine on time — and if not, why not, which may be useful information to share when they next see their doctor or pharmacist.

NPS clinical adviser Dr Danielle Stowasser says the scheduling functions are a lifesaver for those who have trouble taking their medicines as recommended by their health professional.

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