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AusPharm news

Poll: should pharmacy leaders just 'grow up', negotiate in a more civilized fashion, and not air grievances in public? : 23/11/2011 :

In a post to AusPharmList today, writing about the latest adverse media comment on pharmacy, Chris Mills wrote:

"Grow up people! I expect this kind of petty bickering from children but as "leaders" of our profession you are all doing us a disservice. If you must argue lock yourselves in a room and sort it out with the door closed, not in the public domain."

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

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Parliamentary Secretary for Health delivers Guild dinner speech : 23/11/2011 :

Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, Catherine King, delivered the keynote speech at the Pharmacy Guild's annual dinner in Canberra on Monday night.

In the relatively innocuous speech, delivered by Ms King in the absence of Nicola Roxon, she touched on a number of issues including pharmacy's role in health reform, the reputation of pharmacists, e-health and the location rules.

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API to sponsor Monash pharmacy school : 23/11/2011 :

Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (API) has announced a new sponsorship that will see support directed towards the education of undergraduate pharmacy students at Monash University in Melbourne. 
The ten year sponsorship will help fund a multi-faceted facility known as the Professional Practice Suite (PPS) – a learning space that helps to improve students’ skills in the practical area of dispensing, whilst also advancing students’ communication and leadership skills in the wider practice of pharmacy.

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Mixed reaction to CPA5 inquiry calls : 23/11/2011 :

Calls by Greens health spokesperson Senator Richard Di Natale, pictured right, for a Senate inquiry into the 5th Community Pharmacy Agreement received a mixed response from stakeholders yesterday.

The Greens are calling for a Senate inquiry into the Community Pharmacy Agreement "to make sure that the interests of pharmacists, consumers and taxpayers are being met."

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ACCC v Peter Foster : 22/11/2011 :

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has detailed its case for contempt of court against weight loss conman Peter Foster, launched late last week in the Federal Court in Sydney.

The ACCC alleges that Foster has breached two orders made against him in 2005 that were in effect until 2 September 2010 and banned his involvement in any weight loss business. These orders also required him to disclose to interested parties that he was the subject of court mandated restraint orders.

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Guild v the world stoush evenly balanced : 22/11/2011 :

Following their threat yesterday to withdraw from the 5th Community Pharmacy Agreement consultative committee, members of the Consumer Health Forum, Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers, Australia (APESMA), the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, and the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia met with the Nicola Roxon's office regarding their concerns.

The group say that, following the meeting, they remain concerned about consultation on the Government's Pharmacy Agreement, and that their resignations were still being considered. The group says that the concerns expressed to the Minster must be addressed to commence the process of rebuilding the community's trust in the profession following the damage caused by the commercial deals struck between the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and drug companies.

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Pharmacist wins National Telstra Business Women’s Award : 22/11/2011 :

Cathie Reid, APHS Managing Partner, won the Commonwealth Bank Business Owner Award at the national Telstra Business Women's Awards on Friday. After winning her category at the Queensland event, Cathie went on to take out the national prize above seven other exceptional finalists from all across Australia.

Cathie Reid is Managing Partner of APHS, a national hospital, oncology and aged care pharmacy provider, as well as the lead of APHS Packaging, the group’s manufacturing arm.

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ASMI Sales and Marketing Awards Announced : 21/11/2011 :

Awards for innovative consumer healthcare products, promotions and self care initiatives were announced last Thursday night at the Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI) Conference in Sydney.

The awards recognise best practice by ASMI members in healthcare promotion, in keeping with the Quality Use of Medicines (QUM), and are judged by an expert panel comprising a pharmacist, a consumer representative, a pharmaceutical trade journalist, a senior executive from the healthcare industry, and representatives from the healthcare public relations and advertising industries.

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Tasmania leads in schedule 8 drug monitoring : 21/11/2011 :

A national conference of health experts last week heard how Tasmania is leading the way in tackling the over-prescription of schedule 8 analgesics, including oxycodone.

Tasmanian Alcohol and Drug Services Clinical Director Dr Adrian Reynolds told the Australian Professional Society on Alcohol and Other Drugs (APSAD) conference in Hobart that Tasmania is developing an innovative solution to prescription drug addiction and overdose.

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Three inaugural honorary members appointed by NPS : 21/11/2011 :

The NPS constitution was revised in 2010 to enable the NPS Board to publicly recognise individuals who have made outstanding contributions towards quality use of medicines. The first three honorary members of NPS have now been appointed following an extensive call for nominations and shortlisting process.

The NPS Board resolved unanimously to invite consumer health advocate Ms Jan Donovan, leading figure in Australian health Professor Emeritus Lloyd Sansom AO and long-standing quality use of medicines advocate Professor Richard Day AM to become honorary members of NPS.

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RGH E‑Bulletin: Zonisamide : 21/11/2011 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Zonisamide.

"Zonisamide (Zonegran®) is an antiepileptic drug that has been used for many years around the world but has only recently become available in Australia. It is listed as an Authority benefits prescription on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, subsidised for the treatment of partial epileptic seizures not controlled satisfactorily by other anti-epileptic drugs. Zonisamide is a sulphonamide agent and its exact mechanism of action is unclear. Studies have shown efficacy as an adjunct treatment in partial epilepsy, and it may also be effective as monotherapy. Whilst zonisamide reduces the frequency of seizures more than placebo, few patients become seizure free. The longest randomised controlled clinical trial had a maintenance stage of only 18 weeks, so long term efficacy is unclear. Its use has also been investigated in the treatment of bipolar disorder, obesity and parkinsonism."

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

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Agencies come together to combat online supply of counterfeit and illegal medicines : 18/11/2011 :

The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service and the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) have taken part in an international ‘Week of Action’ targeting the online sale of counterfeit and illegal medicines.

Together with over 80 participating countries, Operation Pangea IV was undertaken to raise awareness of the health risks associated with the misuse of counterfeit and illegal medicines, and has resulted in a series of arrests across the globe and the worldwide seizure of thousands of potentially harmful medical products.

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Role for a new union in Australian pharmacy? Maybe : 18/11/2011 :

While there is some difference of opinion some 60% of respondents to this week's AusPharm poll told us they think there is a place for a pharmacist' union to represent the interests of ALL Australian pharmacists.

Last week's poll told us that the 'right' price for membership of such a union would be $150 - $200.

This week's result suggest that further research might be useful to determine whether or not a new organisation like this might actually fly.

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NPS Medicines List iPhone app wins SHPA award : 18/11/2011 :

A presentation on the award-winning NPS Medicines List iPhone app has been recognised with two awards at the Society of Hospital Pharmacists Australia (SHPA) federal conference, held in Hobart last weekend. The paper won an award for Best Paper in IT and Innovation, as well as Best Paper overall.
NPS clinical adviser Dr Danielle Stowasser, who presented the paper, says that she is thrilled by the huge interest in ­ and praise for ­ the app from delegates at the conference.

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AusPharm CE: Rheumatoid arthritis : 17/11/2011 :

The latest AusPharm CE topic is Rheumatoid arthritis - it's been put together for us by Dr Jenny Gowan.

"Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic inflammatory disease that initially focuses on synovial joints.  It is a lymphocyte-mediated autoimmune disease that can cause chronic inflammation of the joints and other areas of the body, including the heart, respiratory system, nerves and eyes. It can affect people of all ages. RA usually affects multiple joints on both sides of the body at the same time. The cytokines tumour necrosis factor (TNF) and interleukin-1 ((IL-1) appear to be key factors although other pro-inflammatory mediators are also involved.  The inflammation results in joint destruction with both bony erosions and cartilage loss."

The Learning Objectives for this activity are:

  • To be able to communicate with patients about the management of rheumatoid arthritis
  • To assist patients to achieve adherence to medication regimens to treat rheumatoid arthritis and its associated complications
  • To  identify adverse effects from medications used  to treat rheumatoid arthritis
  • To ensure that patients undergo regular monitoring to minimise adverse effects from medications used to treat arthritis.

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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Revised Arrangements for Chemotherapy Drugs from 1 December 2011 : 17/11/2011 :

The Revised Arrangements for the Efficient Funding of Chemotherapy Drugs commence from 1 December 2011. Prescribing and dispensing arrangements for oral chemotherapy medicines remain unchanged. The Revised Arrangements cover infusible and injectable chemotherapy medicines.

The changes will:

  • require prescribers to write dose specific prescriptions using milligrams (in most situations) without specific reference to forms and strengths;
  • pay approved suppliers/pharmacists for the most cost-efficient combination of vials that makes up the required patient dose; and
  • result in changes to the way that chemotherapy drugs are listed in the Schedule.

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OTC medicines sector to get less regulation but more scrutiny, TGA tells ASMI Conference : 17/11/2011 :

The over-the-counter (OTC) medicines sector will benefit from greater certainty and predictability from regulators, but should expect to come under increased community scrutiny, the Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) national conference in Sydney heard yesterday.

Dr Rohan Hammett, the National Manager of the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) told the conference that while the business reform process underway for the OTC sector will bring significant benefits in medicine approvals and timelines, community scrutiny of the sector's activities would be intense.

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Rural pharmacy workforce under the microscope : 17/11/2011 :

Pharmacy is faced with the challenge of providing an expanding range of professional pharmacy services and primary health care services to consumers.  The capacity of pharmacy to continue to expand its role in health care will involve addressing workforce supply issues across the entire pharmacy spectrum.
In order to address this issue, funding has been awarded – through the Research and Development Program funded under the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing – for research that will examine the rural and remote workforce and its impact on access to pharmacy services at a local level.

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Hay fever tops list for chronic respiratory conditions : 17/11/2011 :

About 3.1 million Australians, or 15% of the population, suffer from hay fever, making it one of the most common chronic respiratory conditions in Australia, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

Data from pharmacy suppliers suggests that spending by pharmacies on these medicines doubled between 2001 and 2010, going from $107.8 million to $226.8 million per year. While not all of these medicines would have been used for allergic rhinitis, treatment of this condition is likely to have accounted for a large proportion of the increase.

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Medicines Australia: pharma industry a key player in ‘post-mining boom’ economy : 16/11/2011 :

The medicines industry will offer Australia significant strategic and economic advantages in a post-mining boom future, Medicines Australia chief executive Dr Brendan Shaw told the National Press Club recently.

Dr Shaw said that with the right policy settings to encourage innovation, research and manufacturing the medicines industry could capitalise on its advantages.

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