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AusPharm news

Guild launches weekly e-newsletter : 19/05/2011 :

The Pharmacy Guild yesterday published the first edition of a new weekly e-newsletter, forefront.

It’s free to subscribe and open to any interested person.

Read the first edition online here. Subscribe here.

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Government Anti-Smoking Ads Become More Targeted : 18/05/2011 :

The Federal Government is continuing its anti-smoking campaign that targets hard-to-reach and high-risk groups, with new advertising aimed at pregnant women and their partners and more groups from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Like the Government’s previous graphic anti-smoking advertising and the release of plain paper packaging on cigarette packets, the advertising pulls no punches.

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PSA election results announced : 18/05/2011 :

Ballots for PSA Branch Committee positions were recently held in NSW, ACT, South Australia and Tasmania. The results of these elections were announced yesterday.

Former Guild president John Bronger is one of the new faces on the NSW Branch Committee as is prescription medicine packaging reform advocate Steve Cohen.

Membership of all state and territory Branch Committees has now been finalised. Elections for national president and other national Board positions are expected to be finalised in August.

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Bayer challenges adverse finding : 18/05/2011 :

Seven months after a complaint was first submitted to regulatory authorities about the therapeutic claims made for Bayer's Berocca Performance and two months after that complaints were found to be in breach of the regulations, the offending claims are still present on the Berocca website and and the websites of some retailers.

The 'umpire', the Complaint Resolution Committee (CRP), noting that Bayer's response to the determination failed to indicate an intention to comply with its requests to withdraw the claims, referred the matter to the TGA. The CRP has requested that the TGA order Bayer to comply with its request.

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Poll: pharmacy and medical certificates : 18/05/2011 :

Last week, the issue of pharmacies providing 'medical' certificates was in the news again with a News Ltd story claiming that medical certificates were being 'bought from pharmacies with little or no health checks'.

An AMA spokesperson was quoted as saying that it was inappropriate for pharmacies to give out sick certificates and that it was potentially dangerous.

"If someone comes in with a headache to a pharmacy they are not going to be examined properly. They are taking a risk by saying a person is sick. I can't believe the general public would think that was a good thing to do. I hope that pharmacists have good indemnity insurance to allow them to carry a legal responsibility for diagnosing patients."

This has us wondering just how many pharmacies actually offer a medical certificate service. Please let us know what happens in your pharmacy by voting in this week's AusPharm poll.

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PSS applications open for flood relief funds : 18/05/2011 :

The Pharmacists’ Support Service (PSS) is now offering financial support for pharmacists affected by the floods via the funds raised by our joint flood appeal with the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia.  

The flood appeal was set up to provide relief to any pharmacists affected by wide-ranging floods in Queensland, NSW and Victoria.

Many pharmacists were affected to varying degrees by these floods and their colleagues across the country rose to help them by contributing to the PSS relief fund.

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PHARMeFOOTY weekly wrap : 18/05/2011 :

AFL Round 8
AFL Round 8 saw 10 tippers select all the 8 winners. Rebecca Unmack had the best margin so wins the weekly prize.  In 2nd place was Neil Standfield with Chris Hick from University of Sydney finishing in 3rd spot.

NRL Round 10

NRL Round 10 was tough for tippers with 6 out of 8 winners being the best score. The result came down to cumulative margin with Robert Simpson taking first place. In 2nd spot was Jerry Korneha from Medicare Australia with Donna Taylor taking 3rd position.

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RPSGB releases second ‘What do pharmacists do?’ video : 17/05/2011 :

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britian has released the second video in its new series ‘What do pharmacists do?’.  This time, the work of hospital pharmacists is highlighted with a film about the wide variety of roles they play in the life of Guy’s and St Thomas’s Hospital in London. 

Pharmacists are shown explaining the complexities of their work on the ward, the part they play in formulating medicines and in medicines administration as well as dispensaries, highlighting how integral they are to the health of patients and the success of the multi-disciplinary healthcare team.

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TGA reviews reveal that CAM evidence is often inadequate : 17/05/2011 :

A series of Therapeutic Goods Administration reviews of compliance with legislation for complementary medicine products (CAMs) has revealed that the therapeutic claims made for many products are not supported by evidence.

As part of targeted reviews of 59 CAMs, evidence reviews were conducted on 11 medicines. Of these 11, 9 made claims that were not substantiated by the evidence submitted.

The TGA did warn, however, that these reviews involve small numbers of products and caution should be used in interpreting or generalising the data.

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Pre-regs can now register online with the Pharmacy Board : 17/05/2011 :

As part of its response to the debacle that was registering pre-registrant pharmacists at the end of 2010 the Pharmacy Board, through its parent agency the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), has introduced online registration for pre-regs starting with those who are about to graduate mid-year 2011.

The online graduate registration service enables pre-regs to apply for registration early, four to six weeks before they complete their pre-reg year. Most will be able to complete their registration application online, while others will use the dedicated web-pages to be directed to the correct application form. All applications require applicants to return some supporting documents to AHPRA by mail.

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The Australian Pharmacy Council has a vacancy for a new director : 16/05/2011 :

The Australian Pharmacy Council is seeking applications for directorship from people with some or all of the following attributes:

  • Clear understanding of governance responsibilities
  • Management/financial and/or legal background
  • Educational experience in pharmacy or otherwise
  • Understanding of and/or experience with accreditation activities
  • Understanding of registration and/or professional regulation activities
  • National perspective especially having regard to indigenous issues and with an understanding of the issues of remote and rural pharmacy practice

Applications must address the attributes as above and include curriculum vitae. Applications must reach the APC Office no later than 27th May 2011.

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Qld Know Your Numbers campaign launched : 16/05/2011 :

The National Stroke Foundation's Know Your Numbers campaign was yesterday launched at Delahunty's Cost Less Chemist in Brisbane.

Queensland Minister for Health Geoff Wilson urged Queenslanders to reduce their risk of stroke by getting a free blood pressure check at one of 600 Queensland pharmacies participating in the screening initiative. This year, over 100 participating pharmacies will also be offering a diabetes check.

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Over half of aged care residents have dementia : 16/05/2011 :

According to a report released last week by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), more than 50% of residents in Australian Government-subsidised aged care facilities in 2008-09 had dementia.

The report, Dementia among aged care residents: first information from the Aged Care Funding Instrument, outlines, for the first time, the characteristics and care requirements of those residents with a diagnosis of dementia.

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RGH E-Bulletin: St John’s wort & hormonal contraceptives : 16/05/2011 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Interaction between St John’s wort & hormonal contraceptives.

"St John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) is a herbal remedy with some evidence to suggest that it is effective for the treatment of mild depression. St John’s wort (SJW) has the potential to interact with several medications, some of which were discussed in two previous E-Bulletins (Vol 19(6) and Vol 19(7) from August 2005). This E-Bulletin focuses on the interaction between SJW and hormonal contraceptive agents."

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

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Pharmacists: mixed views on codeine scheduling : 13/05/2011 :

About half the respondents to this week's AusPharm poll told us that they think low dose codeine containing analgesics should remain in schedule 3 with 2/3 of this group saying that it's very difficult 'separating the misusers from the genuine users'.

Just over a third of respondents want to see the end of these products either by seeing them removed from the market altogether because they don't work (23%) or by having them up-scheduled into S4 (14%).

The introduction of a Project STOP like initiative would likely make it a whole lot easier for pharmacists to identify misusers.

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NPS welcomes MedicineWatch funding : 12/05/2011 :

A new national program to monitor the uptake and use of prescription medicines to be run by NPS MedicineWatch was funded in Tuesday's night's federal budget.

Announced as part of a wider post-marketing surveillance package to be coordinated by the Department of Health and Ageing, the NPS MedicineWatch program will complement existing data sources and provide better visibility and understanding of how medicines are prescribed and their positive and negative impacts on health in a representative sample of the Australian population.

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Government closes loophole delaying new generics : 12/05/2011 :

The passing of the Therapeutic Goods Legislation Amendment (Copyright) Bill 2011 by federal parliament this week will mean that pharma companies can no longer use copyright of product information to delay or prevent generic medicines entering the market. The Bill is a response to an emerging practice of pharmaceutical companies arguing that the product information approved by the Therapeutic Goods

Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing Catherine King said “I welcome the passage of this Bill because any delay in generic medicines entering the market means a delay in their listing on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme leading to higher costs for consumers and the Government.”

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Students encourage the profession to provide medical certificates : 12/05/2011 :

Following adverse media reports this week about the appropriateness of pharmacies issuing medical certificates the National Australian Pharmacy Students’ Association said yesterday that pharmacists are trained to make ethical decisions and that the issuing of medical certificates by pharmacists is but one example of such an ethical decision.

A January 2010 NAPSA survey (n=101) found that 64% of respondents were aware that pharmacists could issue medical certificates but less than 50% of respondents believed that pharmacists had enough training to do so.

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New ACS DUE tool for hospitals : 12/05/2011 :

NPS has launched a new electronic drug use evaluation tool for the discharge management of patients with acute coronary syndromes (DMACS e-DUE). The tool is used to promote adherence to evidence-based guidelines from the National Heart Foundation and Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand.

NPS clinical adviser Dr Danielle Stowasser says while evidence-based guidelines exist for the management of patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS), adherence to these remains suboptimal.

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Pharmacist Coalition welcomes budget commitments to ongoing health reform : 12/05/2011 :

The Pharmacist Coalition for Health Reform sees a key role for pharmacists as part of the ongoing commitment to health reform signalled in this week's federal budget.

The Coalition welcomed the $2.2 billion investment over five years into mental health and the $201 million provided  in incentives for States and Territories to increase their own investment in services. Tuesday’s Budget also allocates substantial funds for better local coordination through Medicare Locals. The Coalition says it is particularly pleased with priorities such as support for patients being admitted and discharged from hospitals, which often involves a clinical audit and providing advice on medicine regimens by pharmacists.

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