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AusPharm news

Poll: OTC codeine : 11/05/2011 :

It's now just over 12 months since all codeine containing OTC analgesics went in schedule 3. Some pharmacists are deeply troubled by the apparent level of misuse associated with these products, calling for their up-scheduling, while others have called for the removal of low dose codeine products from the market altogether on the basis that there is is no evidence for their efficacy.

What do you think about OTC codeine scheduling? Please let us know by voting in this week's AusPharm poll.

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TGA explains risk management : 11/05/2011 :

Acknowledging that the Australian community has an expectation that therapeutic goods are safe and of high quality the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) requires that any product for which therapeutic claims are made be included in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) before it can be supplied.

The TGA adopts a risk management approach to regulating therapeutic goods and has made available on its website The Therapeutic Goods Administration's risk management approach to the regulation of therapeutic goods to describe the broad risk management approach it  adopts.

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Growing Veggies Good for Growing Minds : 11/05/2011 :

The Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon announced last week the Gillard Government would invest $2.69 million for phase four of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Gardens program.

“We want people to live healthy lives, stay out of hospital as long as possible and importantly be healthy. Giving kids opportunities early in life to form healthy habits is an important investment.

Under the SAKGP children grow, harvest, prepare and share fresh food to improve nutrition and develop life-long healthy eating habits.

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PHARMeFOOTY weekly wrap : 11/05/2011 :

AFL Round 7
 
AFL Round 7 saw 6 tippers select all the 8 winners. The result came down to cumulative margin with Jude McCarthy from McCarthys Pharmacy taking the win. In 2nd place was Michelle Dajka of Torrens Road Gordon with Kamran Zia from Frost's Pharmacy Eltham in 3rd position.

NRL Round 9


NRL Round 9 had just the 4 games and 43 tippers selected all 4 winners. Matthew Brand from the Wesley-Brand Group tipped the perfect margin and takes the weekly prize. In 2nd place was Jan Harland from Hospital Hill Pharmacy with Kim Boulter of APHS Tennyson in 3rd position.

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PSA: Budget mental health decisions welcomed : 11/05/2011 :

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia says the Federal Government has taken a major step forward in delivering early gains in the health-reform process and in addressing issues affecting mental health patients.  The Budget allocation of $2.2 billion over five years aims to improve mental health services with a greater focus on prevention, early intervention and better integrated systems.

Acting President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, Grant Kardachi, said pharmacists, as essential members of the primary health-care team, will be key players in assisting to deliver these services.

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Guild: Federal Budget ‘tough but fair’ : 11/05/2011 :

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia welcomed last night's Federal Budget saying it was firmly focused on achieving much-needed savings, but avoided cutting too deeply into vital health services and programs.

In terms of community pharmacy, the Guild says there was not a lot there, but Guild National President Kos Sclavos said sometimes what isn’t in it is more significant than what is.  Behind the scenes, the Guild lobbied strongly against a rumoured push to increase the PBS patient copayment and means testing pensioner concessions.

“Word around Canberra was that these cuts were ‘on’, as well as cutting funding for medical research,” Mr Sclavos said.

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Medicines Australia: keeping the pressure on over deferred PBS listings : 11/05/2011 :

Commenting on last night's budget, Medicines Australia (MA) CEO Dr Brendan Shaw said the Government should be congratulated on its mental health initiative and noted that the MoU between Medicines Australia and the Commonwealth meant there were no PBS savings related measures in the Budget.

He continued the MA line that the recent federal cabinet PBS listing deferral decisions were bad policy, saying “I would have hoped that the Government would have used the Budget to announce the listing of these medicines that have been delayed by Cabinet.”

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Budget 2011-12: AusPharm analysis : 10/05/2011 :

The 2011-12 Budget will be released at 7.30pm AEST today, 10 May 2011. Links are on the auspharmacist page.

We'll also have a commentary online for you first thing tomorrow morning, authored by former Guild Executive Director Stephen Greenwood.

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Medicines Partnership says PBS growth under control : 09/05/2011 :

In a statement to be released today the Medicines Partnership of Australia (MPA) says that its PBS Scorecard shows low and sustainable PBS growth.

An analysis of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme undertaken by the Medicines Partnership of Australia shows that spending is well under control. According to MPA the new PBS scorecard report should allay any budgetary concerns the Federal Government may have about the PBS.

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Pharmacists add voice to calls for action on mental health : 09/05/2011 :

According to the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA), the Federal Government has a unique opportunity in this week’s Budget to address some of the shortfalls in mental health in Australia by progressing the role of pharmacists in helping patients manage their mental health conditions and also in supporting patients to manage their medicines.

Acting PSA President, Grant Kardachi, said the need for a boost in mental health funding was clear, but such funding should be targeted so as to achieve maximum cost-effectiveness.

“The PSA has presented a very sound proposal for the introduction of a federally-funded program of liaison pharmacists which would see one salaried pharmacist for every Medicare Local to assist in the provision of services for consumers with mental illness,” Mr Kardarchi said.

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RGH E-Bulletin: Exenatide update : 09/05/2011 :

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

"The pharmacological action of exenatide and its potential role in the management of patients with type 2 diabetes (T2DM) were discussed in a previous E-bulletin 30(10). This E-bulletin will address some of the new evidence that has since emerged since for the use of exenatide. A systemic review conducted in 2009 by Norris et al. evaluated 17 studies (4 active controlled; 4 placebo controlled, 9 non-randomised controlled) that assessed the efficacy of exenatide versus long acting insulin regimen, as well as to placebo. In the four active controlled trials, patients (average age 56) with BMI of 31-35kg/m2 and average baseline HBA1c of 8.3-9% were followed for up to 52 weeks."
 
Click here to read the bulletin in full. The E‑Bulletins are archived on the AusPharmList website here.

 

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Unit dose packaging helps adherence in mental illness : 07/05/2011 :

A recent US study, published in an online edition of Schizophrenia Bulletin, has confirmed that systematic approaches to improving medication adherence are effective for the mentally ill, and that a simple pharmacy-based intervention such as unit dose packaging is appropriate for helping people take their medications correctly. The study used the Australian unit dose packaging system, the Webster-pak.

The study looked at 118 patients with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder in four Veterans Affairs Facilities in the US. Prior to the study the researchers found 40 per cent of patients with schizophrenia were only partially adherent or non-adherent to their antipsychotic medications.

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Most pharmacies protect the boss from junk phone calls : 06/05/2011 :

The result of this week's poll tells us that one of the things pharmacies seem to get right in 2011 is to protect the boss from the often unnecessary distraction caused by having to deal with irrelevant and, often, 'junk or spam' phone calls.

Almost 80% of respondents to this week's poll told us that, one way or another, they triage calls for 'the owner/boss'.

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Big Pharma keeps the pressure on : 06/05/2011 :

The Federal Government is ignoring its own growth forecasts for the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, and making policy decisions without an evidence base, Medicines Australia chief executive Dr Brendan Shaw told the 8th Annual Future of the PBS Conference in Sydney yesterday.

Dr Shaw said the Federal Cabinet would have found no need to block the listing of new medicines on the PBS if it had taken into account its own forecasts of modest PBS growth.

“If the Government had even bothered to look at its own forecasts of what the PBS is going to be doing over the coming years, they would have seen there is no reason for them to take the course of action they did,” Dr Shaw said.

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Pharmacy Board announces 2012 registration fees : 06/05/2011 :

The Pharmacy Board of Australia (the Board) yesterday announced the 2012 registration fees for pharmacists. Fee increases are at or below the CPI rate of 3.3%. The annual renewal fee will be $305 from the 30 November 2011 renewal period.

As the National Scheme is funded entirely by registration fees (there is no ongoing government funding except for part of the scheme in NSW in which there is a co-regulatory arrangement), fees need to be set to enable National Boards and AHPRA to meet their responsibilities under the National Law.

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New consumer resource for constipation : 05/05/2011 :

The Gut Foundation yesterday launched a new consumer guide “How do I manage constipation?”

Gut Foundation President and Gastroenterologist Professor Terry Bolin says almost one in six people over the age of 30 have suffered from constipation at some stage in their life and there are widespread myths among healthcare professionals and consumers regarding its treatment.

“Constipation is a very manageable condition and it’s vital that heath care professionals help to educate patients about the best ways to manage constipation to minimise the impact it can have on a patient’s health and lifestyle.  We are hoping this new resource will help improve its management,” said Professor Bolin

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ASMI on codeine: current controls appropriate : 05/05/2011 :

The Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI), the industry body representing non-prescription consumer healthcare products put out a statement yesterday declaring that the current controls on access to analgesics containing codeine are appropriate and adequate to ensure public health and safety. ASMI says that the vast majority of consumers use these products appropriately and further restrictions to access will not have any meaningful impact on problem users.

The comments were in  response to a recent Letter to the Editor in the Medical Journal of Australia which highlighted morbidity and mortality associated with misuse of OTC compound analgesics containing codeine.

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MIMS Monthly Medicine Update : 05/05/2011 :

The MIMS May 2011 Monthly Medicine Update is now available. Click the link to read it now.

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AusPharm CE: RGH E-Bulletin Digest No. 35 : 05/05/2011 :

The next in our 2011 series of continuing education activities is the RGH E-Bulletin Digest No. 35.

This CE activity assesses your understanding of four recent RGH Pharmacy E-Bulletins (Volumes 41-8 - 41-11  -->  March - April 2011).

After completing this activity, pharmacists should be able to:

  • Understand the possible influence of fish oil supplements on bleeding risk
  • Describe the relevant clinical profile of the long-acting olanzapine injection product
  • Discuss issues that relate to the clinical impact of polypharmacy in the elderly
  • Understand the basic clinical pharmacology of agomelatine.

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 MIMs.

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TGA Launches new website : 05/05/2011 :

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) yesterday launched a new website to aid the community's access to authoritative information about the safety of medicines and medical devices.

Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, Catherine King, said the revamped site is designed to clearly explain how prescription, over the counter and complementary medicines, along with medical devices are regulated.

“The TGA is one of the most respected medicines' regulators in the world but for far too long its assessment processes have been too inaccessible to the public,” Ms King said. “I expect that the redesigned TGA website will be welcomed by consumers, health professionals and industry.”

To access the new website, go to www.tga.gov.au.

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