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AusPharm news

Wages declining? : 04/03/2011 :

This week's well patronised poll asked 'listers what the going rate for an employee pharmacist is in their area.

There appears to have been little movement in rates since the last time we looked at this in July 2009. If anything, there has been a slight trend towards lower rates of pay with 15% of respondents reporting a rate of $30 an hour or less in 2011 vs 10% in 2009. This extra 5% seems to have come from the $36-$45/hr band.

We'll run this poll once a year from now on.

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Whooping cough coverage a worry : 04/03/2011 :

A survey released this week by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare showed that almost 75% of Australians aged 65 years and older received an influenza vaccination in 2009, and almost 55% were vaccinated against pneumococcal disease.

Older Australians are a target group for these vaccinations because they are at increased risk of serious complications and death from the two infections.

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Latest edition of NPS RADAR out now : 04/03/2011 :

The April edition of NPS RADAR for 2011 has been published on the NPS website. It contains reviews of:

  • Adapalene with benzoyl peroxide (Epiduo) for severe acne vulgaris
  • Dutasteride (Avodart) for lower urinary tract symptoms due to benign prostatic hyperplasia
  • Nicotine patches (Nicabate P, Nicorette, Nicotinell Step 1) for smoking cessation
  • Varenicline (Champix) for smoking cessation

NPS RADAR provides independent, evidence-based assessment of new drugs, new PBS listings and the latest research for doctors, pharmacists and other health professionals.

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Pharmacy students ready to immunise : 03/03/2011 :

Over three quarters of pharmacy students in a recent survey supported pharmacy based immunisation with over 80% of respondents indicating a desire to be involved in delivering services should immunisation programs be expanded to include pharmacists.

The survey also determined that students see the the major barrier to immunisation as inadequate training.

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AusPharm CE: RGH E-Bulletin Digest No. 33 : 03/03/2011 :

The next in our 2011 series of continuing education activities is the RGH E-Bulletin Digest No. 33.

This CE activity assesses your understanding of four recent RGH Pharmacy E-Bulletins (Volumes 40-12 - 41-3  -->  January - February 2011).

After completing this activity, pharmacists should be able to:

  • Compare the clinical pharmacology of rivaroxaban and dabigatran
  • Discuss potential hazards associated with co-prescription of benzodiazepines and opioids
  • Describe important factors to consider when considering the use of beta blockers for patients with COPD
  • Outline relevant considerations regarding the connection between statin treatment and nightmares

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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Footy tipping on again in 2011 : 03/03/2011 :

Australia's only online footy tipping competition for pharmacy begins again in March with the kick-off of PHARMeFOOTY tipping for the Australian Football League and National Rugby League.

If you were a registered member of Medici Capital & Fred Health PHARMeFOOTY last year, you don't need to re-register, you just need to reactivate your account, here. If you haven't previously been part of PHARMeFOOTY tipping, you can register here.

PHARMeFOOTY is a free, on-line tipping service sponsored by Fred Health and Medici Capital.

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Poll: employee pharmacist wages : 02/03/2011 :

Almost two years ago, we ran this same poll - given the regular discussions on AusPharmList since then about pharmacist wages it's timely to run it again. We've  edited it slightly to reflect minor changes in pharmacy practice since the last poll. On Friday we'll publish an analysis and compare it to the 2009 result.

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New AIHW asthma site : 02/03/2011 :

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has launched new information on its website which aims to make asthma statistics more accessible and easier for consumers to understand. 

The new web page addresses questions such as: ‘Who gets asthma?’ ‘What drugs are used to treat asthma?’ and ‘How does asthma affect quality of life?’ It shows that there were more than 37,500 hospitalisations for asthma in 2007-08, and 385 deaths due to asthma in 2007.

Take a look for yourself here.

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Half of Australians donít know whatís in their pain medicines : 02/03/2011 :

NPS says that health professionals need to spend more time talking to patients about active ingredients, following the release of new research that shows consumers are largely confused about what’s in many common over-the-counter pain relief medicines.

Of 502 research poll respondents who had taken an over-the-counter or prescription medicine in the past three months, 80% said they had taken an over-the-counter analgesic. When respondents were asked to name the active ingredient in the analgesic they had taken, there was notable confusion.

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Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods website upgraded : 01/03/2011 :

The Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) website has been revamped to make searching easier. The ARTG website lists all therapeutic goods approved for use in Australia.

According to Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, Catherine King “This is an important advance which will benefit consumers, health professionals and the industry."

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The dangers of driving with Glaucoma : 01/03/2011 :

To coincide with this year’s World Glaucoma Week (March 6-12), Glaucoma Australia is educating Australians about the significant impact Glaucoma has on driving. Glaucoma Australia says sufferers are up to four times more likely to have a car accident than the average Australian.

Glaucoma is known as the ‘silent thief of sight’; it is the second leading worldwide cause of irreversible blindness, and if left undiagnosed and untreated it can significantly impact a person’s life.

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NPS evaluation report : 01/03/2011 :

NPS's latest evaluation report provides a detailed review of each NPS program for health professionals and consumers.

NPS CEO Dr Lynn Weekes said the report shows NPS has successfully engaged different audiences via multiple channels, and provides invaluable information for the development of future programs.

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Here's an opportunity for for a BYT: Members Sought for Preventive Health Advisory Council : 28/02/2011 :

Individuals with expertise in preventive health have been invited to express their interest in joining the Advisory Council of the Australian National Preventive Health Agency to assist in the fight against chronic disease.

According to Minister for Health and Ageing Nicola Roxon, “Keeping people healthy and out of hospital is a key focus for the Gillard Government and we want to bring together the best expertise in the country to tackle chronic disease.”

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More on PBS NRT : 28/02/2011 :

After publishing the result of our poll last week which showed widespread frustration amongst pharmacists about the problems experienced with the PBS Feb 1 rollout of nicotine replacement therapy we had this in over the weekend from an industry source:

"For industry, 2 months notice (with the Christmas break in between) is not a lot of time to get their manufacturing sorted. Even though the PBAC recommended listing in Feb and again in June last year, approval was not given and, with the election in between, we had come to believe that listing would not happen at all. So the 1st December announcement was a surprise. Usually there is 4 months between a listing announcement and the listing taking place. It's no wonder there have been hiccups!"

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New members sought for Therapeutic Goods Committee : 28/02/2011 :

The Therapeutic Goods Administration is seeking to fill positions on the Therapeutic Goods Committee (TGC) with relevantly skilled persons. The TGC is the expert committee which provides advice to the Minister for Health and Ageing on standards for therapeutic goods, including requirements for labelling, packaging and principles to be observed in the manufacture of therapeutic goods for human use.

Nominations are being sought from bodies that represent a range of industry sectors and expressions of interest are also being sought from individuals in a number of specified fields including Community or hospital pharmacy practice.

Full details are on the TGA website here.

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PBS numbers down : 28/02/2011 :

PBS statistics for January 2011 have been released by Medicare Australia.

They show a decline in both script numbers (-18%) and absolute dollars (-8%) compared to January 2010. This follows a similar decline for December 2010 compared to December 2009.

 

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Record turnout at ACT PSA event : 28/02/2011 :

A record number of pharmacists attended the ACT PSA Branch’s first CPD event of the year last week.

The event focused on the role of pharmacies as a provider of public health interventions and followed the staging of a pharmacy based chlamydia screening pilot program in a number of ACT pharmacies early in 2011.

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RGH E-Bulletin: Enteral administration of proton pump inhibitors : 28/02/2011 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Enteral administration of proton pump inhibitors.

"Five Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) are currently available in Australia, and are very similar in terms of clinical efficacy. Approximate dose equivalences are: eomeprazole 20-40 mg, lansoprazole 30 mg, omeprazole 20 mg, pantoprazole 40 mg, rabeprazole 20 mg. All proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are acid labile and will be destroyed by stomach acid. All oral formulations available in Australia are enteric-coated for release in the small intestine. EC granules are contained within a tablet/capsule; the granules should not be crushed. Currently available brands and their oral formulations are listed below. Their instructions for administration are taken from the relevant product information for each brand. New generic products are continuously being marketed, but may not be formulated in the same way."

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

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Cabinet knocks back PBS listings : 27/02/2011 :

Last Friday Health Minister Nicola Roxon's office issued one of its regular media releases congratulating the Gillard government for the items it is about to PBS list. What was different about this particular release was notice that it had declined to list a number of items recommended for listing by the Pharmaceutical Benefite Advisory Committee (PBAC), saying that it would reconsider these for listing 'when circumstances permit'.

Historically, medicines that carry a cost to Government of more than $10 million a year are reviewed by Cabinet. However, on this occasion Cabinet has intervened on the listing of medicines that fall well below that threshold. This is the first time it has considered a positive recommendation by the PBAC and not accepted that recommendation.

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Pfizer trying to please... : 27/02/2011 :

In another fax-out to pharmacists late on Friday Pfizer says that it has delivered 99% of deliveries placed in the first 4 weeks of its new direct to pharmacy supply model on time.

The company has admitted, however, that it has experienced some issues with 'late processing of orders, late delivery of cold chain medicines and congestion on the Customer Service Line'.

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