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AusPharm news

Chemist Warehouse $4.99 scripts - are individual employee pharmacists at legal risk? : 18/02/2011 :

In two AusPharmList posts yesterday AusPharm made the comment that: "....the expression 'approved pharmacist' in the Qld Guild members' fax refers to the pharmacist(s) who own the business, not the employee pharmacist(s). There is no reference in the fax to employee pharmacists."

This is correct - there is no mention in the original Guild newsletter to Queensland Guild members that employee pharmacists were personally legally exposed if they dispensed (previously PBS) scripts at $4.99.

However, the National newsletter sent out to all Guild members on Wednesday contains this paragraph:

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First past the post in South Australia : 17/02/2011 :

South Australia's Tomeo and Laslett pharmacy group have again demonstrated their industry leadership role in the delivery of professional services by signing on to the expanded Mirixa Australia™ program.

As part of the new Mirixa Australia programs the group’s pharmacies will deliver Blood Pressure Recording, Weight Recording and target patients for their Dose Administration Aid service.  This is in addition to their Compliance and New to Therapy programs already implemented. 

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Pseudoe**edrine advertising to be stopped : 17/02/2011 :

At its December meeting the Advisory Committee on Medicines Scheduling agreed to remove pseudo**hedrine from Appendix H of schedule 3. This has the effect of banning advertising of products containing pseudo**hedrine.

The Appendix H listing was initially allowed back in 2005 when the majority of pseudo**hedrine products went into schedule 3 so that consumers could be informed about the changed supply arrangements relating to the drug. The Committee agreed that this was no longer relevant and that there was no longer a 'public interest' in allowing advertising of pseudo**hedrine products. It set an implementation date of June 1 2011 for the advertising ban.

Details are here.

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Zinc Reduces the Burden of the Common Cold? : 17/02/2011 :

Zinc supplements reduce the severity and duration of illness caused by the common cold, according to a new systematic review published in The Cochrane Library.

The idea that zinc might be effective against the common cold came from a study carried out in 1984, which showed that zinc lozenges could reduce how long symptoms lasted. Since then, trials have produced conflicting results and although several biological explanations for the effect have been proposed, none have been confirmed.

The new review updates a previous Cochrane Systematic Review, carried out in 1999, with data from several new trials.

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Comments invited on PSA draft Code of Ethics : 17/02/2011 :

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia has released a Consultation Draft of the PSA Code of Ethics for Pharmacists. The new code is the outcome of an extensive review of the PSA Code of Professional Conduct.

The structure of the revised Code is similar to the existing one with nine Principles, each supported by Obligation statements. One of the new features is the association of each principle to one of five main areas of focus: the patient, the community, the pharmacy profession, business practices and other health care professionals.

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Pharmacist amongst 100 honoured indigenous women : 17/02/2011 :

Faye McMillan, pharmacist and President of Indigenous Allied Health Australia, has been selected amongst 100 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to be honoured in the 100 years celebrations of International Women’s Day (8th March). The women are being honoured for their unique strengths and leadership qualities – women who have made a difference and who will continue to inspire others.

Faye's interest in pharmacy began when she was a pharmacy assistant in Trangie, near Dubbo in central NSW. She went on to complete a pharmacy degree at Charles Sturt University in 2001 and was the first Aboriginal person in Australia to gain a pharmacy degree and to go onto registration as a pharmacist.

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Consumers: Testing of complementary medicines - public has a right to know : 16/02/2011 :

According to peak consumer group, the Consumer Health Forum (CHF), while the term “complementary medicines” is in common use, labels using words like “natural” can construct and feed a perception that they are “harmless” and “healthy”, while disguising the fact that these products ARE actually medicines and should be treated as such.

CHF says that, while consumers generally know that prescription medicines have been through a process of rigorous testing to ensure they are safe and do what they say they will, they do not know that the same cannot be said about the 10,000 plus complementary medicines listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods.

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AusPharm CE: Update on calcium : 16/02/2011 :

The next AusPharm CE topic for 2011 is Update on calcium - it's been put together for us by Debbie Rigby.

This CPD article provides an update of calcium and the latest clinical controversies on its safety and efficacy.

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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Need assistance to attend a CE event? : 16/02/2011 :

Griffith University’s School of Pharmacy has developed a Course in Integrative Medicine providing pharmacy practitioners with additional knowledge and skills to deliver evidence-based complementary medicine information to their patients and customers. Three weekend courses (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane) have been scheduled to run between April and July 2011.

Pharmacists from rural areas should consider applying for “Rural and Remote Continuing Pharmacy Education (CPE) Allowance” to allow them to attend the Course.

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Who's going to the TGA Transparency Review meetings? : 16/02/2011 :

As we reported recently the Panel undertaking the Review to Improve Transparency of the TGA is conducting a series of public meetings as part of the review.

The meetings will be held in Sydney, Albury, Melbourne and Perth during February and March, however, as they are all scheduled during business hours, AusPharm understands that industry registrations currently predominate. It would be a pity if health professionals, including pharmacists, and consumers are not represented at the meetings in order to provide some balancing input.

If any pharmacists are considering attending, this story, published in The Age last week may be of interest.

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Poll: price of 100 Panamax : 16/02/2011 :

There have been a number of posts in recent times on AusPharmList about the price of 100 x Panamax. This January item was about a Chemist Warehouse special that saw the product offered for 39c.

Let's see if we can find out what the going price is around the country. Please let us know by ticking the relevant box in today's AusPharm poll.

What does the pharmacy you work in charge for 100 Panamax?

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New addition to the Mirixa stable : 16/02/2011 :

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), in support of the quality use of medicines and development of pharmacy professional services, is backing Mirixa Australia’s MedScreen program suite.  

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Mens sana* - a new series on topics in mental health : 15/02/2011 :

Tomorrow on AusPharm we'll be publishing the first in a new series of articles on mental health, authored by Associate Professor Chris Alderman  .

Dr Alderman has specialist qualifications in psychiatry and geriatrics. He has over 20 years experience in these fields and has authored nearly 100 associated journal publications and book chapters.

His expertise is primarily in the field of psychiatric illnesses, including depression, schizophrenia and other psychosis, substance abuse and anxiety disorders.

The topic of the first article is Traumatic times will touch the lives of pharmacists

"In the wake of floods and the aftermath of Cyclone Yasi in Queensland, and devastating bushfires in Victoria and Western Australia, the lives of many Australians have been changed forever."

Watch this space tomorrow.....

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Did you st*ff up and let your registration lapse? : 15/02/2011 :

If you did the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency has issued further advice on what you need to do to get yourself re-registered.

Click here.

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Postscript: Greenwood vs Barnes on ownership - one possible path to ownership for young pharmacists : 15/02/2011 :

Two weeks ago AusPharm published an article from former Guild Executive Director Stephen Greenwood  that was critical of 2000 National Competition Policy Review of Pharmacy Legislation co-author's Terry Barnes' recent media comments that his views of ownership have changes since the review. Last week we published a response from Mr Barnes .

In the weeks, months and years prior to this there has been much discussion on AusPharmList of the difficulties young pharmacists in particular face in getting into pharmacy ownership. One point that hasn't been made in recent list discussion on ownership issues is that the 2000 Review canvassed a solution to this, published in an appendix to the Review.

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PSA: Health reform better for patients and primary care : 15/02/2011 :

The agreement reached between the States and Territories and the Federal Government to progress the health-reform agenda has a welcome focus on keeping people out of hospitals, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia says.

Acting President of the PSA, Grant Kardachi, said pharmacists had long played a pivotal role in providing primary and preventive care, and the new health  reform agreement would provide opportunities for these services to be provided in a more structured and co-ordinated manner.

“Pharmacists are the most accessible health professionals and consumers can walk in and talk to their pharmacist about a wide range of health issues without the need in most cases to make an appointment or wait a long time,” Mr Kardachi said.

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NSW PSA President praises Opposition committment : 15/02/2011 :

President of the NSW Branch of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, Peter Gissing, has praised the NSW Opposition's $10 million committment to community pharmacy should it win the upcoming NSW state election.

Among the programs under the $10 million plan are moves to reduce hospital admissions and also readmissions following hospital discharge.

“The plan to cut readmissions involves the use of a Home Medicines Review,” Mr Gissing said. "It is refreshing to see this and other PSA initiatives included in a strategic plan aimed at improving long-term health benefits," he added.

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Bonjela: safe when used as directed : 15/02/2011 :

Bonjela manufacturers Reckitt Benckiser issued a statement yesterday pointing out that the recent call from doctors to review labeling on teething gels is in relation to two specific examples of extreme overuse of teething gel, over an extended period of time – and does not apply to general use of teething gels.

The company says that Bonjela (87 mg/g of choline salicylate) has been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)and that current product labeling meets all of the regulator’s compliance guidelines. Any changes to this labeling would only take place, following review and advice from the TGA, it says.

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FDA acts to 'reduce risk' with paracetamol : 14/02/2011 :

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has moved to 'reduce the risk of severe liver injury associated with acetaminophen [paracetamol]' by reducing the allowable tablet content in prescription products containing paracetamol from 500mg to 325mg.

The FDA has also required that a Boxed Warning be placed on all prescription paracetamol products that highlights the potential risk for severe liver injury. Boxed Warnings are FDA's strongest warnings for prescription drug products, used for calling attention to serious or life-threatening risks.

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Wet weather prolongs Australia’s allergy season : 14/02/2011 :

People with asthma and allergy are being warned that recent wet weather across Australia may trigger unseasonable hay fever like symptoms due to the extended grass growing season and the potential for mould build up in and around homes. 

For these people, relief often comes in the form of a nasal inhaler spray to alleviate allergy symptoms - but, the National Asthma Council Australia believes many people are not receiving maximum relief from their inhaler due to poor user technique.

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