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AusPharm news

Season's greetings : 24/12/2010 :

We wish you and yours a safe and happy Christmas and a great 2011!

We thank all 'listers for their support in 2010.

We'll be publishing every weekday except for the public holidays until early February.

Mark, Tony, Cath and the team at AusPharm.

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Review panel membership and call for submissions into transparency of TGA : 24/12/2010 :

Membership of the panel that will review transparency of TGA processes and decision-making has been published on the TGA website, along with an early call for public submissions.

Due to the limited time the review panel has, it has put out an early call for public submissions.  The panel is specifically seeking comments from healthcare professionals regarding:

  • information provided by the TGA on the safety, quality and efficacy of medicines and medical devices included on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods including:

          o APARs for prescription medicines
          o Approved PI
          o CMI
          o Public summary documents on the ARTG
          o TGA Advisories and Medicines Safety Updates

  • any problems encountered in regard to the transparency of TGA processes and decision making.

All submissions must be made by Friday 11 February 2011.

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What style of Christmas party is your pharmacy having? : 24/12/2010 :

The seasonal spirit is strong and lively amongst AusPharmListers, with only 2% expressing the Uncle Scrooge sentiment in this week's poll.

Around a quarter of voters are lucky enough to be treated by the boss to a five-star slap-up Christmas do, and a further 60% are also shouted Christmas celebrations by the boss but in a more restrained, though still generous, manner.

Just 6% fund their own staff party -maybe some of these votes came from the bosses above, or from hospital pharmacy departments? And a sensible 9% wait until the more relaxed pace of January to enjoy the staff Christmas party.

However you choose to celebrate the festive season, may it be happy and in the spirit of goodwill to all.

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Scheduling decisions and consultations : 23/12/2010 :

Poisons Standard (SUSMP) Amendment No. 1 of 2011 is now available on the TGA website, along with the reasons of the delegate for making these scheduling amendments. This is the first set of delegate's decisions (21-pages) to be published since decision-making was moved from the NDPSC to a delegate of the secretary to the Department of Health and Ageing and the scheduling processes changed.

The delegate has also referred a number of proposed scheduling amendments to the Advisory Committee for Medicines Scheduling (ACMS). These proposals are also open to public comment.

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New 2010 Competency Standards in the post to all pharmacists : 23/12/2010 :

The revised 2010 National Competency Standards Framework for Pharmacists in Australia has now been posted to all registered pharmacists by the Pharmacy Board of Australia.

This is a revision to the 2003 competency standards, and the 2010 version should now be used as the reference for planning and recording continuing professional development activities. CPD providers may have based their 2011 offerings on the 2003 standards, so pharmacists undertaking these courses should indicate in their CPD log which version of the competency standard their activities relate to.

The Australia Pharmacy Liaison Forum urges all pharmacists to take few minutes to familiarise themselves with the new document, and understand how the framework applies to their particular practice of pharmacy.

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Separate S2 and S3 schedules to be retained : 23/12/2010 :

Due to changes in the intervening years since the Galbally Review in 1999 floated the idea of combining S2 and S3, the National Coordinating Committee on Therapeutic Goods (NCCTG) and Australian Health Ministers' Conference have agreed that it would not be beneficial to remove/combine the two medicines schedules. Some of the changes in the pharmacy landscape that enabled the NCCTG to reach this decision included the adoption of QCPP, development of self-care concepts in the primary healthcare sector, and the Pharmacy Board of Australia's national standards and guidelines for pharmacists.

As one of the supporters for retaining the existing scheduling system, and in particular the pharmacy-only (S2) and pharmacist-only (S3) schedules, the Pharmacy Guild has welcomed the news. The Guild also recommended continuing the S2/S3 mystery shopper program, and has undertaken to provide the NCCTG with more detailed analysis of this program's findings.

To support retention of the existing OTC schedules, the Guild undertook an R&D project under the 4th CPA that identified the number of customers seeking S2 medicines and their views on having access to pharmacist advice; and  a Standards Maintenance Assessment as part of the mystery shopper program that demonstrated the extent of pharmacy intervention in direct product request sales for S2 medicines, as well as the compliance by pharmacy staff to standards and protocols applicable to the supply of S2 and S3 medicines.

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Webstercare December Newsletter : 22/12/2010 :

Every second month our friends at Webstercare produce a newsletter that is distributed to all aged care homes throughout Australia.

They've kindly agreed to make it available to pharmacists too, through AusPharm.

The latest edition (December) contains articles on:

  • Always Sign, Every Time: The 6th ‘R’ - Right Documentation and the importance of signing for medications at the point of administration.
  • Salt: This month's edition of our Continuing Education series explores important considerations for salt in patients' nutrition.
  • eWebstercare® MedSig®: Webstercare's cutting-edge electronic signing program ensures you sign correctly, every time.
  • Congratulations, Gerard: Webstercare staff would like to congratulate Gerard Stevens on receiving the PSA Life Time Achievement Award and the 2010 FAPA Ishidate Award for Community Pharmacy. It is great to see Gerard’s dedication and innovation recognised

Click here to download the December 2010 Webstercare newsletter in full (3.4mb pdf). Click here if you have any feedback, suggestions or queries about the newsletter.

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US pharmacists also concerned about rapid expansion of pharmacy education : 22/12/2010 :

Echoing disquiet in the pharmacy profession in Australia, the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) have jointly released a discussion paper raising concerns about the accelerating expansion of US pharmacy education.

The two organisations say they have serious concerns about how the continued expansion of pharmacy education could affect the quality of pharmacy education.

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Poll: Christmas staff party : 22/12/2010 :

With only a few sleeps to go, Christmas celebrations are in full swing. Except maybe at at your local branch of the Commonwealth Bank... it's hard to believe that the subject of staff Christmas parties could provide fodder for news headlines.

Staff Christmas parties range from a round of mince tarts with the morning tea, to the fully frocked-up slap-up night out, and given how busy pharmacies are at this time of year, the window for celebrating tends to be stretched fairly wide.

What style of Christmas party is your pharmacy having? Let us know by voting in this week's AusPharm poll.

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Symbion pharmacist forums : 22/12/2010 :

The round of forums for pharmacists hosted by Symbion Pharmacy Services to discuss Pfizer's move to exclusive direct distribution, continue this week with meetings in Brisbane and Melbourne. Forums already attended by hundreds of pharmacists in in Perth, Adelaide, Launceston, Hobart and Sydney have yielded strong views against the Pfizer proposal and a list of key issues which Symbion will be collating and circualating to its more than 3000 customers.

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AusPharm(e)news available daily from : 22/12/2010 :

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Potential for increased pharmacy role in future flu pandemic management : 22/12/2010 :

PSA president Warwick Plunkett has lauded a successful, low-cost Tasmanian trial of in-pharmacy flu vaccinations, as the way forward for accessible immunisations in the event of future pandemic concerns. The trial was conducted by the PSA and Department of Health and Human Services and "had set the benchmark for similar programs to be introduced nationally in the future."

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January 2011 PBS schedule : 21/12/2010 :

The January 2011 PBS schedule and the ‘PBS Summary of Changes’ available here.

Download the Full PBS schedule

Download the PBS Summary of changes

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Longterm campaign to up medicines literacy amongst Australians : 21/12/2010 :

On 30 January 2011 the NPS will launch a nationwide consumer campaign to make Australians more "medicinewise". A Be Medicinewise Week from 30 January to 6 February 2011 will be used to kick off the campaign.

The campaign will rely on improved use of internet materials and advertising and editorial content over the major TV and radio networks, publishers, digital and social media channels. The NPS aims to have the expression "be medicinewise" become part of the vernacular, as has been done with the term "be green". The basis of the campaign will be encouraging consumers to first ask why they should take a medicine or medical test, to know what a medicine is, find the active ingredient, and ask the right questions of health professionals.

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Vale Chas Collison : 21/12/2010 :

Late last week I was saddened to learn of the death of Chas Collison, the Pharmacists Division of APESMA’s first Executive Officer, after a short illness diagnosed whilst holidaying in London.

Pharmacy employees across Australia have benefited from Chas’ passionate and dogged advocacy for their rights at work.

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RGH E-Bulletin: Christmas Edition – Best wishes for the festive season : 20/12/2010 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Christmas Edition – Best wishes for the festive season

"Nearly everyone who has worked in a hospital, clinic or pharmacy can relate a humorous story. We’ve all heard tales like the chap who returned his suppositories to the dispensary & complained that “these tablets are too waxy to eat.” Or the patient with a severe photosensitivity reaction – when asked whether they had read the cautionary label advising them to avoid excessive exposure to sunlight while taking the tablets, the young lady apparently reported that she had stood in a closet while swallowing the pills, then went outside to sunbathe. At RGH one elderly gentleman was asked “How long have you been on the Losec® for?” His reply revealed that his hearing was not what it might have been in his younger days “Son, I’ve been on low sex for years…” In the context of some festive good will, we thought you might enjoy some examples of medical humour we’ve encountered:"

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

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Champix, some antidepressants associated with reports of violence towards others : 20/12/2010 :

Violence towards others is a seldom-studied adverse drug event and an atypical one because the risk of injury extends to others. A recent study, published in PLoSone, identified 1527 cases of violence disproportionally reported for 31 drugs.

Primary suspect drugs included varenicline, 11 antidepressants, 6 sedative/hypnotics and 3 drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

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API: 25% of pharmacy discounts to go : 20/12/2010 :

In a statement issued to the stock exchange late on Friday afternoon, API confirmed that the 'discount pool' available to its pharmacy customers is to drop by 25%. 

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Chronic disease a leading cause of premature death - and mostly preventable : 17/12/2010 :

In 2007, more than 80% of all premature deaths were due to chronic disease, according to a report released on Wednesday by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Premature mortality from chronic disease, shows that of these premature deaths— deaths among people aged less than 75 years—more than 3 in 5 were potentially avoidable.

‘Among men, coronary heart disease was the most common cause of premature mortality, accounting for 16% of years of life lost from chronic disease,’ said Karen Bishop of the Institute’s Population Health Unit.

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Pfizer on the nose : 17/12/2010 :

We always know when an issue is important to pharmacists - there are lots of AusPharmList posts and a strong response to a related poll.

This week's poll, which asked 'listers what they thought about Pfizer's move to withdraw its products from the wholesalers, attracted one of the best voter turnouts we've seen  - and the result was clear.

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