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AusPharm news

Do you have the skills for evidence-based practice? : 10/12/2010 :

Results in this week's poll reflect that around 85% of pharmacists believe they have some degree of competence in understanding and interpreting the results of different types of studies and putting them into practice.

Half of those are fully confident that they have the sklls to practise evidence-based pharmacy, the other half feel they 'somewhat' have the skills to critically evaluate evidence and apply it to their practice as a pharmacist. Around 10% of voters weren't sure where there skills were at in this regard, and 5% flat-out acknowledged that they don't have these skills.

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Board publishes final proprietor guidelines : 10/12/2010 :

Following a period of consultation since the release of draft guidelines in September, the Pharmacy Board of Australia yesterday released a final version of its Guidelines on responsibilities of pharmacists when practising as proprietors.

The Board's summary reads: "A registered pharmacist who is a proprietor of, or who has a pecuniary interest in a pharmacy business must maintain, and be able to demonstrate an awareness of, the manner in which that pharmacy business is being conducted and, where necessary, intervene to ensure that the practice of pharmacy is conducted in accordance with applicable laws, standards and guidelines."

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Pharmacy Board drafting prescribing 'framework' : 10/12/2010 :

The Pharmacy Board of Australia yesterday released a communique detailing the ground covered at its November meeting. A number of issues were canvassed including the responsibilities of pharmacists when supplying schedule 2 and 3 medicines, access to pharmacy data by third parties and the responsiblities of pharmacists who are pharmacy owners.

Of particular interest is a move by the Board to work up a framework to guide professional groups and members of the profession who wish to develop proposals to seek endorsement for pharmacists to prescribe restricted medicines.

The Board says it will consult widely on any proposed registration standard before seeking the approval of Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council, who needs to sign off on prescribing endorsement.

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New intranasal inhaler technique video launched : 10/12/2010 :

The National Asthma Council Australia has extended its online series of instructional ‘how to’ videos with the release of a 'Using Your Nasal Inhaler' video.

The new video gives health professionals and allergic rhinitis patients simple instructions on how best to administer intranasal corticosteroid sprays – and reduce the chance of causing nosebleeds.

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Reports published on aged care services in Australia : 09/12/2010 :

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has released two reports into the use of aged care facilities and in-home services in Australia during 2008-09.

The report - Residential aged care in Australia 2008–09: A statistical overview - shows that, not unexpectedly, overall provision of residential aged care increased from 2008 to 2009. It captures the expenditure, demographics, patterns of use, care levels, aged care funding and financial support arrangements.

The second report - Aged care packages in the community 2008–09: A statistical overview - analyses the services provided for aged care at home, such as Community Aged Care Packages, Extended Aged Care at Home, and Extended Aged Care at Home Dementia. Just over 47 000 Australians were using one of these packages in mid-2009.

These reports provide useful background statistics for pharmacists providing home medication reviews or specialising in geriatric pharmacy services.

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National Press Club Health Forum - Healthy Ageing at what cost? : 09/12/2010 :

Dr Brendan Shaw, chief executive of the prescription medicines lobby group Medicines Australia has put out a general call for an attitude adjustment to government health expenditure. Dr Shaw was addressing the topic of "Healthy Ageing at what cost?" - the first of the National Press Club's Health Forums. Other expert panel members addressing the Press Club during this health forum were Bernard Salt (KPMG), Deborah Schofield (Prof and Chair of Health Economics, University of Sydney) and Dr Andrew Pesce (AMA president).

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Quarterly Medicare Bulletin Board - summer edition out now : 09/12/2010 :

The Summer 2010 edition of Medicare Australia's Bulletin Board has been published on the Medicare Australia website.

Some of the many articles of interest to pharmacists include an update on Closing the Gap co-payment measures, and revised arrangments for RMMRs and HMRs.

You can download the Summer 2010 Bulletin Board here or click the links below to access the individual items.

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API first wholesaler to announce pharmacy cuts : 09/12/2010 :

Following Pfizer's decision to withdraw its prescription products from pharmacy wholesalers from February 1 2011, API yesterday became the first wholesaler to confirm that it would be 'reducing its customer trading terms' from that date.

In a fax out to pharmacies yesterday API said that there were also likely to be other changes to their distribution and operations.

AusPharm's mail is that there may well be two or three other companies also looking to 'do a Pfizer' and remove their products from the wholesalers. One wonders what effect that would have on the wholesalers and on pharmacy.

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New research into prescribing practice and clinical decision support systems : 08/12/2010 :

Three new studies by Australian researchers have identified ways to improve the access and uptake of evidence-based drug information via computerised decision support systems.

The researchers, from Newcastle University, University of NSW and NPS, looked at existing studies examining system impact and barriers to use published between 1990-2007 and first-hand experience of GPs at stages in their careers. 

They focused specifically on the impact of computerised decision support tools within specific areas of the prescribing process – initiating, monitoring and stopping medicines.

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Grant available for outstanding contribution to pain management : 08/12/2010 :

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, in association with Mundipharma, has announced it will be awarding an educational grant to a pharmacist who has made an outstanding contribution to the quality use of medicines through direct clinical care of consumers with persistent pain.

The award culminates a year in which there has been a significant focus on the pharmacists’ role in pain management with the National Pain Summit initiative, the development of a National Pain Strategy and PSA’s professional development and practice support programs.

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Poll: evidence based practice and you : 08/12/2010 :

In a post to AusPharmList last week Debbie Rigby wrote:

"Our skill as a pharmacist is to understand the evidence, interpret the evidence in the context of the individual patient, recognise the limitations of studies and levels of evidence, and THEN use our knowledge and experience to use the evidence wisely in a patient who may have different characteristics to the study population and multiple morbidities. This is evidence-based practice."

Do you believe you have the skills to do this? Please let us know by ticking the relevant box in this week's AusPharm poll.

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No reduction in GP prescriptions of antibiotics for colds since 2004 : 08/12/2010 :

While there was a sudden fall in GP prescribing of antibiotics for colds between 1998–99 and 2003-04, there has been no change since then, according to two reports released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and the University of Sydney.

In other findings from the two reports, chronic problems accounted for more than one-third of all problems managed by GPs in 2009–10, and in almost 40% of encounters with general practitioners, two or more problems were managed.

Medications were the most common treatment choice (69 per 100 problems managed). Most medications were prescribed (54 per 100), rather than supplied directly by the GP (9 per 100) or suggested for over-the-counter purchase (6 per 100).

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Union campaign on work rights, in face of abuses by pharmacy employers : 07/12/2010 :

Following an abnormally high number of work place issues raised with APESMA by pharmacy members since January 2010, the Pharmacists Division of APESMA (PDA) is launching a 'Protect your rights at work' campaign. As part of this campaign, PDA members will be contacted by the union to survey the level of non-compliance with workplace requirements and abuse of employee rights.

With the introduction of the new Pharmacy Industry Award in January 2010, the union (APEMSA) has been contacted by over 150 pharmacy members with workplace issues including underpayment of award salary and entitlements, unfair dismissals and cases of bullying and discrimination arising from members asking about their entitlements under the new Award.


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Updated national competency standards for pharmacists released : 07/12/2010 :

Coordinated by the PSA, the National Competency Standards Framework for Pharmacists in Australia has undergone a thorough review thanks to the collaborative efforts of a broad cross-section of the profession. Features of the updated framework document include:

  • consolidation of 8 Domains (previously Functional Areas) and 33 Standards to represent the total competency framework for the profession;
  • strengthening the Standards, in particular those relating to: leadership and management; extemporaneous preparation; researchers and educators; collaboration; primary and preventive health care;
  • clear articulation of performance criteria expected at initial registration;
  • highlighting the importance and relevance of the competency standards to all stages of a pharmacist's professional life; and
  • introducing the concept of advanced practice to the profession.

With the Pharmacy Board's CPD requirements in mind, the document also outlines how pharmacists can develop their professional practice profile and the competencies required for specific roles, positions or services. The updated publication is available at Copies will be distributed to all pharmacist registrants by the Pharmacy Board of Australia.

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ACT Guild President to head Women and Young Pharmacists Committee : 07/12/2010 :

The ACT Branch President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Amanda Galbraith, has been appointed chair of the Guild’s Women and Young Pharmacists Committee.

The Guild’s National Council made the appointment, acknowledging Ms Galbraith’s significant contribution as a Guild National Councillor since 2009. 

Ms Galbraith takes the position following the tragic death in July of Judy Liauw, the Tasmanian Branch President who worked so tirelessly to encourage pharmacists to enter community pharmacy and to promote the best interests of women pharmacists, particularly in regional and rural areas.

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Wholesalers assess impact of Pfizer prescription distribution decision : 07/12/2010 :

Sigma, API and Symbion Pharmacy Services are assessing the ramifications of the body blow dealt them by Pfizer's decision to distribute prescription products direct to community pharmacies from 31 January 2011.

Coming on top of the revenue impact anticipated by the recently agreed PBS cost reductions over 2010-2015, the Pfizer move will have a major impact on wholesaler operations.

API has issued a statement that they expect annual revenues to be negatively affected by the Pfizer decision in the order of 10-15%. While still determining the implications of these decisions, they "will put in place measures to address the impact of these changes by reducing customer trading terms, and reviewing its cost base."

Symbion Pharmacy Services is conducting an immediate review of pricing structures.

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Pfizer to deal direct : 06/12/2010 :

Pfizer Australia announced on Friday that, commencing January 31, 2011, its products will no longer be available through pharmacy wholesalers. From that date, community pharmacies will only be able to purchase Pfizer prescription medicines directly from Pfizer.

Pfizer will support the move by establishing a dedicated pharmacy field force and expanding its customer service team.

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Pharmacy Board releases statement on intern registration delays : 06/12/2010 :

The Pharmacy Board of Australia released a statement late on Friday saying it has agreed with its parent body AHPRA on initiatives 'to support the efficient registration of pharmacy interns'.

“The Board and AHPRA recognise this is an anxious time for pharmacy interns as they work to secure a role in a competitive employment market,” Pharmacy Board of Australia Chair, Mr Stephen Marty said. “We have identified a range of initiatives that AHPRA can put in place to make the registration process as efficient as possible,” he added.

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Calcium / Vitamin D supplementation: yes or no? : 06/12/2010 :

Whether or not calcium and/or Vitamin D is appropriate for particular patient groups is once again at the forefront of health practitioner debate following the publication last week of a new review article.

The review was sponsored by the US and Canadian governments and conducted by the US Institure of Medicine and confirms the roles of calcium and vitamin D in promoting skeletal growth and maintenance and the amounts needed to avoid poor bone health.

However, the group that wrote the report also reviewed hundreds of studies and reports on other possible health effects of vitamin D for which the evidence is not as strong.

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RGH E-Bulletin: Opioid-induced hyperalgesia : 06/12/2010 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Opioid-induced hyperalgesia

"Diminished opioid analgesic efficacy during the course of continuing or extended opioid therapy has long been considered a sign of pharmacological opioid tolerance or alternatively attributed to the worsening of an existing pain state. However, recent clinical evidence suggests that opioids may induce or contribute to a paradoxical pain sensitivity; opioid-induced hyperalgesia (OIH)."

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

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