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2010 Lifetime Achievement Award winner further honoured... : 03/12/2010 :

The Federation of Asian Pharmaceutical Associations has awarded Managing Director of Webstercare, Gerard Stevens the international FAPA Ishidate Award for Community Pharmacy for 2010.

In offering congratulations, Prof Iqbal Ramzan, (Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Sydney) said  “Mr Stevens is not only a very successful community pharmacist but has taken this role to new heights through his company Webstercare, which aims to enhance the quality use of medicines for all Australians. His bold move into Drug Administration Aids with Webstercare has had a tremendous impact for many Australians but particularly those in older age groups and those in aged care facilities who previously struggled with the management of their medicine regimes."

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National report on drug treatment services : 03/12/2010 :

Results of a national review of publicly funded alcohol and other drug treatment services and their clients in 2008–09 have been published today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

The report, entitled Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia 2008–09: Report on the National Minimum Data Set, shows that of all the types of drugs that treatment was provided for, alcohol continued to be the most prevalent, with counselling the most common form of treatment.

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Poll - pharmacies selling 'junk' : 03/12/2010 :

This week's AusPharm poll showed an unequivocal majority vote for the view that the peripheral "stuff" being sold in pharmacies does besmirch the health professional reputation of pharmacists.

Almost 90% of voting pharmacists felt that the fact that many pharmacies sell lots of "junk" is an impediment to pharmacists being seen as health professionals to some degree.

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Professor Andrew McLachlan on TGA review panel : 03/12/2010 :

As we reported earlier this week, the terms of reference for the review of the way in which the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) communicates its regulatory processes and decisions have been published.

The members of the review panel have now been named (here). The review panel will be chaired by Professor Dennis Pearce AO. Professor Pearce is a former Commonwealth Ombudsman, former Chair of the Australian Press Council and is Special Counsel, DLA Phillips Fox lawyers. He has conducted numerous reviews for both the Australian and ACT governments.

There are 5 members representing consumer groups and a number representing various industry sectors and health practitioner organisations. Pharmacist and Chair of The National Medicines Policy (NMP) Committee, Professor Andrew McLachlan (pictured at right), is one of the review panel members.

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AusPharm CE: RGH E-Bulletin Digest No. 31 : 02/12/2010 :

The next in our 2010 series of continuing education activities is the RGH E-Bulletin Digest No. 31.

This CE activity assesses your understanding of four recent RGH Pharmacy E-Bulletins (Volumes 40-3 - 40-6  -->  October / November 2010).

After completing this activity, pharmacists should be able to:

  • Understand the clinical pharmacology of PDE4 inhibitors
  • Discuss factors contributing to the development of drug-induced lupus erythematosis
  • Describe the basis for hyperprolactinaemia secondary to antipsychotics
  • Understand the basis for hypogonadism related to long-term opioid treatment

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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MIMS Monthly Medicine Update : 02/12/2010 :

The MIMS December 2010 Monthly Medicine Update is now available. Click the link to read it now.

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Combination codeine analgesics continue to be under pressure : 02/12/2010 :

Despite the recent rescheduling that had the effect of markedly increased professional supervision and intervention opportunities when combination codeine analgesics are supplied, these products continue to make media headlines.

Most recently, a call for labelling such products with warnings such as "can cause addiction" was made by Claire Tobin (PhD student, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University). Ms Tobin was presenting a paper at this week's conference of the Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs.

The media reported the identical story from AAP which can be found in The Australian, Sydney Morning Herald, SBS World News, and others.

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New issue Australian Prescriber - non-medico prescribing rights and more : 02/12/2010 :

The December 2010 issue of the Australian Prescriber is now available online. Topics featured in this issue include:

  • Lisa Nissen and Greg Kyle on granting prescribing rights to non-medical professionals
  • Terri Foran on effectively managing menopausal symptoms
  • Geraldine Moses and Treasure McGuire on interactions between allopathic and complementary medicines
  • Compression therapy for venous disease - when and when not to use it, and to what degree.
  • Debbie Rigby on the need for increasing collaboration between pharmacists and prescribers, and how to achieve this
  • Medication Safety Update: lamotrigine and serious skin reactions - serotonin syndrome - drug-induced acute akathisia - interactions between etonogestrel implant (Implanon) and carbamazepine.

To view these articles and others go to

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New President of PSA Queensland branch : 02/12/2010 :

The Queensland Branch Committee of the PSA has elected Bruce Elliot as the new State President effective 1st December 2010.  Bruce takes over from Dr Lisa Nissen who begins a sabbatical overseas in mid-December.  
Bruce is the Managing Partner of four community pharmacies within the ChemCoast Pharmacy Group in Yeppoon in Central Queensland.    He is also an accredited consultant pharmacist who has a major clinical interest in aged care, and finds this a rewarding part of his role.

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Poll: pharmacies selling 'junk' : 01/12/2010 :

Back in the 1960s the then Commonwealth Department of Health Secretary Arthur Shields is reputed to have said that "as long as pharmacies continue to sell paperbacks and pantyhose we (DoH) can not treat them as professionals." The Guild response to that was said to have been that "until we are appropriately compensated by the NHS we would have to continue to sell these things".

Is the fact that many pharmacies still sell all sorts of 'junk' stopping the DoH, other health professionals and the general public from seeing pharmacists as health professionals? Please let us know what you think by voting in this week's AusPharm poll.

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Secondary MI prevention indication for S4 omega-3 product : 01/12/2010 :

Abbott Australasia Pty Ltd now has TGA approval for Omacor capsules (Omega 3-acid Ethyl Esters 90) to be prescribed as adjuvant treatment for the secondary prevention of myocardial infarction, in addition to other standard therapy (such as statins, anti-platelet products, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors). Omacor is an S4 prescription-only product, not available on the PBS.

This new Omacor indication is in addition to the existing approved indication of specific hypertriglyceridaemias

Abbott points out that Omacor is different to OTC Omega-3 preparations, with higher concentrations of beneficial ingredients (84% EPA/DHA) and ethyl esters rather than marine triglycerides.

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TGA communication of processes and decisions to undergo review : 01/12/2010 :

A review is to proceed of the way that the Therapeutic Goods Administration communicates its regulatory and decision making processes, with a view to improving TGA transparency.

The review was announced by Parliamentary Secretary for Health Catherine King, in mid-November, and has now been further broadcast through the TGA website. This action reflects a determination of the Gillard government to ensure the public is better informed about the risks and benefits of therapeutic goods.

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Lies, Damned Lies and Medical Research : 30/11/2010 :

One of the most downloaded papers in the history of the online journal PLoS Medicine is Why Most Published Research Findings Are False. Written in 2005 by Dr John Ioannidis, meta-researcher and one of the world’s foremost experts on the credibility of medical research, it shows why the conclusions of medical researchers in any published research studies can not necessarily be trusted.

This month, The Atlantic magazine runs an article - Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Research - on Dr Ioannidis and his examination of the medical research publication process. "At every step in the process, there is room to distort results, a way to make a stronger claim or to select what is going to be concluded,” says Ioannidis. “There is an intellectual conflict of interest that pressures researchers to find whatever it is that is most likely to get them funded.”

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PAC11 to have early career pharmacist stream : 30/11/2010 :

The PAC 2010 conference in Melbourne was the venue for a meeting of the Early Career Pharmacist Working Group (ECPWG).

Chair of the ECPWG, Justin Lee, said the working group examined progress on the group’s workforce project with each state and territory’s working group now able to identify pharmacists working in diverse roles and also to identify potential pharmacist employers.

“The aim of this identifications study is to help the ECPWG promote how early career pharmacists can fully utilise their skills or obtain the necessary training to be able to also pursue diverse roles in their profession,” Mr Lee said.

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Victorian quiet achievers honoured : 30/11/2010 :

Wonthaggi pharmacist Roger Kilpatrick was awarded the inaugural Victorian Pharmacist Medal last night at the annual Victorian Pharmacists Dinner.

The Medal recognises the excellent contribution of pharmacists at the grassroots level in improving health outcomes and the wellbeing of the public.

Mr Kilpatrick was awarded the Medal in recognition of this long-standing commitment to community and hospital pharmacy services, leadership in pharmaceutical care, dedication in CPD support and mentoring peers in rural Victoria.

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Calling Tassie cricketers : 29/11/2010 :

As we reported earlier this month, the 2011 National Pharmacy Cricket Carnival will be played in Shepparton Victoria from Wednesday 26 to Saturday 29 January 2011. Games will be played at the grounds of the Mooroopna Cricket Club.

Right now, Tasmania is still chasing one or two more players to make up its full complement. If you're interested contact Steven Morgan.

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No surprises in October PBS numbers : 29/11/2010 :

PBS figures for October 2010 have been released by Medicare Australia.

Script numbers were up 5.1% compared to October 2009 with absolute dollars also up by 7.4%.

Year to date figures show a small increase in script numbers of 0.9% and growth in dollar terms of 6.3%.

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Queensland awards for excellence : 29/11/2010 :

The Queensland Branch of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s annual dinner last week saw a number of awards presented to recognise excellence in the profession of pharmacy.
This year, the Graduate of the Year Award was renamed the Professor James Dare Graduate of the Year in commemoration of one of the founding fathers of the profession in Queensland and to recognise his contribution to the development of the first school of pharmacy in Queensland in this the centennial year of the UQ School of Pharmacy.
The inaugural recipient of the Professor James Dare Graduate of the Year was Joe Montieth from the University of Queensland.

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New model dispensary opened at UTAS School of Pharmacy : 29/11/2010 :

The University of Tasmania has opened a new model dispensary in its school of pharmacy. The model set up provides a counselling and dispensing environment for UTAS pharmacy students to develop real practice skills within a simulated educational environment, with the objective of coaching them to being practice-ready upon graduation.

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RGH E-Bulletin: Oxycodone/naloxone combination product : 28/11/2010 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Oxycodone/naloxone combination product

"Targin® is a combination product newly registered in Australia, comprising of oxycodone and naloxone in a 2:1 fixed ratio, prolonged release tablet. It is marketed for the management of moderate to severe chronic pain unresponsive to non-narcotic analgesics, with the naloxone component indicated for the therapy and/or prophylaxis of opioid-induced constipation. The product is currently available in four tablet strengths; 5/2.5 mg, 10/5 mg, 20/10 mg and 40/20 mg but is presently not subsidised under the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)."

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

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