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AusPharm news

Neighbouring pharmacies: colleagues or opposition? : 26/11/2010 :

The suggestion has been made that lack of enthusiasm for systems like eRx may be in part because it saves time for competitors in dispensing 'your' repeats. This appears to be somewhat underpinned by the way that a good proportion of pharmacists view their neighbouring pharmacies as 'the opposition'.

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WA joins Qld in mandating Project STOP : 26/11/2010 :

Western Australia has joined Queensland in requiring the use of electronic real time recording of the supply of pseudoephedrine products from pharmacies.

The Pharmacy Guild believes it is now time for the other States and Territories to follow suit and has renewed calls for the use of Project STOP to be mandated nationally.

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New office bearers at ASMI : 26/11/2010 :

The Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI) yesterday announced the election of new office bearers to guide the future direction of the organisation.

The new ASMI President is Lindsay Forrest, Regional Director, Reckitt Benckiser Australia & New Zealand.

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Senate Committee recommends Cabinet threshold for PBS approvals be increased : 26/11/2010 :

The Senate Community Affairs Committee has recommended that the threshold for Federal Cabinet approval for listing new medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme be increased.

In its report released on Wednesday, the Committee recommended that the threshold should be immediately increased from its current $10 million to a level reflecting its original 2001 value and that the threshold should be indexed annually to maintain its real value.

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December 2010 PBS schedule : 26/11/2010 :

The December 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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Health reforms supported : 25/11/2010 :

To find out how Australians view their health care system, the Menzies Centre for Health Policy in partnership with The Nous Group conducted a telephone survey of a representative sample of 1201 Australians in July 2010.

The Menzies-Nous Australian Health Survey 2010 provides insight into the views held by Australians about their own health, the Australian health system and affordability of health and aged care services.

One of the key findings of the survey was that over three quarters of Australians support the government health reform agenda.

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Applications Now Open For Second Wave of e-Health Projects : 25/11/2010 :

$55 million has been made available for the next round of innovative e-health projects across Australia.

Applications will be accepted from a variety of patient settings including from Divisions of General Practice, professional organisations, non government organisations, the private sector and others involved in the care of Australian patients.

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Pharmacist of the Year further honoured : 25/11/2010 :

2010 Pharmacist of the Year, Queenslander Karalyn Huxhagen, has been elevated to the status of fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia.

The honour was bestowed on Ms Huxhagen at the PSA Queensland Branch annual dinner in Brisbane on Tuesday night by the Queensland Deputy Premier and Minister for Health, the Hon Paul Lucas MP.

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Poll: How do you view the other pharmacies in your area? : 24/11/2010 :

In the AusPharmList posts this week it was observed that maybe the lack of enthusiasm for eRx is partly because it saves time for other pharmacies in dispensing your repeats... why help the competition?

Relations between neighbouring pharmacies can be friend, foe or indifferent. A collaborative give-and-take relationship can provide any number of quick and easy rescues to shortages, call-outs or other practical issues that would otherwise be time-consuming and costly to head off.

Vote in this week's AusPharm poll to show how you view the pharmacies in your area.

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Consumer health professionals discuss better use of resources for minor ailments : 24/11/2010 :

This week a group of consumer healthcare professionals met in Sydney to identify how health resources in Australia may be more effectively used to manage minor ailments. Although no outcomes have been published from the meeting, which was organised by the self-medication industry organisation ASMI, it was considered to be a positive step in the process.

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Sigma cuts earnings guidance & formalises sale agreement with Aspen : 24/11/2010 :

As part of the transitional arrangements for sale of Sigma pharmaceuticals division to Aspen Pharmacare, a number of product promotions scheduled for January 2011 have been dropped, resulting in an amended earnings forecast (EBITA) from $140 - $150 million, to $120 - $130 million. As part of this trading update, Sigma have also advised of additional corporate expenses ($5 -$7 million), not included in previous guidance.

The sale of Sigma's pharmaceutical division to Aspen was agreed in principle in August 2010. This has now been formalised. Subject to satisfactory shareholder, lender and regulator approval, the sale is expected to be completed on 31 January 2011.

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Consumers and industry welcome Senate passage of PBS Bill : 24/11/2010 :

The successful passage through the Senate of the National Health Amendment (PBS) Bill has been lauded by consumer and industry groups. The Bill implements a deal negotiated in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Commonwealth government and Medicines Australia.

The Consumers Health Forum support the agreement "because of the significant benefits in terms of quicker access to new medicines and reduced prices with cost savings of $1.9 billion to the PBS over the next five years. Acknowledging that "the process of reaching this agreement may not have been perfect," CHF executive director Carol Bennett, believes "it is a good outcome for the people who use and pay for the Australian health system.”

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PSA submission on governance and function of Medicare Locals : 23/11/2010 :

In its 11-page submission to the Department of Health and Ageing on the governance and function of Medicare Locals, the PSA has offered to work with individual Medicare Locals to form partnerships with pharmacists in their community - whether they are community, consultant, public or private hospital pharmacists.

The PSA believes that “it will be critical to both the viability and credibility of Medicare Locals that the development of genuine partnerships leads the establishment of the organisation and informs its operations." The PSA's submission emphasised the need for a more consistent integration of pharmacists within healthcare teams, citing this as one of the obstacles to effective application of pharmacists' skills in substantially reducing medication misadventure.

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Want a quick link to PI and CMI on your iPhone? : 22/11/2010 :

Pharmacists, as well as members of the public, can now set up a shortcut on their iPhones (and, as last week's poll showed, lots of pharmacists have iPhones) to have quick, easy access to the wealth of information available at www.medicines.org.au.

www.medicines.org.au has been developed by Healthlinks.net.au to address a need for a centralised source of approved Australian medicine information for consumers and health professionals that is up to date, free of charge and contains no advertising. 

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Pharmacists split down the middle on white coats : 22/11/2010 :

In view of a comment in an AusPharmList post last week which suggested that white coats have no place in a 2010 pharmacy, last Friday's AusPharm poll asked 'listers what they thought.

Putting aside the 'might suit some practice settings' responses (29%), which seems fair enough to us, those responding to our poll were split down the middle on whether or not it was a good thing to wear a white coat. Of those expressing a view either way, 51% thought that white coats were appropriate because they were 'very professional.

Of the 49% who said that white coats were no longer the go, most simply said 'they belong in the ark' but a significant minority of the 'listers (12%) put the view that white coats put up a barrier between pharmacists and their patients.

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Dextropropoxyphene (finally) on the way out? : 22/11/2010 :

The manufacturer of branded propoxyphene products in the US has agreed to withdraw them from the US market. It is expected that generic manufacturers will follow suit.

The FDA sought market withdrawal of propoxyphene after receiving new clinical data showing that the drug puts patients at risk of potentially serious or even fatal heart rhythm abnormalities. As a result of these data, combined with other information, including new epidemiological data, the agency concluded that the risks of the medication outweigh the benefits.

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AHPRA board, panel & assessor positions in Tasmania : 22/11/2010 :

AHPRA, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, is currently advertising for expressions of interest from health professionals and community members in Tasmania for the following positions:

  •     members of Tasmanian Boards
  •     members of Tasmanian Committees of the National Boards
  •     members of Performance and Professional Standards Panels
  •     members of Health Panels
  •     members of Health Practitioner Tribunals
  •     Health and Performance Assessors

More information can be downloaded here.

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RGH E-Bulletin: Hyperprolactinaemia with antipsychotics : 22/11/2010 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Hyperprolactinaemia with antipsychotics

"Hyperprolactinaemia is a common adverse effect of antipsychotic medications. Symptoms of hyperprolactinaemia include gynaecomastia, galactorrhoea, sexual dysfunction, infertility and amenorrhoea. There can also be long term consequences, such as reduced bone mineral density and osteoporosis. The prevalence of this adverse effect is underestimated, likely due to the lack of visible manifestations and patients’ reluctance to report what can be embarrassing symptoms."

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

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Qld Government Launches Diabetes Pharmacy Action Plan : 22/11/2010 :

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh yesterday announced a community pharmacy diabetes action plan that strengthens pharmacy's position in preventive health initiatives in Queensland.

From March 2011 diabetes risk assessments will be available at Queensland pharmacies with the program expanding on the “Know Your Numbers” campaign developed with the Stroke Foundation. The Guild hopes all pharmacies will assist patients to complete the AusDrisk tool to assess their risk of diabetes, with referral to a GP for those identified at risk.

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Pfizer: we're doing OK : 21/11/2010 :

In a faxout to pharmacies late last week Pfizer said that, in the first 2 weeks of its direct to pharmacy supply model, it had filled the majority of the 17,000 orders placed with the company 'accurately and on time'.

However, the company noted that, during this time, some 'technical and resourcing' issues has been identified and action had been taken to address these. The company says it is fully committed to delivering its medicines accurately and on time to pharmacies.

We'll give Pfizer a few more weeks to sort out their problems and then we'll re-run our poll to see how 'listers think they're going.

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