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AusPharm news

Italian auction : 15/11/2010 :

Here's a neat little video with an important health message, particularly for older 'listers.

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RGH E-Bulletin: Hypogonadism and osteoporosis with long-term opioids : 15/11/2010 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Hypogonadism and osteoporosis with long-term opioids

"Opioid induced hypogonadism has been reported to occur in patients receiving long term opioid therapy. The reported prevalence of opioid induced hypogonadism ranges from 21-86%. The risk may be higher in men; in those receiving a larger dose of opioids (dose related); and can occur whether the opioids are administered orally, transdermal, intravenously or intrathecally. The signs and symptoms of hypogonadism include flushing, sweating, decreased libido, depression and anxiety, low energy levels, loss of muscle mass and strength, infertility, and osteoporosis and fractures in both men and women; decreased erectile dysfunction in men; and abnormal menses in women."

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

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Dr Ian Coombes wins 2010 SHPA Medal of Merit : 15/11/2010 :

SHPA’s GlaxoSmithKline Medal of Merit for 2010 has been awarded to Dr Ian Coombes in recognition of his innovative work in medication safety at state, national and international levels. The Medal of Merit was presented during the opening ceremony of SHPA’s Medicines Management 2010 national conference in Melbourne last Friday.

The GlaxoSmithKline Medal of Merit has been awarded since 1962 in recognition of an outstanding recent contribution to the practice of hospital pharmacy or the professional development of pharmacy in the previous three years.

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Cardiology pharmacist receives Australian Clinical Pharmacy Award : 15/11/2010 :

Pharmacist Senior Clinician (Cardiac Services) at Barwon Health in Geelong, Victoria, Garth Birdsey, has been awarded the 2010 Australian Clinical Pharmacy Award.

The Australian Clinical Pharmacy Award has been awarded since 1997 to a member of SHPA in recognition of outstanding contributions in the area of clinical pharmacy practice.

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Marked differences in current practice in recording sales of codeine products : 12/11/2010 :

This week's AusPharm poll results indicate that current practice in recording sales of compound analgesics containing codeine in the dispensing system differs markedly, depending upon the pharmacy.

Looking at the 95% of respondents who are involved in these types of sales, just under half record all S3 codeine sales - most of these because they have to, with just 20%  of this sub-group recording sales voluntarily because they think it's a good idea. 24% only record sales where a problem is suspected, and 29% do not record S3 codeine sales.

Thanks to everyone who voted this week; it was a great turn out, which suggests to us that this issue remains on pharmacists' minds!

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Better data to flow from PBS reform : 12/11/2010 :

Following the Community Affairs Legislation Committee inquiry this week into the National Health Amendment (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) Bill 2010, NPS says it is is hopeful the legislation will allow for better data collection relating to prescription medicines use.

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Pharmacists ahead of the game with web browsers? : 12/11/2010 :

The first of this week's AusPharm polls asked 'listers to tell us which web browser(s) they use when reading the AusPharm publications. Just for fun, we matched the result with the stats for the population as a whole.

In the general population, while still the market leader by a country mile, Internet Explorer is losing market share to Firefox, Safari and Chrome (yes, we should have put Chrome in there by itself).

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Lower back pain campaign to reduce unnecessary imaging : 11/11/2010 :

The NPS has launched a campaign to improve, through simplification, the management of acute lower back pain.

The use of imaging or similar diagnostic tests for non-specific acute lower back pain with no other features of a serious underlying condition, is generally not considered necessary. However such imaging has increased significantly in Australia over the last decade, and aside from the wasted resources,  is not without risk given the level of radiation exposure often involved.

The NPS campaign will raise consumer awareness of what to expect in the management of acute lower back pain, and also provide health professionals, including pharmacists, with education material to support best practice.

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2011 Pharmacy of the Year applications closing soon : 11/11/2010 :

With just 3 weeks to go until the deadline for submitting entries for the 2011 Pharmacy of the Year, the Guild is emphasising that the application process is relatively simple... so think about delegating the task to another staff member, to ensure your pharmacy doesn't miss out.

The pharmacy of the year awards recognise excellence in Quality Care Pharmacies across three different categories:

  1. excellence in business management
  2. excellence in community engagement
  3. innovation in professional services

Enter by downloading and printing the entry form or completing an online form at www.guild.org.au/pharmacyoftheyear. Submissions close 5pm, Friday 3 December 2010.

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Health reform - expect to see implementation : 10/11/2010 :

The Labor government's first term of office focused on developing and gaining agreement on the way forward for health reform, whereas in this term the focus is on delivery and implementation, according to a Department of Health and Ageing bulletin. Areas where the government believe they are taking implementation steps that are actually visible are:

  • The role of Medicare Locals
  • Boundaries for Medicare Locals
  • Support for tele-health
  • Protection for aged care residents’ savings
  • Community Sponsorship Fund
  • Engaging consumers
  • Health reform implementation timeline has been made available online

The government sees this as an increase in the pace of health reform.

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Poll: do you record S3 codeine sales? : 10/11/2010 :

The wisdom of recording S3s for the benefit not just of the patient, but of the pharmacy profession as a whole, is the subject of ongoing discussion on AusPharmList. In light of recent scheduling changes, interest has focused on the codeine-containing products. This week's AusPharm poll aims to gauge the level of recording in practice of S3 codeine products.

Help identify the current practice in S3 codeine recording across pharmacy by voting in this week's anonymous poll.

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Consumer support for PBS cost-savings changes : 10/11/2010 :

Against the backdrop of a public tiff between supporters of generic vs branded medicines suppliers over PBS changes, the Consumers Health Forum (CHF) has made their view clear: "Consumers will welcome any measure that delivers cheaper medicines and makes our health system more sustainable."

Speaking just prior to the start of the Senate Inquiry into the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government and Medicines Australia, CHF CEO Carol Bennett said “Health consumers support this agreement because of the significant benefits in terms of access, reduced prices to medicines and cost savings to the PBS. Australians currently pay almost double the price of other comparable countries for generic medicines. The generic medicines’ industry in Australia has done very well out of the taxpayer over the years and if paying a reasonable price means that affects some operators, that is how the free market works."

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Recall APO-Perindopril 2mg - may contain 8mg tablets : 09/11/2010 :

The TGA advises that Apotex Pty Ltd has initiated an urgent consumer level recall of APO-Perindopril 2mg tablets, as some cartons may mistakenly contain 8mg tablets.

The affected batches are listed on the TGA website. The TGA is advising consumers who may have affected cartons to return them to their pharmacy. To date no adverse event reports have been received by the TGA in relation to this problem.

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2011 Pharmacy Cricket in Victoria : 09/11/2010 :

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.

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Bill to establish Australian National Preventive Health Agency : 09/11/2010 :

The government is keen to proceed with the establishment of the Australian National Preventive Health Agency (ANPHA) to guide the national preventative health agenda by providing leadership, research, evaluation and policy advisory capacity. A bill to establish the new agency was debated in federal parliament on 26 October 2010, with two opposition amendments agreed to.

The intention to establish such an agency, along with the formation of Medicare Locals, was first published in the government's response in May 2010 to the recommendations of the National Preventative Health Taskforce. In August 2007 the ALP, then in opposition, set out policy to make prevention of chronic disease a greater health priority.

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University of Sydney Pharmacy Alumni AGM : 09/11/2010 :

The University of Sydney's Pharmacy Alumni Association will hold its Annual General Meeting at 10am, Monday 13 December 2010.

The AGM will be held at the Faculty of Pharmacy, Pharmacy and Bank Building in Science Road at the University of Sydney. Pharmacy students automatically becoming members of the Pharmacy Alumni Association upon graduation; all pharmacy alumni are welcome to attend.

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Paracetamol, antidepressants, ibuprofen in the top 5 accidental ingestions : 08/11/2010 :

Paracetamol, antidepressants and ibuprofen were in the top 5 of the most common medications and poisons about which the NSW Poisons Information Centre (PIC) responded to calls in 2009.

48% of the 113,157 calls to the NSW PIC in 2009 related to accidental ingestion by children. This has prompted the NSW Department of Health to remind parents and carers to keep medications and poisons out of reach of children.

In issuing the safety reminder, Carmel Tebbutt, NSW Minister for Health reported “Of calls to the Information Centre relating to children, 11% resulted in hospitalisation – up from 10.1% in 2008 – while 21% needed medical treatment. Most accidental poisonings involved children 3 years and under, with 2 year olds at most risk.”

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RGH E-Bulletin: Drug-induced Lupus Erythematosis : 08/11/2010 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Phosphodiesterase 4 inhibitors in COPD

"Lupus erythematosus (LE) is an autoimmune disorder characteristically involving skin, joints, heart, kidneys, lungs and brain, affecting up to 5 million people worldwide. Drug-induced lupus erythematosus (DILE) is a specific variant of this disorder where lupus-like markers and symptoms are precipitated by a certain medication, and it must be differentiated from other forms of lupus (most notably drug-induced flares of chronic systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)). It is thought that up to 10% of all LE cases are drug-induced. Signs and symptoms common to both DILE and SLE include arthralgia, myalgia, rash, fever, lymphadenopathy and the presence of antinuclear antibodies (ANA)."

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

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PSA pedometers notch up 10,000km : 08/11/2010 :

The PSA staff walkathon notched up 10,000km between July and last week's PAC10 conference.

Although this fell a little short of circumnavigating Australia, the exercise boosted awareness of how easy it is as an office-based worker to fall short of the DoH recommended 10,000 steps (8km) per day minimum. PSA's social club organisers plan to run the event again in the lead up to PAC11.

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Pharmacist of the year calls on colleagues to speak up on health reform : 08/11/2010 :

PSA Pharmacist of the year Karalyn Huxhagen has called on pharmacists to make sure their voices are heard in the health reform debate and, in particular, in the development of the Medicare Locals model.

Ms Huxhagen said that if individual pharmacists really care about how Medicare Locals (aka Primary Health Care organisations) will be developed and the influence they will have in their area of health delivery, it is incumbent upon them to sit down and put pen to paper now.

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