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AusPharm news

Prescription opioid abuse felt strongly in Tasmania : 05/10/2010 :

Hobart's weekend Mercury ran a story highlighting the extent of the "oxycodone problem" in Tasmania. The problem appears to be more acute in Tasmania than some of the other States.

According to Statewide Clinical Director of Alcohol and Drug Services for Tasmania's DHHS, Adrian Reynolds, "The number of requests for an authority to prescribe [these] drugs in Tasmania has increased from 2500 in 2004 this year it's going to go over the 7000 mark. So we've nearly tripled the number of applications from GPs to seek authority under the Poisons Act to prescribe these drugs."

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Pharmacy of the Year applications open : 05/10/2010 :

Do you think you have the Pharmacy of the Year? Applications are now open for this Guild award for a community pharmacy in 2011.

Awards will be made in three categories:

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

in addition to the overall Pharmacy of the Year accolade.

Craig Clark, owner of the current title holder South City Chemart Pharmacy in Bunbury said: “Being named the Pharmacy of the Year in 2010 was the culmination of a 5-year plan including self-analysis, evolution, perseverance and a desire to better serve our customers.  The whole process was actually a very successful business exercise.  Importantly, the driving force behind each innovation was to ensure better health care for our customers.”

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It's not what you say, it's how you say it : 04/10/2010 :

An intriguing essay on the use of key opinion leaders in pharmaceutical and medical device marketing has been written by Carl Elliott, a professor at the Center for Bioethics, University of Minnesota. Written to create advance interest in his soon-to-be-published book, "White Coat, Black Hat: Adventures on the Dark Side of Medicine", it makes fascinating reading for anyone interested in what goes into the marketing messages we receive every day.

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Summary of State variations from Part 4, Poisons Standard : 04/10/2010 :

The TGA has published the annual summary of State and Territory scheduling variations from Part 4 of the Poisons Standard. Part 4 of the Poisons Standard is a record of decisions regarding the classification of medicines and chemicals into Schedules.

Variations are listed for WA, NSW, QLD and TAS. There are no variations listed for VIC, SA, ACT or NT.

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Painful Situations Confront Pharmacists : 04/10/2010 :

At Medicines Management 2010, the 36th SHPA National Conference, the theme of Painful Situations will cover an array of topics, from analgesic abuse to a variety of clinical settings in which pain management is central.
 
Pain management and the misuse of pain management agents confront pharmacists in all practice settings. 
 
In the opening day plenary session Dr Michael McDonough, an expert in addiction medicine, will discuss analgesic abuse; Dr Malcolm Dobbin, an alcohol and drug expert, will cover the prescription drug epidemic, and Irvine Newton, Chair of the Harm Minimisation Committee of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia will look at the pharmacist’s perspective.

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Evidence based pharmacy at PAC10 : 04/10/2010 :

The importance of evidence-based practice in pharmacy will be examined as a part of a major plenary session at PAC10 entitled Practicing Professionally in a Commercial Environment.
 
Director of the Postgraduate Studies and Professional Development Unit at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Monash University, Kirstie Galbraith, will examine how evidence-based practice is about solving clinical problems.

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RGH E-Bulletin: Lithium-induced diabetes insipidus : 04/10/2010 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Lithium-induced diabetes insipidus

"Lithium remains the gold standard of pharmacological treatment of bipolar disorder. Adverse effects include weight gain, tremor, diarrhoea, polyuria and diabetes insipidus,  which can occur in up to 40% of those treated. Drug induced diabetes insipidus is always of the nephrogenic type, thought to be due in part to the lack of response to antidiuretic hormone by aquaporins (water transport channels) in the collecting ducts of the nephrons, which are in turn responsible for the urinary concentrating mechanism."

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

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Plunkett, Kardachi & Demarte elected to PSA leadership roles : 01/10/2010 :

At a board meeting in Adelaide yesterday, the PSA re-elected Warwick Plunkett for a 3rd year as national president, supported by vice presidents Grant Kardachi (South Australia) and Joe Demarte (Victoria). The president paid recognition to the contributions of outgoing vice president, Lisa Nissen (Queensland).

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Any travel plans now that pharmacist registration is nationalised? : 01/10/2010 :

Nationalisation of registration and the travel opportunities it offers appears not to have stimulated huge excitement amongst AusPharmListers in this week's poll.

Of those who voted, 63% are not inclined to work interstate due to the nationalisation of registration.

37% of voters are planning to work interstate over the next 12 to 24 months and almost half of these are approaching work across borders as a working holiday. One quarter of interstate workers don't see the travel as a bonus; it's just another job you have to travel to get to.

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Comments invited on scheduling changes - cough/cold & others : 01/10/2010 :

The Scheduling Secretariat has invited comment on proposed scheduling changes, including those to 19 common cough cold ingredients, for consideration by the Advisory Committee on Medicines Scheduling. Comments must be submitted by Friday 29 October 2010.

In brief the proposed changes include: 

Cough/cold products
Reschedule 19 substances (below), used in OTC cough & cold medicines to:

  • schedule 4 for use in children less than 2 years of age.
  • schedule 3 for use in children aged from 2 to 6 years of age.
  • schedule 2 for use in children and adults above 6 years of age.

Brompheniramine / Carbetapentane / Chlorpheniramine / Codeine / Dexchlorpheniramine / Dextromethorphan / Dihydrocodeine / Diphenhydramine / Doxylamine / Ipecacuanha / Oxymetazoline (excluding nasal spray use) / Pheniramine / Phenylephrine / Pholcodine / Promethazine / Pseudoephedrine / Senega /Triprolidine / Xylometazoline (excluding nasal spray use)

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Daylight saving starts on Sunday, 3rd October : 01/10/2010 :

Remember that daylight saving starts this Sunday 3rd October in TAS, VIC, ACT, NSW and SA. Clocks will go forward one hour at 2am. Daylight saving will end on the first Sunday in April 2011.

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Footsteps of the Cossacks : 30/09/2010 :

Footsteps of the Cossacks tour delegates have just returned to Australia after a successful trip to the Ukraine and Russia.

Organised by Pharmacy Small Group Tours, delegates completed a 21 day trip to Istanbul, a cruise on the Black Sea and up the Dnieper River in Ukraine, visiting the Crimean Peninsula towns of Odessa, Yalta and Sebastopol. The cruise concluded in Kiev after which the group flew to Moscow for 4 days before travelling to St Petersburg on the SAPSAN fast train. A Business Program was held for which delegates earned 6 CPD Group 1 Credit Points. (Click the photo below for a larger version).

In September 2011 Pharmacy Small Group Tours will be travelling to Vietnam and Cambodia and in January 2012 a return trip to Antarctica is planned. For further information contact Mike Lazarow.

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Year to date PBS growth running at 3% : 30/09/2010 :

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

Script numbers were down 4.5% compared to August 2009 with absolute dollars also slightly down (-0.3%).

Calendar year to date figures show a decline in script numbers of 0.75% and modest growth in dollar terms of 3.3%.

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PBA consultation on draft guideline for pharmacy proprietors : 30/09/2010 :

The Pharmacy Board of Australia has issued a draft guideline on responsibilities of pharmacists when practising as proprietors, and is seeking comments by COB Friday 29 October, 2010.

The purpose of the guideline is to give guidance to pharmacists in relation to matters of professional practice not set down in law or a registration standard, and which can be used in proceedings under the Act as evidence of what constitutes professional practice for the health profession.

The guideline is not extensive - just a 3-page document, one page of which cites relevant sections of national law enabling guidelines to be prepared.

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Pfizer Lipitor Cholesterol Coach Program to continue with MirixaPro : 30/09/2010 :

Pfizer and Mirixa Australia have signed an agreement to continue the Pfizer Lipitor Cholesterol Coach Program in community pharmacies. This means pharmacies can continue to help patients achieve better Lipitor compliance using the MirixaPro platform. 

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Sigma posts first-half loss on writedown : 30/09/2010 :

Sigma Pharmaceuticals yesterday reported a net loss, hit by a big writedown on its drug manufacturing arm and tough competition in generic drugs.

This story received saturation cover in the mainstream media - visit today's AusPharm 'In the news' for links to all of these .

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Poll: Has nationalisation of registration affected your plans to work interstate? : 29/09/2010 :

In theory, nationalisation of pharmacist registration should be a great enabler for pharmacists in Australia. Removing this barrier to working interstate means a pharmacist can more readily take "working holidays" in all corners of the country. There is nothing quite like the bona fides of working in a new environment to get below the surface, rather than just travelling through as 100% tourist looking at the scenery.

Grey nomads, pharmacists from oveseas, and young (and not so young), pharmacists without the sort of committments that tie them to one place, could find nationalisation a real boon. But theory and practice don't always align. Let us know whether this has changed your work plans by voting in this week's AusPharm poll.

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Future of Pharmacy forum at PAC10 : 29/09/2010 :

Health systems throughout the world are undergoing fundamental reforms as governments grapple with ageing populations, rapid changes in technology and spiralling health costs.

To prepare for, and help drive the change agenda, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia's Future of Pharmacy Project is convening a special Pharmacy in Health Forum as part of PAC10 to advance discussion on what is ahead for the pharmacy profession.

Participants in the open forum will hear a progress report on the Future of Pharmacy project which will canvass the issues around the development of a vision for the future of Australian pharmacists.  This process is being undertaken by a unique collaboration of all 11 peak pharmacy organisations.

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One down, 16 (or is it 17?) left : 29/09/2010 :

Staff and students at Murdoch University's, School of Pharmacy in Perth have been informed of the proposed closure of the school, by Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor, Prof Gary Martin.

The closure is one of the recommendations of a review by the Academic Enterprise Review Steering Committee, which found that it is not feasible for the university to continue to offer its current breadth of courses.

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Oxycodone - current pharmacist resources & real time reporting : 29/09/2010 :

In the wake of ABC Four Corners' provocative TV programme this week on abuse of prescription oxycodone products in Australia, pharmacy organisations have reminded pharmacists of the resources available to help identify and handle problematic prescribing and help manage patients prescribed analgesics for chronic pain.

The Pharmacy Guild is strongly advocating the adoption of real time reporting to track dispensing of problematic medicines like oxycodone, adapting Project Stop technology.

However real time reporting (RTR) has already been introduced in Tasmania where Federal Health Connect funding in July 2008 allowed the Tasmanian Pharmaceutical Services Branch (PSB) to put in place the technology to move from monthly to real time reporting of the dispensing of schedule 8 medicines and alprazolam.

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