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AusPharm news

Four new guidelines released by Board : 20/08/2010 :

The Pharmacy Board of Australia has released four new Guidelines. They are all available on the Board's website.

Guidelines are approved by the National Board and may be used as evidence of what constitutes appropriate professional conduct or practice for pharmacy in legal proceedings.

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Coalition's PBS 'savings' sets the cat among the (pharmacy) pigeons : 20/08/2010 :

Page 19 of the Coalition's Australia's Future Policy, released on Wednesday night, contained a single line noting that PBS savings would amount to $1.15 billion over the four year term of an elected Coaltion government. There was no detail provided and no explanation as to where these savings might be made.

Mr Abbott's comment yesterday morning that 'I make no apologies for wanting to get the best possible price from the drug companies' did nothing to allay mounting pharmacy concerns as to what this might be about.

Understandably, the Pharmacy Guild sought 'urgent clarification' from the Coalition, which it received in the form of a letter from Shadow Health Minister Peter Dutton. Not, however, before it had received a letter from Nicola Roxon claming that Mr Abbott 'intends to rip up the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement if he becomes Prime Minister'.

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Pharmacists think Labor has it in the bag : 20/08/2010 :

46% of those responding to this week's AusPharm poll think that Labor will win tomorrow's election. 32% think it will be the Coalition. Oddly (?), 20% are predicting a hung parliament.

For the record, the bookies still have Labor as a warm favourite with Betfair offering (for a $1 bet) $1.33 for a Labor win and $3.809 for a Coalition victory. They're not discounting the hung parliament option either, with a $1 bet only looking to return $3.25 if there's a hung parliament after the weekend.

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Greek study highlights teaspoon inaccuracies : 19/08/2010 :

A recent Greek study measured variation in the liquid volume of teaspoons in 25 different households. The findings emphasise the variability in dosing, not just of the household teaspoon, but also in perception of what constitutes a full teaspoon. This latter finding is a problem with the use of any dosing device - the device is only as accurate as the user.

The study found that even when a standardised teaspoon was used, the volume ranged from 3.9 to 4.9 ml among the total of the 25 study participants. Reasons given for underfilling a teaspoon included concerns over spillage, and that a child being given the medicine was likely to knock the spoon.

While these simple findings  are not particularly new, they reinforce the practical importance of households having an accurate dosing device to administer liquid medicines, and using it properly.

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Poll: Who do you think will gain a majority in the House of Reps? : 19/08/2010 :

In the last of AusPharm's election polls for the season, with just days to go we're curious to see how AusPharmListers call the election outcome.

We saw how votes would be lodged last week... let's see this week whether this matches the expectations of which party will get across the line with a majority in the House of Reps.

Let us know who you think will gain a majority in the House of Representatives as a result of this Saturday's election by making your voice heard in this week's poll.


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National Rural Health Conference : call for abstracts closes August 23 : 19/08/2010 :

There is only one week left to submit an abstract for the 11th National Rural Health Conference.

First time presenters are encouraged to submit an abstract. 

Up-to-date information, including abstract guidelines, is available on the Conference Website.

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Poll: Who do you think will gain a majority in the House of Reps? : 18/08/2010 :

In the last of AusPharm's election polls for the season, with just days to go we're curious to see how AusPharmListers call the election outcome. We saw how votes would be lodged last week... let's see this week whether this matches the expectations of which party will get across the line with a majority in the House of Reps.

Let us know who you think will gain a majority in the House of Representatives as a result of this Saturday's election by making your voice heard in this week's poll.

NB: We *think* we've finally fixed the bug that's been preventing people from voting in our polls so, please try to vote today and let us know if you have problems.

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PHARMeFOOTY weekly wrap : 18/08/2010 :

AFL Round 20 was great for tipsters with 37 selecting all 8 winners. Heather Pym from MGPN was closest to the margin and wins the weekly prize, congratulations Heather. In 2nd place was  David Auld of Priceline Pharmacy Sale with Craig Fox from Judges Pharmacy in 3rd spot.

NRL Round 23 was too tough for tipsters with no-one able to select all 8 winners. Adam Nash from Cowra Amcal tipped 7 and was closest to the margin so takes the weekly prize, well done Adam. In 2nd place was George Pavlidis from Fred Health with Celia Milander of Corrimal Court Pharmacy taking 3rd spot.

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Intensive pharmacist intervention keeps BP patients HAPPY : 18/08/2010 :

The Hypertension Adherence Program in Pharmacy (HAPPY) trial, funded under CPA4, has shown that a program of intensive intervention by pharmacists can assist patients lower their blood pressure.

Significant decreases in both diastolic and systolic BP were observed in the Pharmacist Care Group (PCG) and the Usual Care Group (UCG) but the intervention was associated with a significantly greater reduction in average systolic BP (10mmHg) in comparison to usual care (5mmHg).

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Chronic kidney disease a rising burden on Australia’s hospitals - and set to worsen : 18/08/2010 :

Hospitalisations related to chronic kidney disease (CKD) are increasing, and look likely to remain a significant burden to Australia’s health care system, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

The report shows that men were 1.6 times as likely as women to be hospitalised for regular dialysis, while Indigenous Australians were hospitalised at 11 times the rate of their non-Indigenous counterparts.

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Pharmacy election brief from Stephen Greenwood : 18/08/2010 :

Guild members will by now have received letters of support for community pharmacy from both Julia Gillard / Nicola Roxon and from Tony Abbott.

Watch this space tomorrow - we'll have a detailed commentary on these and on Saturday's election from former Guild Executive Director Stephen Greenwood. Stephen saw the Guild through 4 federal elections during his time at the helm, from 1992 – 2006.

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Sigma agrees sale of pharmaceuticals division to Aspen : 17/08/2010 :

Sigma Pharmaceuticals has agreed in principle to sell its pharmaceutical division to Aspen Pharmacare, for $900million. This encompasses Sigma's generics, consumer, OTC, Herron brand, ethical products, medical products, orphan and manufacturing businesses. The anticipated proceeds from this sale will exceed Sigma’s net debt.

Sigma is to retain its wholesale and retail businesses, which are under its healthcare division. "Sigma will emerge after the sale in a financially powerful position for future growth and business improvement under the company's new management team led by Mr Mark Hooper," said Sigma chairman, Brian Jamieson. "We will also consider potential capital management initiatives."

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Guidelines for preparing medicines in hospitals released : 17/08/2010 :

SHPA have released new guidelines for the preparation of medicines in hospitals, both sterile and non-sterile preparations. The guidelines apply to:

  • all types of medicines prepared in Australian hospital pharmacy departments;
  • from immediate-use products for individual patients to batches of products made in advance;
  • procedures from labelling and re-packaging to aseptic manipulation; and
  • medicines prepared by externally contracted pharmacists servicing hospitals / nursing homes.

The new SHPA guidelines complement the internationally recognised Pharmaceutical Inspection Cooperation Scheme (PIC/S) guide to good practices for preparation of medicinal products in healthcare establishments, endorsed by SHPA as the standard for medicines prepared in Australian hospital pharmacy departments. The SHPA guidelines provide detail and instruction to assist with implementing the PIC/S guidelines.

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Slight increase seen in survey of pharmacist wages : 17/08/2010 :

APESMA have released findings of a recent survey of pharmacists' remuneration, showing a slight increase in actual average hourly base rate (from $37.52 to $38.20). This represents a 1.8% annual increase, compared to an average 3 to 4% increase in other scientific and technical professional groups.

Geoff March, President of the Pharmacists' Division of APESMA said “In contrast to this small increase reported in the survey, pharmacists have been calling 1300APESMA to clarify the provisions of the relatively new Pharmacy Industry Award that commenced on the 1st January 2010, especially the Transitional provisions that relate to wage rates, penalty rates and loadings that start changing on 1st July 2010 and will be completed by 1st July 2014.” He added “A number of callers have indicated their employers are misleading them by telling them they are not covered by the Award or they are not eligible for penalty rate payments”.

Pharmacists who believe they are being underpaid are encouraged to confidentially call 1300APESMA. “PDA will have no hesitation in prosecuting owners who breach the Award provisions - we are currently investigating a couple of cases of Award breaches on our member’s behalf.”

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Asthma with allergic rhinitis - new patient resource : 16/08/2010 :

In addition to their existing resources for healthcare professionals, the National Asthma Council Australia has commenced distribution to pharmacists of a resource kit for Spring about the connection between asthma and allergic rhinitis.

Many sufferers don't realise that effective treatment of one condition can help with the management of the other. The new materials are designed to raise awareness and prompt people who have experienced symptoms to seek advice from their doctor or pharmacist.

The resource kit features a poster for waiting rooms and pharmacies which asks: ‘Is your nose making your asthma worse?’ and a checkbox screener card for patients to help them identify common symptoms and understand the link between asthma and allergic rhinitis.

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Pharmacy Cricket Carnival dates confirmed : 16/08/2010 :

The dates for the 2011 Australian Pharmacy Cricket Carnival have been confirned as Wednesday 26 to Saturday 29 January 2011.

The venue for the carnival is Shepparton, Victoria.

More details will be available from the Pharmacy Cricket website as they become available

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RGH E-Bulletin: High dose Vitamin D supplementation : 16/08/2010 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is High dose Vitamin D supplementation.

"Vitamin D3 deficiency is associated with muscle pain and weakness, fatigue, reduced bone mineral density and an increased risk of falls and fractures. Vitamin D3 levels decline with advancing age, presumably due to reduced sun exposure and cutaneous synthesis, and impaired renal function. The recommended daily intake to prevent deficiency in Vitamin D3 replete patients with minimal sunlight exposure is 400 IU for those aged 51-70 years and 600 IU for those >70 years. Patients in residential care may require higher intakes."

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

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Pharmacy Board agrees on format for oral examination : 16/08/2010 :

The Pharmacy Board of Australia has published details of its most recent meeting held  on 30 July 2010.

Of note, the board's examination committee reported on the approach to be taken for oral examinations. For 2010 the past approach of State/Territory boards with regard to oral examinations will continue unchanged, but the committee has worked on a recommendation for a standard format to be introduced from 1 Jan 2011.

The Board agreed to an oral examination format which will include four scenario based questions involving:

  • a patient medication profile
  • a primary health care scenario
  • a legal and ethical practice scenario
  • acommunication and problem solving scenario.

The exam will be 45-50 minutes duration and each candidate will be examined by two examiners. Parts will be closed-book, part will be open-book and candidates will be permitted to bring references of their choosing to use during specified parts of the exam.

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If it was up to 'listers the Coalition would romp it in next week : 13/08/2010 :

52% of those responding to this week's AusPharm poll told us that they are going to vote for Coalition candidates in the lower house in in next week's federal election. Interestingly, this is exactly the same result obtained in a similar poll we ran in 2007.

What is quite different this time around is that the Greens have attracted double the vote 'listers gave them in 2007, moving from 10% in 2007 to 21% in 2010, perhaps reflecting their status as 'the new left'. There was a lower voter turnout in this week's poll than in 2007, possibly because we've run the poll a week earlier this time. Running a week earlier is likely also the reason there are four times as many undecided as there were in 2007 (12% v 3%).

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MBA thesis survey invitation - strengthening Guild membership : 13/08/2010 :

Pharmacists are invited to participate in a survey forming part of the research for an MBA thesis examining ways that the Pharmacy Guild could strengthen its membership over the next five years. The survey is open to all pharmacists, not just pharmacy owners or Guild members.

The survey is being conducted by Paul Watkins, a retail pharmacist based in regional Victoria who is also studying towards an MBA at the Melbourne Business School. Paul's thesis is a private, non-funded work and will not be published. It has two purposes: to act as final assessment and also provide some material benefit to the organization being studied.

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