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GSK re-signs with Mirixa Australia : 13/08/2010 :

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Australia has re-signed with Mirixa Australia to continue the Seretide® Compliance Program and will soon announce the launch of a new Mirixa Australia program.

Arthur Charlaftis, GSK Director of Primary Care said, “GSK is committed to supporting initiatives, such as Mirixa, that enhance the quality use of medicines.  Pharmacists are well positioned to encourage patient compliance.”

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NAPSA: it's a great time to be a pharmacy student (mostly) : 13/08/2010 :

National President of National Australian Pharmacy Students' Association (NAPSA), Ashleigh Coome, said yesterday that with national registration now available and the recent signing of the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement, "it is a great time to be a pharmacy student".

She added, however, that the profession did have some hurdles to jump. "Some challenges include an oversupply of pharmacists, a shortage of intern positions and lacking infrastructure to provide the key cognitive services that the profession requires," she said.

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Children's cough and cold preps to remain OTC : 13/08/2010 :

In a decision announced this week, the National Drugs and Poisons Schedule Committee (NDPSC) agreed that certain cough and cold preparations for children aged 2 to 6 would move into schedule 3, not schedule 4, as had been foreshadowed by a TGA review in 2009. Products such as Demazin, Dimetapp and a number of house brands, will continue to be available to consumers without a prescription. For children aged 6-12, affected products will remain in schedule 2. For those children under 2, they will remain schedule 4.

This decision was included in the NDPSC's 'Record of Reasons' for its June meeting, released this week. A number of other issues were also decided at the meeting.

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CMI research identifies improvements : 12/08/2010 :

Research into Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) usage conducted by the University of Sydney, and funded under the 4th CPA, has identified areas for improving their use and effectiveness.

The Investigating Consumer Medicine Information (I-CMI) Project set out to investigate issues arising from research and anecdotal evidence that suggested limited use of CMIs in the community. The research was undertaken between April 2008 and January 2010 and included collaboration with national and international experts in the field of medicine information from the University of Leeds in the UK, Curtin University of Technology and the University of Qld, as well as experts in functional linguistics, information design and workflow change management.

The I-CMI Project found that over 69% of consumers received a CMI leaflet in the six months prior to the survey, and 38% received one in the month prior. Of these, 39% had received a CMI directly from the pharmacist.  About half of consumers reported wanting a CMI for their medicines, with 44% indicating that they preferred verbal counselling rather than written information. More consumers are aware of CMIs than they were five years ago, but there are a number of improvements that can be made to the leaflets to increase readability and usability.

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Nominate a pharmacist for PSA excellence award : 12/08/2010 :

Do you know someone who deserves the title of Pharmacist of the Year, or Young Pharmacist of the Year for their achievements in 2010? Or maybe a colleague who has provided sterling service over many years is a candidate for the Lifetime Achievement Award? PSA excellence awards are one way of acknowledging those pharmacists who go above and beyond in the pharmacy profession.

Nominations for these 3 awards close on 1 September 2010; award winners will be announced at PAC10 in Melbourne on 29 October 2010.

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Future of Pharmacy Project - workforce issues are key : 12/08/2010 :

Leading stakeholders in the Australian pharmacy profession have reiterated the urgent need for a whole-of-profession vision for the future. When a Future of Pharmacy Forum was held in Melbourne in late July 2010, pharmacy stakeholders agreed that it was imperative that the profession move quickly to commence the development of a vision for the future of pharmacy in Australia. A teleconference of stakeholders will be held in early September 2010 to further advance the Future of Pharmacy Project.

Many of the issues and opportunities identified at the Forum related to the pharmacy workforce, including:
·         addressing aspirations of new pharmacists;
·         number and quality of new graduates;
·         effect of increasing graduate numbers and corporatisation of practice on quality of practice;
·         adherence to professional standards generally throughout the profession.
Underlining the work of the Future of Pharmacy Project is the concern that if the pharmacy profession fails to develop its own shared vision there is a risk that Australia could be left behind internationally.

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Mental Health Services expenditure report : 12/08/2010 :

The AIHW has just released a report on national expenditure for mental health services, showing that in 2008-09, over 21 million mental health-related scripts were subsidised under the PBS/RPBS, costing the Australian Government over $742 million. The majority of this cost was for antipsychotics (51%) and antidepressants (41%).

According to the report, Mental health services in Australia 2007-08, national recurrent expenditure on all mental health-related services in Australia in 2007–08 was estimated to be $5.3 billion. Of the $5.3 billion, about 60.5% came from state and territory governments, 36% from the federal government and 3.5% from private health insurance. Patient out-of-pocket expenses were not included in this figure.

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AusPharm CE: RGH E-Bulletin Digest No. 27 : 11/08/2010 :

The next in our 2010 series of continuing education activities is the RGH E-Bulletin Digest No. 27.

This CE activity assesses your understanding of four recent RGH Pharmacy E-Bulletins (Volumes 38-11 - 39-2  --> July / August 2010).

After completing this activity, pharmacists should be able to:

  • Understand the clinical implication of abnormal bleeding associated with SSRIs
  • Describe clinical factors that relevant to benzodiazepine use in the elderly
  • Identify clinical relating to the management of central post-stroke pain
  • List the caffeine content of various food and drinks commonly consumed in Australia

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 the sponsor of our CE program, MIMS.

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Specific diabetes stream at PAC10 : 11/08/2010 :

Diabetes in Australia is now about three times more prevalent than it was 20 years ago, with more than 800,000 of today's Australians having been diagnosed with the disease. Statistics show about 85-90% of diabetes cases are Type 2, linked to our low levels of exercise and our rising levels of overweight and obesity. Pharmacists have a pivotal role to play in the management of diabetes by using their expertise to deliver professional services and information to support and assist people with diabetes over the entire course of the disease.

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Poll: Who are you going to vote for? : 11/08/2010 :

Only 10 days to go before national polling day. There are some fairly sophisticated polls out there, and some intriguing analyses such as Antony Green's analysis of voting patterns. AusPharm thought we'd gauge the current leaning of pharmacists in this week's poll, (anonymous as always) and ask who you are going to vote for?

Let us know who you are going to vote for by making your voice heard in this week's poll.

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Australian Pharma launches federal election priorities : 11/08/2010 :

Medicines Australia chief executive Dr Brendan Shaw yesterday announced the 2010 federal election priorities for the Australian medicines industry. Medicines and the 2010 Federal Election: Supporting Australia’s Health urges all political parties to support three key objectives:

* Provide business certainty for the Australian medicines industry
* Ensure Australian medicines industry innovation remains internationally competitive
* Deliver better access, information and opportunities associated with the PBS listing of medicines.

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PHARMeFOOTY weekly wrap : 11/08/2010 :

NRL Round 22 was good for tipsters with 4 selecting all the 8 winners. Tony Yarrow from Carina Day & Night Pharmacy was closest to the margin and is the weekly winner, congratulations Tony. In 2nd place was Wayne Steel of Home Hill Discount Drug Store with Heather Todd from Trevor Craig Pharmacy taking 3rd spot.

AFL Round 19 was tough for tipsters with just one selecting all 8 winners. Annie Winters from Torrens Rd Gordon had the only perfect round and wins the weekly prize, well done Annie. In 2nd place was Jacintha Davies from Cessnock with Karen Upton of Rhys Jones Pharmacy in 3rd spot.

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SA Pharmacist of the Year Finalists named : 11/08/2010 :

The South Australian Branch of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia has announced the finalists in the prestigious Pharmacist of the Year Award.

The finalists are:

* Ms. Kirrily Chambers, accredited pharmacist and diabetes educator;
* Mr. Lewis Pounentis, accredited pharmacist, proprietor and diabetes educator; and
* Ms. Julie Bedford, accredited pharmacist and proprietor.

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Ms Liesel Wett new PSA CEO : 10/08/2010 :

The Board of PSA has announced the appointment of Liesel Wett as the new PSA Chief Executive Officer.

Ms Wett, who is currently Deputy CEO and Chief Operating Officer of the Australian General Practice Network, is expected to take up her appointment on 1 October 2010. While at AGPN (since 2003), she has also served as Company Secretary and completed Australian Institute of Company Director qualifications.

PSA president, Warwick Plunkett, said "As well as her executive roles at AGPN, Liesel has held senior executive roles at other health organisations and holds an MBA and relevant other qualifications in health-related areas including a Masters in Public Health. Her strong experience in liaising and negotiating with the Minister's office and staff, senior Department of Health staff as well as staff across the health network, will help to ensure PSA's voice is heard and that the interests of pharmacy are taken into account."

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Workforce Symposium examines pharmacist numbers today : 10/08/2010 :

There has been much industry discussion about the intake of pharmacy student numbers at
universities and the ability of those students to find jobs when they complete their studies. How many pharmacists does Australia have? How many are being trained? And how many are needed in the coming decade and beyond? These will be among the questions being considered in Canberra today at a meeting of pharmacy education and industry stakeholders convened by the Pharmacy Guild.

The Pharmacy Workforce Symposium will take as its starting point the recent findings of the
Pharmacy Workforce Planning Research Project funded under the Fourth CPA. The Guild believes it
is extremely important that they, and the policy makers, have the best information available to make the right decisions about the pharmacy workforce into the future. Leader of this project, Lee Ridoutt (Human Capital Alliance), will present to the symposium, giving an update on the findings of the model developed by the project.

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Pharmacy Board acknowledge issues / fast-track for renewal lapses : 10/08/2010 :

While acknowledging there have been issues with its introduction, Steve Marty, Chair of the Pharmacy Board of Australia, has issued a statement that, five weeks in, the new National Registration and Accreditation Scheme is ensuring consistent national registration and professional standards are applied in the regulation of the pharmacy profession.

“Clearly there have been operational challenges which the AHPRA is addressing,” Mr Marty said. “Registration applications are being processed. Thousands of registration renewal letters have been sent out to practitioners and more are scheduled. Interns are being granted provisional registration. Turn-around times are improving following a few initial delays,” he said.

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New research finds no evidence for popular weight loss products : 09/08/2010 :

New research evaluating the effectiveness of a broad selection of popular slimming supplements sold in pharmacies and health food stores has found no evidence that any of them facilitate weight loss beyond the placebo effect.

Commenting on the study findings, outspoken critic of the current regulatory arrangements in Australia, public health physician Dr Ken Harvey said:

"In Australia, a review of Listed weight loss products was instigated by the TGA in 2007, a draft discussion paper was produced in February 2009, a public consultation was held in October 2009 and eight months later nothing more has been heard or done. Meanwhile, unethical promotion of shonky weight loss products continues."

Two studies presented at the International Congress on Obesity in Stockholm, Sweden, found that popular weight loss supplements were no more effective than the fake supplements they were compared with.

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September 2010 PBS schedule : 09/08/2010 :

The September PBS schedule and 'Summary of Changes' are now available here.

Download the Full PBS schedule

Download the Summary of changes

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healthlinks.net wins business award for innovation : 09/08/2010 :

healthlinks.net, a wholly owned subsidiary company of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, was presented with an Australian Business Award in the Innovation category at the 2010 Awards. healthlinks.net was one of 105 award recipients, which received a total of 1849 entries from 962 organisations.

The Australian Business Awards are a national program honouring organisations that demonstrate the core values of business excellence, product excellence, sustainability and commercial success in their respective industries through an established series of business and product award categories.

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RGH E-Bulletin: Hyperhidrosis : 09/08/2010 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Hyperhidrosis.

"Hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating in response to heat or emotional stimuli, and is classified as primary or secondary depending upon aetiology. Primary focal hyperhidrosis is a chronic idiopathic condition that, when severe, can be debilitating to the person’s professional, psychological and physical well being. Hyperhidrosis most commonly affects palms, soles and axillae and occurs in about 2 – 3% of the population. The onset is most common in the 2nd and 3rd decades of life. There is some evidence for a genetic link but the cause is unknown. In terms of its pathogenesis, hyperhidrosis is thought to be due to a central abnormality of the hypothalamic sweat centre."

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

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