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Pharmacological management of bipolar disorder - online lecture : 09/08/2010 :

PSA's monthly online clinical presentation for August deals with bipolar disorder, presented by Dr Chris Alderman.

In this one hour podcast/online lecture, Dr Chris Alderman provides an overview of bipolar disorder and addresses the management options available. Upon completion of the module pharmacists should be able to:

• Understand key features of bipolar disorder
• Describe the general principles of pharmacological management of bipolar disorder
• Identify specific roles for various drugs in management of mania and bipolar depression
• Understand the principles of mood stabiliser treatment
• Discuss recent advances in knowledge relevant to management of bipolar disorder

The modules are available free to PSA members to view through the PSA website, or can be downloaded as podcasts.

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Australian pharmaceuticals saw export growth in 2009/10 : 08/08/2010 :

ABS export figures for the June quarter show that the pharmaceutical industry remains Australia's most valuable hi-technology exporter.

Medicines Australia chief executive Dr Brendan Shaw said pharmaceutical and medicinal exports for 2009-10 totalled $4.12 billion, up 2% from the previous year.  Dr Shaw said "Australia's overall exports fell 11% in the 12 months to June 2010 compared with the previous year. Pharmaceuticals were one of the very few manufacturing industries to have actually posted a growth in a very challenging global market. "

Asian countries accounted for approximately 41% of pharmaceutical exports in 2009-10. South Africa, Europe and New Zealand were the other major export markets. Dr Shaw said export earnings for the Australian medicines industry had grown 800% since 1990.

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National Intern Training Program - uni enrolment talks commencing for 2011 : 06/08/2010 :

The PSA will be commencing promotional talks at universities around Australia from 18 August 2010 to encourage final year pharmacy students to enrol in their National Intern Training Program (NITP) in 2011.

The course aims to assist in the transition from university to workplace and ensure that graduates make the most of the career opportunities before them.

Reflecting the recent introduction of national, rather than state, registration for pharmacists, the NITP course incorporates discussion of national and state-based issues. Being a national program comprising a combination of a combination of interactive workshops and workplace-based activities, it enables interaction between interns and pharmacists across Australia.

Details of the PSA presentations about NITP at universities and pharmacy schools will be published online at

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On the phone? I'll get back to you : 06/08/2010 :

Reports are now commonplace of rude customers insisting on holding mobile phone conversations while businesses attempt to serve them... whether it is coffee, train tickets or prescriptions. This week's poll sought to find out how staff in your pharmacy handle this.

Seems the majority leave them to it. One wonders whether, at some future time, widely regarded mobile phone 'etiquette' will evolve that eliminates this seemingly rude behaviour.

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Pain management workshops for outreach pharmacists : 06/08/2010 :

NPS is inviting pharmacists providing outreach services to Aboriginal health services to enrol in the NPS Outreach Pharmacists for Remote Aboriginal Health Services program and attend workshops over the next month on chronic pain management.

The outreach program aims to improve the health of remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities through providing quality use of medicines education and support to pharmacists who work with staff at local Aboriginal health services.

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Latest Mirixa newsletter now out : 06/08/2010 :

The latest issue of the Mirixa Messenger newsletter is now out.

  • Ask a CHAMPION! Pharmacy Owner shares his success
  • 260 new users complete training
  • MedsIndex in Session #2: It’s about the trend
  • New programs: Omeprazole and Sertraline
  • Changing dispense vendors?

Click here to read it in full.

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Political campaigning can lift your blood pressure : 06/08/2010 :

While out campaigning on Wednesday the Minister for Health and Ageing Nicola Roxon visited a pharmacy in the Brisbane electorate of Moreton.

At the Terry White Chemist Sunnybank Plaza, managing pharmacist Ming Loi was happy to give the Minister and the local MP, Graham Perrett a tour of both sides of the dispensary counter.

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Pharma: Coalition medicines plan good for retirees, economy : 06/08/2010 :

Medicines Australia chief executive Dr Brendan Shaw said yesterday that the Coalition’s election commitment to expand eligibility to the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card by indexing the income threshold to inflation would improve access to prescription medicines for Australian seniors.

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Trial confirms benefits of pharmacist intervention : 06/08/2010 :

A research project funded under the 4th Commmunity Pharmacy Agreement has demonstrated a significant improvement in compliance following a structured pharmacists intervention.

Over 700 patients on long term medication were recruited to take part in the in the six month trial involving 132 pharmacies. They had a mean basline MedsIndex score of 65.5 and, as a result of the interventions, patient compliance significantly improved to 77.2 at three-months, and 81.3 at six-months. A MedsIndex score over 80 is defined as being compliant.

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(Almost) 10 years of HMRs : 05/08/2010 :

The announcement in May that the Home Medicine Review Divisional Facilitator Program would not be refunded as part of the 5th Community Pharmacy Agreement saw AusPharm receive a few emails lamenting its passing but, at the same time, engendered some fond reminiscing from our correspondents.

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Rate of diagnosis of Type I diabetes in children has steadied : 05/08/2010 :

The AIHW has released a 35-page report showing that since 2005 the rate of new cases of Type 1 diabetes in Australian children has steadied, as compared with the beginning of the decade when the incidence increased by about 6% each year (2000 - 2004).

There were over 8,000 new cases of Type 1 diabetes diagnosed in Australian children between 2000 and 2008, an average of two new cases every day.

According to Anne-Marie Waters of the AIHW's Cardiovascular, Diabetes and Kidney Unit, the figures suggest that "the incidence of Type 1 diabetes in children is stable at present. However, Australia still remains in the top 10 OECD countries with the highest rates of Type 1 diabetes in children." The somewhat stable situation for Type 1 diabetes is in contrast to the known increase in Type 2 diabetes.

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eRx meets mandatory national security & privacy check : 05/08/2010 :

eRx Script Exchange’s security and privacy standards have been independently validated as achieving national standards this month, with the successful completion of independent Security Assessment and Privacy Impact Assessments.

All Prescription Exchange Services (PES) are required to undertake the independent assessments as a key condition of the 5th Community Pharmacy Agreement ePrescription Incentive Payments. The assessments are guided by the National eAuthentication Framework around security and ensure that all obligations are met under the Commonwealth's Privacy Act 1988.

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PHARMeFOOTY weekly wrap : 04/08/2010 :

AFL Round 18 proved difficult for tipsters with just the 1 tipster selecting all 8 winners. Sandy Lowcock from Figtree Plaza Chemist had the only perfect round and receives the weekly prize, congratulations Sandy. In 2nd place was Graham Priest of Lauderdale Pharmacy with Corey Gillie taking 3rd spot.

NRL Round 19 saw 5 tipsters select all 8 winners correctly. It came down to cumulative margin to determine the prize and Anthony Stanton of Blooms is the weekly winner. In 2nd was Greg Bereza from Kingscliff Village Pharmacy with Geoff Oliver of HMR Consultant taking out 3rd.

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ASMI: association between calcium supplements and heart disease 'controversial' : 04/08/2010 :

The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI), the industry body representing non-prescription consumer healthcare products in Australia, issued a statement yesterday telling consumers that they should not be alarmed by recent media coverage linking calcium supplements with an increased risk of heart disease.

ASMI was responding to media coverage regarding the safety of calcium supplements following the publication of a recent article in the British Medical Journal [1]. The article suggested that the role of calcium supplements should be reassessed because they could increase a person’s risks of heart disease.

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Generics incentives to be made public : 04/08/2010 :

The ACCC yesterday announced that it intends to grant conditional approval to the second edition of the Generic Medicines Industry Association's Code of Practice. The Code is intended to provides a self-regulatory framework to govern the relationship between generic pharmaceutical companies and healthcare professionals.

"While the ACCC is proposing to grant authorisation, this is subject to conditions to provide greater transparency around the relationship between the manufacturers of generic medicines and pharmacists," ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said.

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Kung Flu fighters : 04/08/2010 :

According to the Pharmacy Guild its Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Program, also known as the Kung Flu Fighter campaign, has been well received by Guild members.

Over 1800 individual pharmacies participated in the program and over 1200 pharmacy staff members registered for infection control and business planning workshops across Australia. 

Another indicator of success was the enthusiastic response to the Kung Flu Fighter “look-a-like” competition.

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AHPRA / Board apologises for delays : 04/08/2010 :

In a statement posted on its website yesterday, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) acknowledged the difficulty people were having contacting the agency and apologised for the delays.

"We know that sometimes it has been difficult to reach AHPRA on 1300 419 495 due to the exceptionally high call volumes we are experiencing. We apologise for any delays that you may have experienced. We are working hard to ensure that your phone and email queries are dealt with as quickly as possible."

The Pharmacy Board has posted a series of FAQs on its website (here) that may answer some of the questions people are unable get answered through inability to contact AHPRA by phone.

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Medicines Safety Update focuses on Champix, Panvax : 04/08/2010 :

Medicines Safety Update No.4; 2010 (formerly the ADRAC Bulletin) has been published on the TGA website.

According to the TGA, psychiatric symptoms, including suicidal behaviour, continue to be reported with varenicline. To May 2010, there have been 206 reports of suicide-related events in people taking varenicline, including 15 completed suicides. The TGA is asking health professionals to include relevant information from the patient's history in adverse reaction reports to help in its assessment of cases, and is reminding them to discuss the possibility of these events with patients and their families.

The Update also reports on the Panvax swine flu vaccine - information is now available about the number and types of adverse reactions reported during the first six months of the program.

The Medicines Safety Update is on the TGA website here.

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SHPA continuum of care award announced : 04/08/2010 :

Alexandra (Sasha) Bennett is the recipient of the SHPA sanofi-aventis Pamela Nieman Continuum of Care Research Grant 2010. The award provides a grant of $10,000 to a pharmacist member of SHPA ideally focusing on the development and implementation of strategies and or education to facilitate improved
continuity of care.

Sasha’s research will comprise a national, multicentre study designed to describe the nature and range of pharmacist services directed at addressing continuity of care gaps in the achievement of quality use of medicines (QUM) in patients discharged from Australian hospitals during 2010.

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Survey - What should be on the FIP Centennial Congress agenda : 03/08/2010 :

The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) was founded in 1912 and is looking forward to celebrating its centenary in 2012. The FIP centennial congress will be held in Amsterdam, 3-8 October 2012, and to make it an event worthy of the past 100 years, FIP is seeking input from pharmacists as to what they would like to see on the congress agenda.

You can offer your thoughts in a short survey, which is anonymous, unless you'd like the chance to win a free centennial congress registration by also giving your email address.

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