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AusPharm news

Windows XP has the pharmacy market : 19/02/2010 :

This week's poll asked 'listers what operating system their main dispensing computer uses. While we were expecting Windows XP to be the most prevalent we have to say we did not expect to discover that it has 90% of the market.

There are still are few diehards using older systems and one or two intrepid souls who are already using Windows 7. One wonders what the couple of people who answered 'other' might be using.

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Compulsory CE well accepted in UK : 19/02/2010 :

With the imminent commencement of compulsory CE in Australia on July 1, 'listers might be interested to hear how their UK colleagues are coping with this.

Eight months ago the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) implemented a 'call and review' process, whereby pharmacists' participation in CE to the required level was randomly audited.

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ASMI stalwart to move on : 19/02/2010 :

Long time ASMI Executive Director, Juliet Seifert, is to retire from the position in August, after 21 years at the helm of ASMI and its predecessor, the Proprietary Association of Australia.

The new Executive Director will be Dr Deon Schoombie, currently designated Deputy Executive Director of ASMI. He has been Scientific Director of ASMI since mid 2004.

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ADRs to swine flu vaccine : 19/02/2010 :

The national swine flu immunisation program with Panvax® began on 30 September 2009. As at 31 December 2009 a total of 1289 suspected side effects have been reported to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). To that date approximately 6 million doses of Panvax® had been distributed in Australia.

The great majority of reported side effects have been mild, such as headache, gastrointestinal upset, soreness, swelling, or redness at the injection site. Most of the side effects that have been reported are well recognised and listed in the Panvax® Product Information. Of the suspected side effects reported only six related to Panvax H1N1 Junior®, and all these reports were of fever or gastrointestinal upset (or both).

The TGA's assessment and the advice of its expert committees is that Panvax® is a safe, effective vaccine for prevention of the H1N1 influenza.

Read all about it on the TGA website here.

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Influenza vaccines: poor evidence for effectiveness in the elderly : 18/02/2010 :

A new Cochrane Systematic Review, released yesterday, has concluded that evidence for the safety and efficacy of influenza vaccines in the over 65s is poor, despite the fact that vaccination has been recommended for the prevention of influenza in older people for the past 40 years.

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New lifestyle drug from Roche : 18/02/2010 :

Preliminary details have leaked of a new 'lifestlye' drug soon to be launched by Roche.

While details are scant at present, it is thought the company plans to target Growacet® at males who aren't reaching their full potential in the corporate environment.

Roche says it has no plans to launch a version of the drug for women.

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Consumers struggling to find drug information they can understand : 18/02/2010 :

Preliminary data from the National Census of Medicines Use in Australia shows that people are struggling to identify information sources they can easily understand.

Also revelaed is that a significant number of adverse medicines events aren’t being reported back to GPs .

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SA Pharmacists support Sexual Health Awareness Week : 18/02/2010 :

The South Australian Branch of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia is supporting Sexual Health Awareness Week through a number of activities and promotions.

Acting National President of the PSA and President of the SA PSA, Grant Kardachi, said pharmacy was the most accessible source of advice and information on health matters, including emergency contraception, and consumers were encouraged to go to their pharmacist for relevant, timely and accurate facts.

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Poll: what operating system? : 17/02/2010 :

Last week's poll looked at the age of pharmacy computers and there has been a bit of chat on AusPharmList in the last week or so about technology issues as well (antivirus software, dispensing software). We thought we'd keep running with this theme a little longer.

What operating system does the main dispensing computer in your pharmacy run? Please let us know by ticking the relevant box in today's poll. (Hint: press the Windows key and the 'Break' key to find out what your computer is running.)

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Child-resistant packaging requirements for medicines : 17/02/2010 :

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is seeking comments from interested parties on proposals to amend the regulations regarding the Child-Resistant Packaging Requirements for Medicines. These amendments would update the list of substances which, if present in a medicine, require the medicine to have child-resistant packaging (CRP).

Proposed for inclusion as a new class of drug requiring CRP are angiotensin II receptor blockers. A number of additional drugs have been proposed for inclusion in existing classes already requiring CRPs.

The closing date for submissions is March 10. Details are here.

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February Asthma Epidemic Looms : 17/02/2010 :

As the 2010 school year gets underway, the National Asthma Council Australia is warning parents, teachers and health professionals to prepare for a corresponding spike in asthma emergencies.

Australian research, conducted in Sydney from 1994 to 2001, found that the increased risk of hospitalisation for asthma in February was threefold in children aged five to 14 years and double in pre-schoolers, with the peak occurring three and a half weeks into the new school year.

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Top Chinese officials at offshore conference : 17/02/2010 :

The Vice Chairperson of the National People's Congress and President of the Chinese Pharmaceutical Association, Professor Sang Guowei, will officiate at the opening ceremony of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s 2010 Annual Offshore Conference.

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Irish pharmacy takes a big hit on patented Rx med prices : 16/02/2010 :

On February 1, as a result of negotiations with the Irish Department of Health, Big Pharma cut the prices of almost 300 of its most widely-prescribed medicines by 40%, in a move aimed at saving the Irish government 94 million euros (AU$146 million) over the next full year.

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National Medicines Symposium: May 26-28 : 16/02/2010 :

Registrations are now open for the National Medicines Symposium, the biennial conference dedicated to addressing medicines use issues across the health sector.

Hosted by the National Prescribing Service, the Symposium brings together everyone working in the medicines sector -  from health professionals to academics, consumer groups and policy makers.

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PSA ON FACEBOOK : 16/02/2010 :

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia has launched a Facebook site which, according to the Society, is quickly gaining an increasing number of fans.

National Vice-President of the PSA, Dr Lisa Nissen, said the decision to create a Facebook site reflected the Society’s growing recognition of the changing demographics of the pharmacy profession.

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PSA proposes National Pharmacy Health Services Program : 16/02/2010 :

In a budget submission, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia has called on the Federal Government to support the development and delivery of national preventive health programs aimed at reducing the burden of chronic disease and preventable conditions by investing $294.5 million over four years in a new National Pharmacy Health Services Program.

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RGH E-Bulletin: Serious drug interactions with medications used for gout : 15/02/2010 :

The topic of this RGH E‑Bulletin is Serious drug interactions with medications used for gout.

"Gout is a metabolic disease with symptoms arising from the deposition of monosodium urate crystals in joints and connective tissue tophi. Colchicine does not affect uric acid levels, but reduces the inflammatory reaction to urate crystals. It may be used for pain relief in the acute treatment of gout and/or at lower doses for prophylaxis when urate-lowering treatment is initiated. Allopurinol is a xanthine oxidase inhibitor used to prevent gout attacks, acting by reducing urate levels through inhibition of the metabolism of xanthine to uric acid."

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

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March 2010 PBS schedule : 15/02/2010 :

The March PBS schedule and 'Summary of Changes' are  now on-line:

Full PBS schedule

Summary of changes

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Australian Ric Day wins international drug info post : 15/02/2010 :

Professor Richard Day AM MD PhD has been elected President of the Drug Information Association (DIA) and is the first non-US citizen to hold this position. 

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Union keeps the pressure on Guild over 5CPA : 15/02/2010 :

According to employee pharmacist union, the Pharmacists' Division of APESMNA (PDA), the Pharmacy Guild's Christmas Eve agreement with the government on a framework for the 5th Community Pharmacy Agreement sentences most pharmacists to being robots churning out prescriptions.

PDA says it will will stifle any hope of pharmacists assisting the Government implement health care reforms in a meaningful and innovative manner and will cause new pharmacy graduates to become disillusioned with community pharmacy. 

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