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AusPharm news

Non-drug therapy important in chronic pain : 30/06/2015 :

NPS Medicinewise has released a new suite of resources to encourage a multimodal approach to chronic pain treatment by health professionals.

They highlight the importance of the role of non-pharmacological and non-opioid treatment options for people with chronic pain as well as the benefits of agreed management plans.

Around one in five Australians experience chronic pain - a complex medical issue with varied causes, pathology and presentation.

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PSA Award for QUM in Pain Management goes to Qld pharmacist : 30/06/2015 :

Queensland pharmacist Karalyn Huxhagen has won the 2015 PSA Award for Quality Use of Medicines in Pain Management.

PSA, in collaboration with Mundipharma, offers this award for quality use of medicines in pain management to a pharmacist member who works consistently to optimise the health and wellbeing of consumers with persistent pain.

As clinical facilitator for the Mackay Pain Support Group - a group currently boasting over 350 members - Ms Huxhagen works with people who are either living with chronic pain or who are caring for or supporting people living with chronic pain.

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Multi-million-dollar deal brings UQ pain drug closer to market : 30/06/2015 :

A chronic pain treatment (EMA401) discovered at The University of Queensland is a step closer to clinical use with a global pharmaceutical giant acquiring the Australian-founded company developing the drug.

Spinifex Pharmaceuticals has been acquired by Novartis International AG for an upfront cash payment of $US200 million (about $A260 million), plus undisclosed clinical development and regulatory milestone payments.

EMA401 is a novel angiotensin II type 2 (AT2) receptor antagonist being developed as a potential first-in-class oral treatment for the treatment of chronic pain. It is hoped the drug will have no CNS side effects as it does not cross the blood brain barrier.

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RGH E‑Bulletin: Home BP self-monitoring & self-titration of antihypertensives : 29/06/2015 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Home BP self-monitoring & self-titration of antihypertensives.

"Elevated blood pressure is one of many cardiovascular risk factors. Self-management refers to an individual’s ability to manage the symptoms, treatment, physical and psychosocial consequences and lifestyle changes associated with a chronic condition.  Self-management of blood pressure has included home based monitoring and adherence to medication and lifestyle activities. Clinical studies compared the addition of self-titration of antihypertensive medication to home based monitoring with usual care for the management of elevated blood pressure."

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

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University of New England pharmacy students welcomed to the profession : 29/06/2015 :

The newest cohort of pharmacy students at the University of New England were welcomed to the profession in a ceremony held last week as part of the first residential program for the students.

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) partners with UNE to deliver the Welcome to the Profession ceremony and supplies all first-year students with their white practice shirts. 

The practice shirts were presented by the PSA’s NSW Branch Director Steven Drew and are a nod to white jackets which are historically associated with the profession of pharmacy. 

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Australia takes part in global crackdown against counterfeit and illegal medicines : 29/06/2015 :

Once again in 2015 - between 24 May and 16 June - Australian regulatory agencies took part in a co-ordinated international crackdown on fake and illegal medicines available for sale over the internet.

Operation Pangea is a worldwide operation that occurs annually, which aims to disrupt the organised crime networks behind the online trade of fake and illicit medicines. Coordinated by the World Customs Organization and Interpol, Operation Pangea VIII brought together customs, health regulators, national police and private sector agencies from over 100 countries.

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6CPA Fact Sheets published : 29/06/2015 :

A series of fact sheets to support the Government's PBS Access and Sustainability Package has been published on the PBS website.

Included are 19 that explain the various components of the 6th Community Pharmacy Agreement.

Also now available is a signed copy of the Agreement.

Click here to access the Fact Sheets.

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No backing for S3 ads from consumers : 29/06/2015 :

The Consumers Health Forum (CHF) has welcomed what it describes as the 'cautious approach' taken towards the review of Schedule 3 advertising guidelines proposed in the Sansom Review of TGA Regulation.

"While some in the medications industry have argued for advertising, citing consumer benefits, CHF and health experts tend to oppose it on the grounds such advertising could encourage inappropriate and possibly hazardous use", said CHF CEO Leanne Wells.

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Health Industry Forum meets : 29/06/2015 :

The first meeting of the Health Industry Forum - a group formed following the abolition in December last year of the Pharmaceutical Industry Working Group - was held in Canberra last week.

The meeting was hosted by Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane, Health Minister Sussan Ley and Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash and, according to Medicines Australia "provided an opportunity for government and industry to work together to highlight opportunities for future investment and growth in areas such as clinical trials and the manufacture of innovative, new medicines in Australia".

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PBS listing date for Keytruda announced : 29/06/2015 :

Melanoma drug Keytruda will be PBS listed from 1 September 2015. 

Announcing the listing yesterday Prime Minister Tony Abbott said it would make the $150,000 per year treatment affordable for patients.

The listing follows passage of the Government’s PBS reform package through the Senate last week and, according to Mr Abbott "delivers on our promise to list new medicines as quickly as possible".

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TGA (Sansom) Review hands down its report : 26/06/2015 :

An Independent Review of Australian Medicines and Medical Devices Regulation, led by Emeritus Professor Lloyd Sansom AO, has handed down its first report, making a number of recommendations for change.

The Review, which commenced in October 2014, set out to assess the current Australian regulatory framework and make recommendations on options to improve the way in which therapeutic goods are regulated.

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Investment opportunity : 26/06/2015 :

An opportunity exists for pharmacists to invest in medlab, a nutritional pharmaceutical company developing bacteria based medicine, with a focus on the role of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.

Human trials are underway in obesity and drug-resistant depression.

medlab is awaiting NSW Health approval to conduct research on the use of medicinal cannabis in the treatment of pain.

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Minister goes after big pharma on access to new drugs : 26/06/2015 :

Health Minister Sussan Ley has latched onto parts of the Sansom Review of Australian Medicines and Medical Devices Regulation to criticise pharma companies for delaying bringing new drugs into Australia.

However, Medicines Australia says any delays arise from 'the TGA’s burdensome pre-submission period', changing government policy and ‘many other impediments which slow down the process of getting a new medicine to patients in Australia’.

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Guild: we got what we wanted : 25/06/2015 :

Pharmacy Guild Executive Director David Quilty said yesterday that, in signing the 6th Community Pharmacy Agreement, the Guild had achieved its four 'core' objectives.

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More praise for new report urging greater emphasis on self care : 25/06/2015 :

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) has joined the Pharmacy Guild in welcoming calls for greater integration of self care into national health policy.

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Poll: pharmacist hand hygiene : 24/06/2015 :

A recent article in The Age newspaper - Low hand washing compliance rates in public hospitals increasing superbug risk - got us thinking about the hand hygiene practices of pharmacists, both in hospital and community pharmacies.

In many workplaces hand hygiene education is required to be completed by all staff annually but AusPharm's sense of things is that hand hygiene is an issue to which little attention is paid by pharmacists, particularly in community pharmacies.

Does your pharmacy have a formal approach to hand hygiene? Do you adhere to hand hygiene principles? Please let us know what your practice is by ticking the relevant box in today's AusPharm poll.

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PBS / Agreement legislation passes Senate : 24/06/2015 :

The Senate yesterday passed the PBS Health Amendment (Pharmaceutical Benefits) Bill 2015, giving effect to the government's PBS Access and Sustainability Package and the 6th Community Pharmacy Agreement, including a 5 year extension of the pharmacy Location Rules.

The Senate vote followed a recommendation earlier in the day from the Senate Economics Legislation Committee - which had conducted a brief inquiry into the legislation – that t be passed without amendment.

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But agreement with peak pharma body falls over : 24/06/2015 :

After extended negotiations between the government and peak pharma group Medicines Australia (MA) to try and strike a 'Strategic Agreement', the government yesterday abandoned the negotiation.

The Agreement aimed to provide some stability and clarity for the local medicines industry in return for supporting a $6.6 billion savings package of which $4.2 billion was to directly affect Medicines Australia member companies.

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New report urges more self care, enhanced role for pharmacy : 24/06/2015 :

A new report launched yesterday by Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley recommends a number of measures to increase the level of 'self care' in Australian consumers.

Prepared by the Global Access Partners (GAP) Taskforce on Self Care, the report - Towards Responsible Self Care: The Role of Health Literacy, Pharmacy and Non-Prescription Medicines- sets out recommendations for government, consumers, health professionals, industry and private health insurers to increase uptake of self care.

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Sigma supporting Pharmacists' Support Service : 24/06/2015 :

The Pharmacists’ Support Service (PSS) has been given a boost through a donation of $2,500 from Sigma. 

The donation will be put towards further training for the volunteer pharmacists who provide the service and raising awareness that the service is available to all Australian pharmacists, pharmacy interns and students.

Mark Hooper, Sigma Managing Director and CEO said "Sigma is pleased to provide assistance to the Pharmacists’ Support Service.  Sigma continues to be a strong supporter of community pharmacy, and recognises the important role pharmacists play as the most accessible healthcare providers in community health.  So it is important that organisations like PSS are available to support the pharmacists."

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