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AusPharm news

2010 Guide to PSA programs released : 06/01/2010 :

The 2010 Guide to PSA programs, which details the wide range of activities on offer, has been released on the PSA website here. PSA members will receive a hard copy of ther Guide with the January edition of the PSA journal, Australian Pharmacist.

Pharmacists have a clear responsibility during their career to continually maintain and grow their professional practice. According to PSA, its extensive Professional Development and Practice Support programs are specifically designed to facilitate this.

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NPS warns on quinine : 06/01/2010 :

According to the National Prescribing Service (NPS), doctors are continuing to prescribe quinine for purposes other than malaria and are putting people’s health at risk as a result.

In years gone by quinine was approved for the prevention of muscle cramp, however approval was withdrawn by the TGA in 2004 because the risk of thrombocytopenia (decreased platelet count) outweighs quinine’s modest efficacy.

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Location Rules : 06/01/2010 :

In a post to AusPharmList yesterday, Michael Scavone questioned why the decision to preserve the pharmacy Location Rules was made before the outcome of a current review was known.

We asked the Department of Health and Ageing for a comment and a spokesperson told us that:

"The Australian Government and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia have agreed in good faith the broad direction of the upcoming Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement, and within that context to retain the Location Rules. The Agreement does enable the Location Rules to be varied by consent of both parties based, for example, on the findings of the Location Rules review. Changes have occurred over the past five years and this includes changes to location rules after agreement from both parties."

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Louis Roller headline act at offshore conference : 05/01/2010 :

Delegates to the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s Expedition Education conference in February will have the opportunity to hear one of Australia’s leading pharmacy educators, Louis Roller.
 
Honorary Associate Professor Louis Roller will speak on a variety of topics including ‘psychosocial aspects of pharmacy practice’,  ‘pharmacy and  complementary medicines’, ‘pharmacy and vitamins’,  ‘old drugs, new tricks’, ’drugs behaving badly’ and ‘understanding your liver’.

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Pharmacy History needs a hand : 05/01/2010 :

Author of today's feature, Geoff Miller, Secretary of the Australian Academy of the History of Pharmacy has advised us that the publication of its journal Pharmacy History Australia, has temporarily ceased, as the Academy can't find an editor to take over from Geoff.

Hopefully a pharmacy history enthusiast can be found to take over the role as there is a real need to preserve the history of the profession across a diverse range of interests as an extension of the more formal texts that we are fortunate to have.

The Journal has another important role in providing a venue for pharmacists and students to have their research interests published in an economical way.

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Here's another test for the OFs : 04/01/2010 :

Last week's 'What's this then' challenge created a fair bit if interest. There were more than 20 responses (not all were published) the best of which, in our opinion, came from Michael Rumpff, who wins the AusPharm pen we had on offer.

What about this one? What is it and what can you tell us about it's use(s)? Another pen for the 'best' response (click the pic to see a larger version).

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Yet another Panadol variant : 04/01/2010 :

In an increasingly competitive consumer analgesic marketplace, one of the standard tricks of the trade to hold market share is to add a new product to the range.

The latest example, released by GSK this month, is Panadol Caplets with Optizorb.

According to GSK the new product disintegrates and dissolves more rapidly in the stomach, leading to 25% faster absorption than regular Panadol caplets.

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Pharmacists look to the future with mixed feelings : 31/12/2009 :

Last week's poll asked 'listers to tell us how they see community pharmacy's prospects over the next 5 years, now that the basics of the 5th Community Pharmacy Agreement have been announced.

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TGA SSRI, atypical antipsychotics safety report released : 30/12/2009 :

In August 2008 the TGA established an independent panel of psychiatrists and epidemiologists to undertake a review of SSRIs and atypical antipsychotic medicines. The panel was tasked with undertaking a detailed review of the safety of these particular psychiatric medications. It has now completed its work and its report has been made public.

The panel concluded that the risk-benefit balance for each of these medicines remains positive and that they are an effective part of treatment regimens for patients with certain psychiatric conditions.

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Location rules safe, but there's a price to pay : 29/12/2009 :

Guild members will have mix feelings about the Christmas Eve announcement that an in principle agreement has been reached between the Guild and government on the basic components of the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement.

The holy grail for pharmacy owners, the location rules, will be preserved but there is a significant price to pay with a 40c decrease in remuneration paid per claimable script as a result of the demise of the PBS online incentive.

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Happy New Year : 29/12/2009 :

AusPharm wishes you all the best for 2010.

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November PBS stats : 29/12/2009 :

Medicare Australia released PBS stats for November just before Christmas.

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Poll: how will the next five years be for community pharmacy? : 29/12/2009 :

In light of the government's health reform agenda and the Christmas Eve announcement on the basic structure of the 5th Community Pharmacy Agreement, how do you feel about community pharmacy's prospects in the next five years?

Please let us know by voting in today's AusPharm poll below.

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Industry: medicines the top Australian hi-tech export : 29/12/2009 :

According to a new fact book published by peak Pharma group Medicines Australia, Australia’s pharmaceutical industry has overtaken road vehicles to become the nation’s largest hi-tech exporter.

“The information in Facts Book is a timely reminder of the importance the pharmaceutical industry has to the welfare of Australians, not only as a source of new therapies for treating illness, but also as an employer, an exporter and an innovative industry for Australia,” said Medicines Australia acting chief executive Dr Brendan Shaw.

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New pharmacist registration standards finalised : 29/12/2009 :

On 22 December The Pharmacy Board of Australia finalised its proposals on registration standards and related matters for submission to the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council for approval.

The proposals are based on responses to the Board's consultation paper and subsequent refinement by the Board.

Read them here.

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More cold tablets to go into grocery? : 27/12/2009 :

The National Drugs and Poisons Schedule Committee (NDPSC) last week released details of agenda items for its February, 2010 meeting.

Likely to be of interest to 'listers is a proposal to downschedule (S2 --> unscheduled) paracetamol / phenylephrine / guaiphenesin tablets.

The NDPSC will also look at a proposal to include pantoprazole in Appendix H, thereby allowing its direct to consumer advertising.

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Sydney Hobart Yacht Race : 26/12/2009 :

Keep track of the fleet on the official web site here.

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Half of all pharmacists to work over Christmas : 24/12/2009 :

This week's poll confirmed the hypothesis we put on Tuesday - that pharmacists, like other health professionals, would not get the full four day break that 'normal' workers get.

Just over half of those responding to our poll have to work for a few hours at least over the Christmas break with 25% working one or more full days. This is a little different to 'the good old days' when pharmacies had a local area roster system to cover the Christmas period.

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Mirixa Christmas carol : 24/12/2009 :

One of our good friends at the Guild National Secretariat sent along this little Christmas ditty yesterday.

It was performed by "The Jolly Beans" choir, made up of National Secretariat staff, at their Christmas party last Friday.

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NPS: mixing medicines, alcohol and sun can be a recipe for trouble : 23/12/2009 :

Over the festive season, the National Prescribing Service (NPS) is reminding people to think about lifestyle factors that can reduce the effectiveness of medicines including drinking alcohol and spending time in the sun.

“Holidays might mean a break from the normal daily routine but unfortunately health doesn’t get a break. Any medicines people normally take on a regular basis should be continued along with lifestyle habits like eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise,” NPS CEO, Dr Lynn Weekes said.

NPS are referring people seeking information about whether their medicines interact with alcohol or increase sun sensitivity to the relevant CMI or to their doctor or pharmacist.

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