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AusPharm news

Auslan interpreter for PSA15 : 23/06/2015 :

Selected sessions at the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s upcoming PSA 15 conference will feature an Auslan interpreter to enable deaf and hearing impaired people get the most out of the conference.

PSA 15 combines PSA’s two previous key onshore conferences the NSW Branch’s CPExpo and the national event, PAC.

PSA says it has considered the needs of both industry and its members to arrive at the new formula it hopes will deliver results for everyone sponsors, industry and delegates.

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New White Paper looks at simplified and online CMIs : 23/06/2015 :

A new White Paper produced by the Electronic Data Working Group (which numbers amongst its members Guild IT company GuildCare) examines ways in which Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) leaflets might be improved.

In particular it looks at options for delivering CMIs electronically utilising display on either a desktop, laptop or tablet computer screen.

All pharmacists know CMIs are not always clearly understood by patients and their carers, often due to the complex medical language and poor visual presentation.

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More Grattan criticism of PBS policy : 23/06/2015 :

Better implementation of the PBS therapeutic group premium policy could save taxpayers an additional $320 million a year say Grattan Institute researchers Stephen Duckett and Peter Breadon in a new report published yesterday.

The therapeutic group premium policy, introduced in 1998, sees the government subsidising the price of only the cheapest drug in a therapeutic class with drug companies making drugs in that class having the choice to either accept that price, or pass on the extra direct cost to patients.

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Ley pressures senate to pass PBS bill : 23/06/2015 :

In a move designed to put pressure on the Senate to pass the PBS Health Amendment (Pharmaceutical Benefits) Bill 2015, giving effect to the government's PBS Access and Sustainability Package, Health Minister Sussan Ley yesterday detailed 'the significant benefits to be brought about by the Abbott Government’s proposed improvements to the pricing of generic medicines'.

"In just over 12 months’ time patients could be seeing the price of their everyday medications fall by as much as $60 to $250 per drug per year if our proposed reform package passes the Senate this week,” Ms Ley said.

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TGA: No need for routine blood monitoring with NOACs : 22/06/2015 :

A recently completed TGA review has found that there is no current evidence to support routine blood monitoring in patients using the new oral anticoagulants (apixaban (Eliquis), dabigatran (Pradaxa) and rivaroxaban (Xarelto).

The TGA undertook the review following recent publication of articles in the medical literature which suggested that the safety of these medicines could be improved if routine blood monitoring was undertaken.

Details of the TGA review are here.

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July 2015 PBS schedule : 22/06/2015 :

Download the PBS schedule Summary of Changes

N.B. Prices in this version of the Schedule may be incorrect. This error applies to items where the price to pharmacists is between $180.00 and $2089.71. A complete list of these items with the correct price is here (Excel spreadsheet).

Download the PBS schedule

Download the PBS Efficient Funding of Chemotherapy Summary of Changes

Download the PBS Efficient Funding of Chemotherapy - full Supplement

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RGH E‑Bulletin: Lorcaserin – a new weight-loss drug : 22/06/2015 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Lorcaserin – a new weight-loss drug.

"Rates of overweight and obesity have been increasing at an alarming rate in Australia over the last two decades. Obesity negatively affects quality of life in many ways, by increasing morbidity risk and reducing life expectancy. Despite being preventable, overweight and obesity continue to be major problems in the Australian population. Conventional lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise are first-line and effective in producing weight-loss; however without motivation and proper instruction these changes can revert back to old habits such as a sedentary lifestyle and a high-calorie intake diet."

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

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Union support for supermarket pharmacies revealed : 22/06/2015 :

A confidential submission from employee pharmacist union Professional Pharmacists Australia to last year's Harper Review of National Competition Policy offers support from the union for the abolition of both pharmacy Location Rules and ownership restrictions. It specifically suggests supermarket ownership of pharmacies could both encourage innovation and reduce ‘government subsidy of distribution’.

The union submission - seen by AusPharm - contends that location rules are 'more about protecting the current owners and are not a serious attempt to ensure that patients are able to easily access prescription drug

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Tight 6CPA timeline challenges dispense software providers : 22/06/2015 :

The peak body representing software vendors who develop software for healthcare - including all software vendors who provide software for community pharmacy - has warned that not all providers will be ready to implement all 6th Community Pharmacy Agreement (6CPA) programs on 1 July.

In a submission to the Senate Economics Legislation Committee's inquiry into the PBS Health Amendment (Pharmaceutical Benefits) Bill 2015, the Medical Software Industry Association (MSIA) spelt out that, because the 6CPA business rules were only made public in mid June, software vendors have not had enough time to complete their preparations with normal development cycles requiring at least 6 weeks - more for the complex changes that are required for the 1st of July.

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Level playing field should apply with short supply drugs : 19/06/2015 :

Pharmacists are overwhelmingly opposed to the practice of some suppliers of preferentially supplying 'short supply' PBS drugs to their best customers, according to the results of this week's AusPharm poll.

The poll followed reports that some larger banner groups are, on occasion, able to secure supplies of drugs know to be in short supply when smaller, independent, pharmacies are not.

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PBS legislation progressing - slowly : 19/06/2015 :

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Evidence based Complementary and Alternative Medicines – are you prepared for CAM? : 18/06/2015 :

Develop your evidence-based knowledge and skills in CAM, so you can keep up with the growing use of complementary medicines and provide informed advice to your customers.

The University of Tasmania has a special offer in 2015 for health professionals interested in studying this course.

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The secret ingredient: can we turn up the heat on experiential education : 18/06/2015 :

The Australian Pharmacy Council (APC) will be holding its 3rd annual Colloquium in Canberra on Tuesday 25 August. The theme this year is The secret ingredient: can we turn up the heat on experiential education.

The education of health professionals is designed to develop the appropriate knowledge, skills and attitudes required for practice. An essential component or ingredient of health professional education is experiential learning.

Experiential learning is where the student and intern develops the foundation communication and clinical skills for professional practice. A range of models exist including face to face and simulated activities that vary from university to university, across student year levels and the internship year.

As contemporary pharmacy practice evolves in response to regulatory, educational, professional and societal needs so too has experiential learning.  Students and interns undertake experiential learning in a range of settings facilitated from within the profession by pharmacists and by other health providers. A key focus is to turn the facts or theory learned into value to meet individual patient needs in real life situations. Students also use this time to develop professionalism to ensure that they transition from the student role to that of the pharmacist professional.

This year’s Colloquium is an opportunity to discuss the intersection of education and practice along the continuum from student to practitioner. It is also your chance to network with colleagues and hear about experiences from a diverse range of settings and overseas.

Registration for the event is available at www.pharmacycouncil.org.au.

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AusPharm CE: RGH Pharmacy E-Bulletin Digest Issue No.82 : 18/06/2015 :

The next in our 2015 series of continuing professional development activities is the RGH E-Bulletin Digest No. 82.

This CPD activity assesses your understanding of four recent RGH Pharmacy E-Bulletins, Volumes 57-12→58-3 (March/April 2015).

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Joe Demarte elected PSA President : 18/06/2015 :

Victorian community pharmacy owner Joe Demarte has been elected as the new National President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA). 

Mr Demarte takes over from South Australian Grant Kardachi who has served the full term allowed under the PSA Constitution.

The PSA Board also elected Michelle Lynch (Victoria) and Jeff Hughes (WA) as Vice-Presidents.

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October PBS price disclosure prices published : 18/06/2015 :

The full list of October 1 PBS price reductions flowing from the next cycle of price disclosure was published yesterday on the PBS Price Disclosure web page.

The PBS return prices of over 70 molecules will drop by between 10% and 45% on that date.

Amongst the molecules of most interest to community pharmacists are atorvastatin which will drop in price by a further 26%, rosuvastatin (24%), quetiapine (23%) and olanzapine (25%).

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Details of $372m chemotherapy funding package announced : 17/06/2015 :

The federal government yesterday made public the details of a new 5 year chemotherapy funding package which it says will ensure Australians continue to have timely access to life-saving chemotherapy drugs, no matter where they live in Australia and provide medicine compounders with the certainty needed to viably continue to deliver chemotherapy drugs on demand.

The package - part of the 6th Community Pharmacy Agreement - includes a new tiered payment system as well as a faster direct payment system that will cut down on wait times for reimbursement.

Health Minister Sussan Ley said yesterday the new package delivers a 30 per cent increase in overall funding compared to current funding arrangements.

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PSA and NAPSA cement relationship : 17/06/2015 :

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) and The National Australian Pharmacy Students’ Association (NAPSA) have renewed their Memorandum of Understanding for another two years.

The MOU aims to further develop the strong working relationships between the two organisations and seeks to ensure that pharmacy students are well supported and their interests are well represented. It also endeavours to provide the basis for ongoing support in the pharmacy profession after students graduate from university.

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Poll: should short supply drugs be distributed more 'fairly'? : 17/06/2015 :

Out of stocks are a seemingly ever present issue in pharmacies now BUT sometimes the big banner groups are apparently managing to get stock while smaller, independent pharmacies can't.

‘The GPs become really sh*tty when you ring and say there is no stock (of, for example, norfloxacin) available and the GP then tells the patient to go to XYZ chemist as they guarantee supply’.

One wonders whether PBS 'universal access' principles (or the CSO) allows this preferential treatment? Is it fair that supply is managed this way or should the PBS 'universal access' principle or perhaps a 'level playing field' principle require that short supply drugs be distributed more 'fairly'.

Please let us know what you think by voting in today's AusPharm poll.

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Union launches membership push to CW pharmacists : 17/06/2015 :

In a move presumably designed to recruit members from the Chemist Warehouse (CW) group, employee pharmacist union Professional Pharmacists Australia (PPA) has launched a social media campaign highlighting that CW pharmacists are paid at a rate well below the industry average.

According to the union its annual salary review found that the average wage for a pharmacist employed at Chemist Warehouse is $5.61 an hour hour below the industry average. This, says PPA, equates to $213.18 / week or $11,085 / year for employees and saves the CW group collectively over $9 million a year in wages costs.

View the PPA Facebook post here and a YouTube video here.

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