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AusPharm news

Pharmacists say no to script only for kiddies cough and cold meds : 30/10/2009 :

The result of this week's AusPharm poll, which asked listers to comment on the TGA's proposal to make cough and cold preparations for the under sixes script only, show that pharmacists are overwhelmingly against the idea.

Fully 90% of respondents to the poll (n=186) say that these products should either stay in the same schedule they're in now or move to schedule 3 (if they're not there already).

If the pharmacy organisations were in any doubt as to how they should respond to the TGA's request for comment on its proposals, they certainly won't be now!

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NPS stroke prevention program : 30/10/2009 :

The National Prescribing Service (NPS) has used World Stroke Day 2009 yesterday to encourage health professionals to participate in the NPS therapeutic program, Antiplatelet and anticoagulant therapy in stroke prevention.

More than 5720 health professionals across Australia have already taken the opportunity to participate in NPS professional development activities focusing on stroke prevention.

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Mirixa Australia spreads its wings : 29/10/2009 :

Mirixa Australia yesterday announced the launch of a new program that will see a 'Clinical Trial Patient Referral Program' run through Mirixa Australia pharmacies.  Different to the current compliance programs on offer, this new opportunity will see pharmacists referring on patients who may be candidates for a clinical trial.

Pharmacies will utilise the MirixaFind software utility and will be paid a professional service fee for referral.  The Program will be run in partnership with GlaxoSmithKline.

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View from the pharmacy door - win a free AusPharm premium sub : 29/10/2009 :

We've had a few good photos submitted in our View from the pharmacy door photo competition however, at present we'd have to award the prize to ourselves for this photo of Mt Wellington taken from Channel Pharmacy in Hobart.

There still time to stop us from doing that so get your entry in and remember - we'll choose the best photo submitted before Christmas and award an AusPharm premium subscription (or extension to existing sub) to the winning photographer.

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Delaat pushes sustainable PBS message in National Press Club speech : 29/10/2009 :

The Pharmaceutical Benefits scheme is a robust policy instrument with which none of the Government’s many health reviews has identified a systemic problem, Medicines Australia chairman Will Delaat told the National Press Club yesterday.

“For all the dysfunction and cost-shifting across the broader health system that has prompted the Rudd Government’s health reforms, the PBS remains a model of effectiveness, efficiency, stability and sound management,” Mr Delaat said.

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Poll: kiddies cough and cold mixtures : 28/10/2009 :

Last week the TGA announced that cough and cold preparations for under sixes would soon go to script only. According to the TGA, there is little good evidence of efficacy and there are risks involved in their use.

How do 'listers feel about this? Is it *a good thing* or is this an example of a nanny state gone wild?

Please let us know what you think in today's poll below.

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New National Board releases Consultation paper : 28/10/2009 :

The Pharmacy Board of Australia met for the second time last week and, according to Board President Steve Marty, the main focus of the meeting was discussion of the proposals that are the subject of the consultation process commenced today with the release on the Board's website of the Consultation paper on registration standards and related matters.

The paper canvasses a number of issues including standards on requirements for professional indemnity insurance, matters about the criminal history of applicants for registration, requirements for continuing professional development, requirements for English language skills and requirements in relation to previous practice, and registration standards for supervised practice and examinations.

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Community pharmacy’s role in diabetes management : 28/10/2009 :

The University of Canberra’s National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM) released a report yesterday which estimates that one in seven Australians, or around 14 per cent of the population, will suffer with the disease in 2050. That’s nearly twice the current prevalence of type 2 diabetes, and a major challenge for health planners.

As part of the study, NATSEM examined five current evidence-based diabetes management initiatives, including the Pharmacy Guild’s Diabetes Medication Assistance Service (DMAS).

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Boost for clinical trials in Australia : 28/10/2009 :

The federal government yesterday announced the creation of an Action Group to assist in cementing the nation’s position as a good place for the conduct of clinical trials.

Health Minister Nicola Minister Roxon said it was important that clinical trials were conducted in Australia where possible. “Phase I–IV trials are worth $450 million each year to Australia. Global rationalisation trends and emerging competition from low-cost centres threaten Australia’s long term competitiveness as a destination for pharmaceuticals clinical trials,” she said.

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Top award for Medicines Australia chairman : 28/10/2009 :

Medicines Australia chairman Will Delaat has been named the 2009 winner of the Pat Clear Award, the pharmaceutical industry’s most prestigious award.

The Pat Clear Award is the innovative pharmaceutical industry’s most coveted award. It is presented annually to recognise an outstanding level of commitment by an individual, group or team for the benefit of the Australian pharmaceutical industry.

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AusPharm CE: RGH E-Bulletin Digest No. 17 : 27/10/2009 :

The next in our 2009 series of continuing education activities is the RGH E-Bulletin Digest No. 17.

This CE activity assesses your understanding of four recent RGH Pharmacy E-Bulletins (Volumes 35-6 to 35-9  --> September - October 2009).

After completing this activity, pharmacists should be able to:

  • Understand important drug interactions with urinary alkalinisers
  • Describe important clinical aspects of refeeding syndrome
  • Discuss the management of thiamine deficiency
  • Describe the clinical pharmacology of bevacizumab

Click here to do this Continuing Education activity. Or, if you prefer, you might like to take a look at our other CE activities here .

AusPharm gratefully acknowledges the financial support provided by the sponsors of our CE program, MIMS.

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Pain relievers and asthma – a new counselling aid for pharmacy : 27/10/2009 :

As 'listers will know, aspirin and other NSAIDs can provoke asthma or rhinitis symptoms in some people with asthma, yet many others can take these medications with very low risk of an asthma reaction.

The National Asthma Council has developed a new resource for pharmacists and pharmacy assistants, ‘Pain relievers and asthma: quick reference guide’,  to assist them when supplying analgesics to people with asthma. The resource includes an update of the evidence on aspirin-intolerant asthma and a flowchart of the essential questions to ask patients requesting pain reliever medications.

Get it here.

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Australian Pharmacy Council’s Examining Committee Seeking New Members : 27/10/2009 :

The Australian Pharmacy Council’s Examining Committee is seeking new members.

Applications are invited from overseas trained pharmacists who have registered in Australia as a result of completing the APC examination process, and anyone with a pharmacy academic/lecturing/research background.

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Reports of PBS windfall for pharmacy dismissed by Guild : 27/10/2009 :

According to the Pharmacy Guild, claims flowing from a report on PBS sustainability released yesterday that pharmacy will be the 'big winners' from PBS reform are unfounded.

The report, conducted by the Centre for Strategic Economic Studies at Victoria University, does however confirm Access Economics research commissioned by the Pharmacy Guild, the key points of which were announced at the APP conference in April, that government savings as a result of PBS reforms will be much greater than first thought. The new report found that, over 10 years to 2017-18, PBS reform will deliver savings to the government of $6 billion – $3 billion more than the Government had banked on.

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RGH E-Bulletin: Treatment-emergent affective switch : 26/10/2009 :

"Antidepressants are commonly used as adjuncts to mood-stabilising agents such as lithium or sodium valproate for patients with bipolar affective disorder. It has been reported that treatment with antidepressants may be associated with the induction of episodes of mania or hypomania in 15-40% of bipolar patients. The phenomenon of abnormal mood elevation during antidepressant treatment, or ‘treatment-emergent affective switch’ was first described in association with tricyclic antidepressants, and has now been reported for all major antidepressant classes."

Click here to read this E-Bulletin in full. The E-Bulletins are archived on the AusPharmList website here.

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No surprises in September PBS costs : 26/10/2009 :

September PBS dispensing statistics, released on Friday, show that 15 million PBS scripts were dispensed during the month at a total cost to government of $15.5 million, representing growth of 3.3% in absolute script numbers and 12.4% in dollar costs compared to September 2008.

Year to date figures show growth of 9.2% in absolute script numbers to 147.3 million (2008 - 134.8) and growth in dollar terms of 13.6% to $5.67 billion (2008 - $4.99 billion).

Click the link to see a detailed breakdown of costs by therapeutic groups, with high growth areas flagged.

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Cough and cold preps for under sixes to go : 26/10/2009 :

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is recommending that cough and cold preparations not be used in children under 6 and for children between 6 and 12, used only on the advice of a doctor or pharmacist.

The TGA said on Friday that says, "....in light of the current lack of evidence of efficacy and the historical profile of adverse drug reactions (ADRs) in Australia and overseas, it is likely that the risks associated with the use of cough and cold preparations in children outweigh the likely benefits for children below the age of 6 years. There is currently a lack of evidence of efficacy for cough and cold medicines in children aged 6 to 12 years of age and the historical profile of ADRs indicates that there are potential risks involved in use of these medicines in that age group also."

As a result, the TGA is recommending a number of changes to the labelling, packaging and scheduling of the relevant products. You can read the details here.

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PSA welcomes progress on preventive health : 26/10/2009 :

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) has welcomed passage of legislation through the House of Representatives last week that marks a large step forward in improving the health of Australians.  Pending consideration of the legislation in the Senate, Australia should have its first National Preventive Health Agency ready to commence activities from 1 January 2010.
 
PSA’s National President, Mr Warwick Plunkett, said the establishment of this long-overdue national agency was a key recommendation of the final report of the Preventative Health Taskforce and is strongly supported by PSA.

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Poll: PSE - S4, S3 or off the market? : 23/10/2009 :

This week's poll was a repeat of one we ran in December 2007 and asked 'listers what should be done with the scheduling of pseudo*phedr*ne containing products.This was prompted by media reports last weekend that NSW Police were pushing for all PSE containing products to go to S4.

The result of this week's poll shows that pharmacists overwhelmingly support the status quo - we suspect that if we'd included a 'status quo with mandatory Project STOP' , the level of overall support might have been even higher.

Of interest is that significantly fewer respondents chose the 'off the market' or schedule 4' options than did so in 2003, perhaps reflecting the more widespread use of (and acceptance of) Project STOP compared to 2007.

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Alcohol remains number one on drug treatment list : 23/10/2009 :

Alcohol continues to be the number one drug of concern for Australians seeking treatment for drug or alcohol issues, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia 2007-08: report on the National Minimum Data Set, found that treatment for alcohol issues has continued to increase, with treatment for alcohol comprising 44% of treatment episodes in 2007-08 compared with 38% in 2002-03.

According to Amber Jefferson of the Institute’s Drug Surveys and Services Unit, alcohol treatment was followed by treatments for cannabis (22% of treatment episodes), amphetamines (11%) and heroin (11%).

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