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AusPharm news

Swine flu resources for pharmacy : 31/08/2009 :

AusPharm has put together a page with links to resources likely to be of use to those of us who will be at the front line.

We'd love to have suggestions for links to include on the page. Thanks to those who have already sent along additional links- we've added these where appropriate.

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RGH E-Bulletin: Drug interactions with urinary alkalinisers : 31/08/2009 :

"Urinary alkalinisers are used to relieve the discomfort associated with urinary tract infections, help treat certain types of renal stones, or may be used in the specialist setting to treat some metabolic and renal disorders. All of the urinary alkaliniser preparations available on the Australian market are unscheduled preparations. People who purchase or are prescribed these preparations may well be taking other medications which could potentially interact if taken concomitantly with the urinary alkaliniser."

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

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It's 'Ask Your Pharmacist' week : 31/08/2009 :

The 2009 Ask Your Pharmacist week starts today and will run through until Saturday. It will be officially launched on Wednesday morning by Health Minister Nicola Roxon at a morning tea in Melbourne. Guild personnel will be appearing on radio during the week and the Ask Your Pharmacist website has been given a make-over.

The key message being put across during the week is that 'Community pharmacy is here to help you'.

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Some other questions to ask your pharmacist : 31/08/2009 :

A 'lister has sent along some other questions pharmacists might be asked during the week and comments that:

"I feel that, as pharmacists, we should be able to answer these questions. Most would be able to answer why only pharmacists should own pharmacies, but some of the other questions (like lunch breaks, maximum number of scripts, 50% off etc), might prove trickier!"

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Guild welcomes Minister’s award intervention : 31/08/2009 :

Late last week, in response to Pharmacy Guild concerns, Workplace Relations Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard moved to make changes to the proposed Pharmacy Industry Award 2010.

Additional penalty rate costs will now be phased in over 5 years and the Australian Industrial Relations Commission will now take another look at some parts of the proposed award to ensure hours of work and overtime penalty arrangements do not discourage employers from offering additional work to part-time employees.

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PAC session on patient self-monitoring with warfarin therapy : 31/08/2009 :

As part of the AACP program at this year’s Pharmacy Australia Congress, a session presented by Dr Luke Bereznicki will provide some context to the appropriate use of antithrombotic agents available including some background into thrombosis and its consequences, the rationale for pharmacotherapy, appropriate drug choice and the importance of clinical monitoring.

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Poll: cost of opioid replacement therapy (methadone, bup.) : 28/08/2009 :

In the context of last week's Australian newspaper story on the cost of opioid replacement therapy (here) which made the claim that "HEROIN addicts are being deterred from entering methadone treatment programs by high costs often exceeding $400 a month..." we thought we'd ask you what it really costs.

The results confirm what 'listers had been telling us in emails, that the weekly cost of opioid replacement therapy in most locations is $5 a day or less.

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PSA SA Pharmacist of the Year : 28/08/2009 :

Irfan Hashmi, with his wife Sobia, owner of four pharmacies in country SA, has won this year's prize as South Australia's PSA Pharmacist of the Year. Irfan and Sobia are shown at right - click the picture for a larger version.

The Hashmi's pharmacies are in Port Pirie, Coober Pedy, Orroroo and Quorn. All of the pharmacies were opened within the last two years - Orroroo, Coober Pedy & Quorn did not have pharmacies before then. The PSA award celebrates and rewards excellence in pharmacy.

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New codeine education program to launch soon : 28/08/2009 :

The Manage Pain - effectively, safely, responsibly codeine education program will soon be launched in Australian pharmacies. The aim of the program is to ensure over-the-counter (OTC) codeine combination analgesics are taken correctly by consumers. 

The program was put together by a working group convened by Nurofen Plus manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser in June 2008. Representatives from the PSA, the Guild, the NSW and Victorian Health Departments and a consumer provided advice on the suite of materials developed.

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Difficult economic times? I don't think so, says Blackmores : 28/08/2009 :

Blackmores released its results yesterday for the full year to June 30 2009. The company reported an increase in net profit of $20.8million (+9%) on the back of an increase in overall revenue of $201million (+12%).

It is the seventh consecutive year of both revenue growth and profit growth for the company.

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Intern Training Program standards for pharmacy - comments invited : 28/08/2009 :

The Australian Pharmacy Council (APC) has decided to accredit Intern Training Programs (ITPs) in Australia and has invited comments on the ITP standards it has developed.

In New Zealand the Pharmacy Council has already accredited an ITP and to ensure nationally consistent ITPs of good quality across Australia and New Zealand, it had been decided that the APC will also accredit ITPs in Australia. To achieve this the APC and PCNZ have developed a set of ITP Standards which will form the basis of the Accreditation Framework for Intern Training Programs in Australia and New Zealand. These Standards are a combination of Australian and New Zealand requirements and as such are written in a manner to accommodate both countries.

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PSA: Study highlights effectiveness of Home Medicines Reviews : 28/08/2009 :

Referring to a study published this week in Circulation, PSA president Warwick Plunkett said the study clearly demonstrated that HMRs were an effective and accessible way of reducing hospitalisations through medication misadventure.

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How many members does the Pharmacist's Division of APESMA have? : 27/08/2009 :

Last month, when the Guild and APESMA were engaging in some argy bargy as to who should be party to the negotiations for the 5th Community Pharmacy Agreement Guild President, Kos Sclavos said in an email to AusPharm: "How many paid up pharmacist members are in the Pharmacist’s Division of APESMA (PDA)? I say the Greek/Australian Pharmacists Association would have more members than APESMA. They have a much stronger case for saying they represent pharmacists than APESMA. Does that mean they too should have a seat at the negotiating table?"

AusPharm has asked PDA in the past how many members it has but the Union has declined to tell us (including in response to emails in the last few days). Well, perhaps we now know the answer. Or do we?

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Pharmacists’ role in mental health highlighted : 27/08/2009 :

The Pharmacy Australia Congress this year will present a wide range of concurrent sessions covering subjects of clinical and professional interest for all pharmacists.

The four concurrent session themes this year are Advanced Clinical Practice, Professional Practice, Therapeutic Updates and Credentialed Programs.

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RUM Project Chair applauds Chemmart Pharmacy initiative : 27/08/2009 :

Chair of the Return Unwanted Medicines (RUM) Project, Dipak Sanghvi, has congratulated Chemmart Pharmacy for its September catalogue promotion of the RUM Project to consumers.
The promotion commences today and runs until the end of September.

Mr Sanghvi said: "This is an outstanding initiative for the third consecutive year with Chemmart providing 550,000 disposable paper bags nationally to consumers for collections in the home during the September promotion. It provides another example of the services provided by community pharmacies across Australia".

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AusPharm CE: Grapefruit interactions : 26/08/2009 :

The latest AusPharm CE topic is Grapefruit interactions - it's been put together for us by Australian pharmacist, Debbie Rigby.

"Grapefruit juice (GFJ) has been shown to interact with the metabolism of many drugs. A single glass of grapefruit juice can significantly increase the amount in the blood of more than 100 common medications, including cardiovascular drugs, antihistamines, anti-infectives, cholesterol-lowering drugs, and immunosuppressive agents."

Click here to do this Continuing Education activity.

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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One in ten scripts for mental health : 26/08/2009 :

According to a report released yesterday by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, there were 20 million mental health-related prescriptions subsidised through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme in 2007–08 accounting for just over one in ten of all prescription claims.

The number of prescriptions decreased by 0.4% per year, on average, from 2003-04. Spending on these mental health-related prescriptions was over $700 million with prescriptions for antipsychotics and antidepressants accounting for just over 90% of the total. The national recurrent expenditure on mental health services in total in 2006–07 was estimated to be $4.7 billion.

You can read the report in full here.

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Poll: cost of opioid replacement therapy (methadone, bup.) : 26/08/2009 :

Last week The Australian newspaper ran a story on the cost of opioid replacement therapy (here).

It made the claim that "HEROIN addicts are being deterred from entering methadone treatment programs by high costs often exceeding $400 a month...". Eh? Seems high to us - we've certainly never seen this in our travels.

This week's poll aims to get a sense of what people are charging for opioid replacement therapy around the country. Please tick the relevant box in today's AusPharm poll below.

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NAPSA executive at Women's Congress : 26/08/2009 :

The new National Australian Pharmacy Students’ Association (NAPSA) executive met at the recent Women's Congress.

"If the seventh annual Pharmacy Women’s Congress in Hobart, Tasmania in 2010 is anything like this year it will promise to be an astounding event," said NAPSA Vice President Tristen Pogue.

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FDA looking at safety of orlistat : 26/08/2009 :

The US FDA reported yesterday that it is reviewing reports of liver-related adverse events in patients taking orlistat (Xenical in Australia).

It says that, between 1999 and October 2008, 32 reports of serious liver injury, including 6 cases of liver failure, in patients using orlistat were submitted to FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System. Thirty of the 32 reports occurred outside the United States.

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