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AusPharm news

PSA President re-elected : 19/08/2009 :

Warwick Plunkett was re-elected as the President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia at a Board meeting held in Melbourne yesterday. 

South Australian community pharmacist Grant Kardachi and Queensland academic  pharmacist Lisa Nissen were elected Vice Presidents at the meeting. Former Vice President Dr Shane Jackson did not stand for re-election.

Mr Plunkett said one of the major tasks for him in his new term was to lead the PSA as it entered into negotiations for the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement.

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eRx Script Exchange coverage nears 100% : 18/08/2009 :

Medical software specialist Zedmed announced yesterday that it has partnered with eRx Script Exchange, enabling its user base of 5,500 health professionals around Australia to send electronic prescriptions using eRx Script Exchange. Zedmed specialises in practice management and clinical records software for high volume medical centres and suites.

According to Graham Cunningham, Chairman of eRx Script Exchange, “Wth the addition of Zedmed, eRx and its IT vendor partners can now connect an Australia-wide network of over 90% of both GPs and pharmacists who will be able to send and receive e-scripts via the eRx platform."

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September 2009 PBS schedule : 18/08/2009 :

The September PBS schedule and 'Summary of changes' are now on-line...

Full PBS schedule

Summary of changes

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Tamiflu Suspension unavailable : 17/08/2009 :

Roche has announced that, because of unprecedented world wide demand, Tamiflu suspension will be unavailable in Australia until further notice.

However, stocks of 30mg, 45mg and 75mg capsules re available and the TGA has approved the preparation of extemporaneous formulations from the capsules.

Details of how to do this are here.

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NAB Health report on pharmacy : 17/08/2009 :

The National Australia Bank last week released a report on research undertaken by Access Economics that examined future trends in the health care sector. This research showed that some of the key trends in pharmacy are:

  • Feminisation of the sector
  • Succession planning challenges
  • Increasing competition and pressure on margins
  • Industry consolidation
  • Systematisation

No surprises there. You can read the full report here and the pharmacy section here.

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Union calls on Guild to sign on to paid parental leave : 17/08/2009 :

Pharmacist employee union the Pharmacists Divison of APESMA (PDA) has used the weekend's Women's Congress to lobby for the introduction of paid maternity leave into pharmacy workplace agreements.

The pharmacy workforce is highly feminised - the recent NAB Health Report found that 56% of pharmacists are female (2006) and this figure is expected to rise to 66% by 2025.

According to APESMA Industrial Officer Jacki Baulch, "One would hope the Guild might want to enhance positive staff relations by improving on the Rudd government's Paid Parental Leave Scheme as part of a collective bargaining process with the unions that covers staff in pharmacies."

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RGH E-Bulletin: Drug-induced acute pancreatitis : 17/08/2009 :

"Drug-induced acute pancreatitis (AP) is rare and the incidence ranges from 0.3% to 2% of AP cases. Most of the literature available consists of anecdotal evidence and case reports. The causes of AP include gallstones, alcohol, hypertriglyceridemia, hypercalcaemia, infection, trauma, idiopathic, genetic mutations, pancreatic tumours, and drugs. Drug-induced AP is implicated after excluding the common causes of AP, and when pancreatitis resolves after stopping the offending drug or recurs after re-challenge."

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

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Sydney Uni students win again : 17/08/2009 :

Pharmacy students from Sydney University successfully defended their entrepreneurial honour in the National Student Business Plan competition that was judged at the Pharmacy Women’s Congress on the Gold Coast over the weekend. The Sydney team was mentored by Professor of Pharmacy Management at the University of Sydney, Professor Lesley White.

The James Cook University team, whose presentation focused on establishing a profitable business in an indigenous community, Gondwana Pharmacy, were second and the Curtin University students, whose focus was on women’s health, came in third.

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Do you employ Defence Force reservists? : 14/08/2009 :

The federal government announced last week that employers of Defence Reservists who claim financial assistance through the Employer Support Payment Scheme will now receive more money.

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Poll: I handle requests for codeine containing OTC analgesics..... : 14/08/2009 :

In the light of the NDPSC's recent decision to make all OTC analgesics containing codeine schedule 3, this week's poll asked 'listers how well they handle requests for these products.

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TGA to look at a recordable S3 schedule : 13/08/2009 :

In response to feedback provided to its proposed new arrangements for the scheduling of medicines and poisons the TGA's National Coordinating Committee on Therapeutic Goods (NCCTG) Working Group has published a summary of its responses on its website this week.

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Rural pharmacy academic calls for funding flexibility : 13/08/2009 :

Accessibility and human rights, instead of rigid funding models, should be the priorities when planning health care services for rural and remote Australia. So said Charles Sturt University Professor of Rural and Remote Pharmacy, Patrick Ball (pictured at right), in a public lecture delivered in Dubbo last night.
 
“A model of health-care funding for rural and remote Australia should be developed based on fundamental human rights and access to services rather than ‘bricks and mortar’,” he said.

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Guild withdraws support for dispensary data extraction : 13/08/2009 :

The Pharmacy Guild has withdrawn its support for the process of data extraction from dispensary computers by manufacturers / suppliers. The practice has been widespread for 10 years or more amongst companies who use the data to determine trading terms.

The move is in response to growing unease amongst pharmacists over exactly what is being extracted, how the data is being used and issues relating to privacy and public perception.

The Guild is formulating a new policy on data extraction - one option under consideration is whether active Guild monitoring of data access would allay pharmacists' concerns.

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AusPharm CE: Dry Eyes : 12/08/2009 :

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

"Dry eye syndrome (DES) or keratoconjunctivitis sicca is a common problem in the middle-aged and older population. Chronic dry eye disease is a serious disease with the potential to significantly diminish the quality of life on an older person, causing great discomfort."

Click here to do this Continuing Education activity. Or, you might like to have 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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ACPPM Victorian Chapter seminar program : 12/08/2009 :

The Australian College of Pharmacy (Vic Branch) is hosting three educational events over the next 3 months in Melbourne covering a range of business related topics including; Human Resources, Front of Shop Retailing and Budgeting.  Each session attracts 2 CPE points.

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Calling all female pharmacists! : 12/08/2009 :

The women of professional pharmacy are getting ready for the Pharmacy Women’s Congress, to be held later this week from Friday 14 to Sunday 16 August at the Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort and Spa.
 
The conference offers a great mix of education, networking opportunities and Gold Coast glamour, with the three day event covering topics such as positive staff relations, owning, buying and selling a pharmacy and operating in during emergencies and disasters.

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Poll: are you confident handling requests for codeine containing OTC analgesics? : 12/08/2009 :

In light of the NDPSC decision last week, it now looks certain that all OTC analgesics containing codeine will go to Schedule 3 in May 2010. Some of them are already Schedule 3 of course (eg Mersyndol and clones, Panadeine 15).

Given the (anecdotally) high level of inappropriate use of (and therefore requests for) these codeine containing OTC analgesics, how well do you think you personally handle requests for them?

Please tick the relevant box in today's poll below and we'll see what comes out the other end on Friday morning.

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PHARMeFOOTY weekly wrap : 12/08/2009 :

AFL Round 19 had upsets galore which proved too difficult for tippers to manage, no one was able to select all 8 and only 2 tippers could get 7 winners correct.Matt Kaluschke from Red Hill Day and Night Pharmacy was closest to the margin and is this weeks $50 prize winner, congratulations Matt! In 2nd place was Barry Parsons of Baxter Healthcare with Steve Mihulka from Woodberry Pharmacy taking 3rd position.

The Leaderboard sees Nerida Croker of Rose Bay North Pharmacy move up from 4th place to 1st and take a 1 point lead. The next 3 tippers are level on points with Jennifer Nelson from Coady`s Pharmacy holding 2nd place on margin from Sue Lumley of Janssen-Cilag in 3rd position. In 4th place is Mez Hoy (contractor) with Gai Williams of Williams & Goldby Pharmacy leading the rest in 5th position. The run home begins in Round 20!

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Labelling of medications dispensed by pharmacists : 11/08/2009 :

Last Monday's Health report  ran an item about the labelling of prescription medicines that 'listers might find interesting. In it, Norman Swan talks to Guild President, Kos Sclavos.

"Health consumer advocates have uncovered what they feel might be an unacceptable level of pharmacists dispensing medications with 'use as directed' or equivalent on the label. They argue that this is dangerous and should not happen."

Click here to download the audio file or to read a transcript.

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Guild President pushes the 'Industry leads in eHealth' line : 11/08/2009 :

Following the announcement that Medical Director has signed on with eRx Script Exchange, Guild President Kos Sclavos has once again emphasised that industry is leading the way in eHealth in Australia.

“This is a significant example of industry driving e-health initiatives to improve patient outcomes. With eRx Script Exchange, Australia now has in place a national platform for electronic scripts, delivering immediate improvements for patient care and safety, and ongoing efficiencies for prescribers and pharmacists. This milestone for Australian health care will genuinely deliver improved outcomes for patients and professionals.”

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