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MIMS July 2009 Prescribing Update : 14/07/2009 :

The MIMS March 2009  prescribing update is now available. Click the link to read it now.

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Guild Capital Asset Management performs well (well, better than most!) : 14/07/2009 :

The Guild Group's investment manager, Guild Capital Asset Management (GCAM), reports that it has performed 10.8% better than the industry benchmark over the last 12 months, losing 9.6% of its value compared to the Standard & Poor’s ASX 300 -20.34% return over the 12 months to June 30.

GCAM is a boutique investment manager with a proven track record in Australian shares having managed the Guild Group’s capital base for over nine years. Its investment philosophy is based on capital preservation and a disciplined investment process with a focus on long-term wealth generation for investors.

RGH E-Bulletin: Zoledronic acid for osteoporosis : 13/07/2009 :

"Bisphosphonate is regarded as the first line treatment for postmenopausal osteoporo sis. Adherence to oral bisphosphonate therapy can be an issue for patients with poor compliance (with weekly dosing), patients unable to remain upright for 30 minutes and patients with oesophageal and upper gastrointestinal disorders. Zoledronic acid (Aclasta®) is an intravenously administered bisphosphonate approved for the prevention of fracture in osteoporosis."

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

Butler acts on Sigma cruise? : 13/07/2009 :

Pharma industry newsletter PharminFocus reported overnight that new Parliamentary Secretary for Health Mark Butler "has told the TGA to investigate whether the Sigma-organised GP boat cruise contravenes the MA Code of Conduct, saying "Australian consumers are entitled to feel sure no conflict of interest exists".

Read more at the PharminFocus website here (member only). To arrange  a free trial click here.

Cone of silence' keeps conversations secret : 10/07/2009 :

A recent New Scientist article described a modern version of the old 'cone of silence'. 'Listers who are/were devotees of the 1960's television comedy Get Smart will be familiar with this.

Instead of plastic domes, the new system uses a sensor network to work out where potential eavesdroppers are, and strategically placed speakers to generate a subtle masking sound at just the right level.

Just the thing for maintaining privacy in a busy pharmacy perhaps?

You can read the New Scientist article here.

Poll: Mirixa Australia - I'm ready : 10/07/2009 :

This week's poll asked 'listers whether they were ready to get underway with Mirixa Australia.

We think the Mirixa Australia folk are probably happy enough to see that almost 40% of respondents (n=113) either have completed the training (or soon will) and only 11% think that their pharmacy probably won't participate in the Mirixa Australia programs. To learn more visit the Mirixa Australia website or phone 1300 MIRIXA.

Has anyone done a Seretide session yet?

NPS: teach your patients the active ingredient : 09/07/2009 :

The National Prescribing Service (NPS) is urging health professionals to teach patients how to identify the active ingredient in their medicines to avoid mix ups and adverse events.

A recent NPS literature review found six per cent of hospitalisations are due to adverse events, which increases to nearly 30 per cent in the elderly. Past studies have confirmed that many hospitalisations due to adverse events could have been avoided if the patient had understood their medicines.

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Qld Pharmacy Board first to do criminal history checks on newly registering pharmacists : 09/07/2009 :

From July 1 people seeking to register as pharmacists in Queensland will have to submit to a criminal history check.

According to the Qld Board it has an obligation to ensure the safety and wellbeing of members of the community who use services provided by pharmacists in Queensland and that information gleaned during criminal history checks will assist the Board to determine if applicants meet the approved standards for registration.

It is proposed under National registration legislation that Boards will be empowered to undertake checks on current registrants as well as those seeking to register for the first time. Under National registration it is also proposed that history and identity checks be carried out for all health professionals registering for the first time in Australia.

Sigma ad riles Harvey : 09/07/2009 :

Melbourne academic and regulatory reform activist Dr Ken Harvey has used the Sigma cruise ad that ran in the Australian Doctor magazine to highlight to new Parliamentary secretary for Health, Mark Butler, that there is an urgent need for regulatory reform around the promotion of prescription medicines.

The cruise was in the media spotlight yesterday with Sue Dunlevy's piece in various News Ltd publications.

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Med students v Big Pharma : 08/07/2009 :

"Fed up with the barrage of drug company marketing designed to mould their future prescribing habits, a group of Australian medical students has decided to fight back."

Pharma Phacts, a national campaign launched online earlier this week, aims to educate students on the effects and unconscious influence of pharmaceutical marketing.

Visit the website here.

FIP re-releases Pharmacy Education online : 08/07/2009 :

The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) has re-released online the journal Pharmacy Education. Previously published in hard copy, Pharmacy Education is now an official FIP Electronic Publication, available online free of charge at its website (here).  The online publishing and re-release has been made possible by the support of the World Health Organization (WHO) and in collaboration with the European Association of Faculties of Pharmacy (EAFP).

Pharmacy Education will continue to be an independent, peer-reviewed academic publication with a mission to provide a forum for communication for the academic, teaching and practitioner communities.

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Poll: Mirixa Australia - I'm ready : 08/07/2009 :

Mirixa Australia has gone live with the first of its originator programs – the Seretide compliance program – in Minfos pilot pharmacies in Queensland.

More than 1,900 pharmacies had joined Mirixa Australia by the end of June.

Read more in the latest Mirixa Messenger here.

Are you ready? Have you done the Mirixa online training module?

Please tick the appropriate box in today's poll below left and we'll see if we can get a sense of how people are approaching this.

PHARMeFOOTY weekly wrap : 08/07/2009 :

NRL Round 17 proved friendly to tippers with 13 selecting all the 8 winners. The closest to margin was Todd Bartlett from Health Focus so Todd claims the $50, well done! Just 1 point behind was Tony Elliott of Southside Pharmacy in 2nd place with Barbara Jarman of Torrens Road Gordon Pharmacy taking 3rd.

The Leaderboard sees Matthew Kobryn of Blooms the Chemist - Springwood extend his lead out to a possibly unbeatable 4 points! Brad Thomas from Clara St Day Night moves up to 2nd place with Michael Inglis of Malouf Group holding 3rd. In 4th place is Nur Jehan Desch of Kenmore Day and Night Pharmacy. Take control in Round 18!

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Attacks on pharmacy continue : 08/07/2009 :

Two weeks back it was News Ltd's Sue Dunlevy and last week it was The Financial Review taking pot shots at pharmacy. Also appearing last week, but not making it into the mainstream media, was an article by Kerryn Phelps in doctor tabloid Medical Observer.

The Phelps piece rehashes the familiar argument that pharmacists can own doctor's surgeries so why can't doctors own pharmacies? It also passes comment on the pharmacy location rules, arguing that these are anticompetitive and that this is 'out of step with the strict policy governing every other kind of business structure in Australia'. Phelps is critical of pharmacy's lobbying for increased clinical roles and of the argument that dispensing should be at arms length from prescribing, commenting that pharmacists do this all the time with S2s and S3s, with the transaction often being done by the pharmacy assistant.

She concludes, "Perhaps the fundamental question to ask is this: would pharmacy even survive without the oxygen of protectionist policies, or is it being kept alive on the artificial life support generated by its powerful lobbyists?"

Legal update: Lundbeck v Alphapharm : 07/07/2009 :

Many 'listers will be taking more than a passing interest in legal developments relating to Lundbeck's escitalopram patent because of the 'unusual' distribution procedure affiliate company CNS Pharma chose for its cross licensed Lexapro generic Esipram.

International law form Deacons last week published a detailed account of the legal stoush currently taking place between Lundbeck and Alphapharm over escitalopram.

It's an interesting read - click here.

Betadine latest to sign up for the Gold Cross campaign : 07/07/2009 :

With the release of a 15 second television commercial and a 10 second electronic billboard advertisement Betadine Sore Throat Gargle has joined Mersyndol and Nicorette in endorsing Gold Cross pharmacies as a sound source of local advice and help.

These television commercials form the second stage of a long-term consumer campaign that launched in September 2007 with a dedicated 30 second Gold Cross television commercial

"The aim of the campaign overall is to create a clear consumer understanding of the broader health care role of pharmacy. It builds on the strong existing reputation of your local pharmacy as a source of service and advice and reflects the high levels of trust the public holds for the profession," General Manager of Gold Cross, Trevor Clarkin, said.

Click anywhere below to watch the TV ad.

Rural and remote pharmacy final report released : 07/07/2009 :

" ..... Remote pharmacists experience a myriad of confusing state and national legislation, the impact of which is to “tie the pharmacist to the dispensary bench” .. Current ownership and remuneration models for pharmacists impact negatively on the number of pharmacists in remote areas. As a result Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities experience poor quality use of medicine and low medication compliance directly resulting in high mortality and morbidity levels ... "

The final report of an Australian Pharmacy Council (APC) and Pharmaceutical Defence Limited (PDL) project set up to identify legal and other impediments to a pharmacist being able to deliver their full range of services has published its final report.

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First national survey to get snapshot of medicines use : 07/07/2009 :

Australians’ use of medicines, including natural remedies, is the focus of a national census launched this week by the National Prescribing Service (NPS) and the University of Melbourne.

The National Census of Medicines Use in Australia focuses on how Australians use their medicines, including prescription, non-prescription and complementary medicines. It is the first national census to survey what combinations of medicines people take, how people find information about medicines and whether they have experienced problems with their choices.

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Pharma: weakening IP would threaten R&D investment : 07/07/2009 :

According to Medicines Australia the proposal by generic medicines manufacturer Hospira to change IP laws so that it can manufacture generics for export while these are still under patent could lead to the loss of thousands of  jobs and millions of dollars of global investment in Australian R&D.

“Weakening Australia’s IP regime would have a negative impact on Australian R&D and is fundamentally at odds with the Prime Minister’s own commitment to make innovation a way of life in Australia,” said MA CEO Ian Chalmers.

“The idea has no merit beyond the commercial agenda of a single pharmaceutical company and could spell disaster for medical innovation,” he added.

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Irish pharmacists withdraw from Irish equivalent of PBS : 06/07/2009 :

Pharmacists from approximately 2/3 of Ireland's community pharmacies have given the Irish Health Department notice that from August 1 they will cease providing services under the Medical Card Scheme and the Drugs Payments Scheme, the Irish equivalent of the PBS.

The move follows the imposition of a 34 per cent cut in payments to pharmacies for providing medicines and advice to patients under the schemes.

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