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AusPharm news

Swine flu: how well informed are you? : 17/06/2009 :

Swine flu looks set to roll across the country in the coming weeks/months.

As front line health professionals how well have pharmacists been informed with respect to what to advise customers with symptoms, how to prepare your pharmacies and other related issues. While advice has been forthcoming from a number of sources including Federal and State Health Departments, professional associations and media we'd be interested in your general sense of how well the flow of relevant information has been.

Please let us know by ticking the relevant box in today's AusPharm poll below.




Safety of ADHD medications : 17/06/2009 :

There may be an association between the use of stimulant medications for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, known as ADHD, and sudden cardiac death in healthy children, according to a study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says that, because of the study’s limitations, parents should not stop a child’s stimulant medication based on the study. The FDA recommends that parents should discuss concerns about the use of these medications with the prescribing health care professional.

Read the details on the FDA website here.




NAPSA Pharmacy Week 2009 : 17/06/2009 :

From May 18th to 24th this year, pharmacy students promoted the profession of pharmacy as part of the National Australian Pharmacy Students’ Association’s (NAPSA) nationwide event, Pharmacy Week.

The Pharmacy Week campaign consists of two awareness campaigns, a public campaign and a university campaign. Pharmacy Week is run each year in May by volunteer pharmacy students.

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NSW state budget confirms new funding for pharmacy : 17/06/2009 :

The NSW state budget, released yesterday, confirmed that the NSW government has earmarked $8.6 million in the 2009/10 financial year for 64 new Clinical Pharmacists "who will improve patient safety by monitoring the type, quantity, past use and combination of prescription medicines…educate patients about their prescribed medications and advise junior doctors and nurses on the best use of medicines."

Now, $8.6 million divided by 64 roughly equals $134,000 - good work if you can get it!




Pharmacists call for greater role in warfarin therapy management : 16/06/2009 :

PSA Vice President Dr Shane Jackson has called for pharmacists to play a greater role in the management of patients taking warfarin saying that annual HMRs should be a normal part of routine care for patients on warfarin.

Dr Jackson also flagged the possibility of pharmacist prescribing saying, "Pharmacist prescribing, in this case collaborative prescribing, may go some way in addressing the problems with warfarin management."

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To CMI or not to CMI? : 16/06/2009 :

"Many patients who suffer harmful side effects .... may do so only because they have been told to expect them."

The words above are taken from a recent New Scientist article, The science of voodoo: When mind attacks body. It provides an entertaining account of the 'placebo' and 'nocebo' effects. Read it here.




Worker's comp scripts and the PBS : 16/06/2009 :

An issue that pops up on AusPharmlList every year or so is whether or not worker's comp scripts should be processed as normal PBS scripts or as private scripts. The answer is in the Winter 2009 edition of the Medicare Australia Bulletin Board.

In short, worker's comp scripts should be processed as PBS scripts in the usual way. You can read the details on the Medicare Australia website here.




New prescription opioid policy released : 16/06/2009 :

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) has released a new policy document:  Prescription Opioid Policy: Improving management of chronic non-malignant pain and prevention of problems associated with prescription opioid use.

Policy working group chair and addiction medicine specialist Dr Alex Wodak said it was important not to allow fears about the illicit use of prescription opioids to overshadow the important role they play in managing chronic pain.

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Wyeth v Sigma on Efexor : 15/06/2009 :

As we reported a week or so back, the Federal Court has told Sigma to stop 'marketing, taking orders, selling and offering to supply' its generic Efexor, Evelexa, to pharmacies.

For those of you interested in the details there is a very good account of the hearing here.




AusPharm CE: Vaginal thrush : 15/06/2009 :

Because of the short week last, we didn't publish a new CE activity.

We did suggest, however, that if you were at a loose end you might have liked to have a look at one of our most popular activities, Vaginal thrush, put together for us by UMORE's Ella Jeffrey .

Or if you'd like to like to have a look at what other activities are on offer, click here .

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




Popularity poll: pharmacists v newspaper journalists : 15/06/2009 :

Roy Morgan Research has just released its annual Roy Morgan Image of Professions survey (here). As usual pharmacists rated highly.

In view of last week's attacks on pharmacy by News Ltd journalist Sue Dunlevy, AusPharm thought it might be interesting to compare the popularity ratings of pharmacists and newspaper journalists over the last 20 years using this natty little tool on the Crikey website.




RGH E-Bulletin: Antimicrobials for Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci : 15/06/2009 :

"Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci (VRE) is a continually increasing problem in Australia, with further outbreaks occurring at major public hospitals over the last six months."

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




Mental health care capabilities for pharmacists : 15/06/2009 :

The Australian Pharmacy Council (APC) and the Committee of the Heads of Pharmacy Schools in Australia and New Zealand (CHPSANZ) have undertaken the development of a statement which sets out the expected mental health care capabilities of pharmacists in Australia.

They were assisted in this undertaking by a Steering Committee comprising representatives from pharmacy professional organisations.

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Poll result: recommended prices for pharmacy services : 12/06/2009 :

This week's poll asked 'listers whether or not they'd like a price list to refer to for professional services. The result is pretty clear - just considering the 'yes' or 'no' responses the vote was 75% to 2% (n=119).

But is it possible for an organisation (the obvious ones are the Guild or PSA in this case) to publish such a price list? Aren't they illegal? Well, yes they are.

We asked our friends at Guild Lawyers to elaborate and they've kindly obliged.

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OTC codeine survey : 12/06/2009 :

Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre aims to promote and maximise the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities living with and affected by alcohol and other drug-related harms.

It is currently conducting research looking at dependence to over the counter codeine products.  The aim of the research is to find out how people use codeine containing OTC analgesics and to learn why some people experience difficulties.

If you would like to assist Turning Point conduct this research you can display and/or hand out this leaflet.

If you'd like to have a look at the survey itself, click the button at left.




HMR Report puts direct referrals to accredited pharmacists on the table : 12/06/2009 :

The final report of Home Medicines Review Program Qualitative Research Project has been published on the Department of Health and Ageing website. Given that the report is dated December 2008, one wonders why it has only now been made public.

The key questions underlying the research were: what is HMR achieving and what is it meant to achieve? Specifically, the Project aimed to identify gaps in access to the HMR Program & the reasons for these gaps in access and to determine what drives participation in the HMR Program, including identifying barriers & enablers relative to different target groups.

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News Ltd and Dunlevy continue the attack : 12/06/2009 :

News Ltd and Sue Dunlevy have continued their attack on community pharmacy in today's News Ltd papers.

"THE suburban chemist has been turned into a multi-million dollar business able to charge high prices thanks to government rules that give pharmacists a monopoly on prescription medicine sales." You can read the story in full here.




ACPPM honours announced at Vic Chapter Dinner : 11/06/2009 :

The Victorian Chapter of the Australian College of Pharmacy held its annual Fellow's & Member's Dinner at the Windsor Hotel on the 28th May 2009.

In an extremely successful event, keynote speaker Leigh Matthews reminisced on the subtleties of the great game of AFL, both on and off the field and on the present coaching merry-go-round. 

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Friendly Societies back Pharmacist Support Service : 11/06/2009 :

The Pharmacists’ Support Service (PSS) has been boosted with the announcement that the Australian Friendly Societies Pharmacy Association has committed to provide financial support to the service for the next three years.

PSS has been assisting Victorian pharmacists since 1995 by providing telephone counselling and support to distressed pharmacists.

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APESMA fuming at NSW Guild's opposition to new award : 11/06/2009 :

Employee pharmacist union, the Pharmacists Division of APESMA, has launched a scathing attack on the NSW Branch of the Pharmacy Guild saying its current campaign against the The Pharmacy Industry Award 2010 is 'an affront to pharmacy employees'.

The Pharmacy Industry Award 2010 that will cover some employee pharmacists and pharmacy shop staff is due to come into effect on on 1st January 2010. The NSW Branch of the Guild has recently prepared for its members a Multi-Employer Business Agreement and is encouraging pharmacy employees to take up this agreement. Pharmacies whose employees agree to adopt the Multi-Employer Business Agreement would not be bound by the terms of the new award.

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