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AusPharm news

Poll: how often do you wash your hands? : 13/05/2009 :

Hand washing has featured in the news over the last week or two, primarily as a means of infection control in the context of preventing the spread of swine flu. This week also saw the launch of the National Hand Hygiene Initiative, the objective of which is to reduce antibiotic-resistant ‘superbug’ infections in hospitals.

As front line health care workers pharmacists might be expected to be frequent hand washers. Let's see if we can find out. Please tick the relevant box in today's AusPharm poll below.




Faulty bowel cancer screening kits – pharmacy not affected : 13/05/2009 :

As reported yesterday the Federal Health Department will write to 475,000 people who received self-test bowel cancer kits due to uncertainty about the accuracy of negative results.

AusPharm's information is that the affected kits are only those issued by the Government directly through the National Bowel Cancer Screening program, since December 1 last year, imported from Japan and manufactured by Fujirebio Diagnostics. 

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PHARMeFOOTY weekly wrap : 13/05/2009 :

Congratulations again to Susan Beasley from McCarthy's Pharmacy in NSW and to Caiden Anderson from Pomona Pharmacy in QLD for being the only 2 AFL tippers with perfect scores.  With some big upsets that is terrific going!  Especially well done to Susan who is our round winner for the 2nd week on a row with a margin of 2 from the Essendon V Hawthorn game.

Brave effort tipping Essendon to win by that much and it may well be the 1st time anyone has been round winner in consecutive weeks.  Atop the overall ladder Chris Warne from Beaconsfield Pharmacy has moved from 2nd to 1st. Stefan Andrasek, Echuca Hospital, moves to 2nd and Susan Beasley is 3rd. 

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New swine flu info card : 13/05/2009 :

To help pharmacists handle consumer enquiries, PSA has developed a two-page information card which can be used as a window display, counter card or staff information sheet.

You can get it here.




PSA supports national registration and accreditation proposals : 13/05/2009 :

Last week's announcement by the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council that it had agreed to a framework for a National Registration and Accreditation Scheme has been welcomed by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia.

PSA President Warwick Plunkett said yesterday that while some issues needed further examination and clarification, the Society broadly welcomed the thrust of the Council’s announcement.

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National registration of health professionals : 12/05/2009 :

The Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council announced on Friday that  a national consensus had been reached on how the new National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for the Health Professions will work.

There was a very high level of participation by consumers, practitioners and regulatory bodies in the scheme's consultation process with over 1,000 people attending forums around the country and over 650 written submissions lodged in response to the consultation papers issued in 2008 and 2009. As a result of the feedback a number of changes have been made to the original proposals put forward, in particular in the areas of accreditation, the role of state bodies and complaints handling.

You can read all about it here.




Kava an effective anxiolytic? : 12/05/2009 :

A University of Queensland researcher has found a traditional extract of Kava, a medicinal plant from the South Pacific, to be effective in reducing anxiety.

The results of the clinical trial which found that a water-soluble extract of Kava was effective in treating anxiety and improving mood are to be published online this week in the journal Psychopharmacology.

In 2002 Kava was banned in Europe, the UK and Canada due to concerns over liver toxicity. While the thee-week trial raised no major health concerns regarding the Kava extract used, the researchers said larger studies were required to confirm the drug's safety. More....




Ask your pharmacist' about Nicorette : 12/05/2009 :

Aimed at reinforcing pharmacy as the destination for professional healthcare support, a national TV campaign aligning Pharmacy with Nicorette has just been launched.

“The combination with Nicorette supports everything Pharmacy stands for in consumer healthcare,” says Kos Sclavos, National President of the Pharmacy Guild. “A strong brand targeting the big community health issue of smoking that is dedicated to Pharmacy distribution and supported by the proven recognisable image of the Gold Cross will be a powerful and compelling communication”.

“Pharmacy should make every effort to take control of their own environment by maximising opportunities to promote those NRT products that are specifically focussed on the pharmacy channel”, said Mr Sclavos. “Why? Because customers must return to continue their NRT treatment and in doing so, increase their exposure to further professional support and recommendation”.




Bowel Cancer Test Results Uncertainty : 12/05/2009 :

The Federal Health Department will write to 475,000 people who have received self-test bowel cancer kits due to uncertainty about the accuracy of negative results.

People who received a free self-testing bowel cancer screening kit issued between 1 December 2008 and 8 May 2009 will be asked to do the test again. Progressive decline in the rate of positive results has led to uncertainty about the accuracy of negative results. Positive results are accurate and anyone with a positive result should, if they have not already done so, see their doctor to arrange further investigation, usually a colonoscopy.

More information is available here.




RGH E-Bulletin: Statins and haemorrhagic stroke risk : 11/05/2009 :

"The impact of statins in stroke risk in patients with a history of cerebrovascular disease had been recently evaluated in the SPARCL (Stroke Prevention by Aggressive Reduction in Cholesterol) trial which was published in 2006. A total of 4731 patients with a stroke or TIA within one to six months were included, other inclusion criteria included LDL levels of 2.6 to 4.9 mmol/L, and absence of coronary heart disease."

Click here to read the bulletin in full.

The E-Bulletin is archived and previous editions can be viewed on the AusPharm website here.




Treatments from great granny's time, very effective medications! : 11/05/2009 :

A number of 'listers have alerted us to these in recent weeks so we thought we'd better pass them on.


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Wash your hands : 11/05/2009 :

A new hand hygiene initiative was launched last week in a bid to reduce antibiotic-resistant ‘superbug’ infections in hospitals.

The launch of the National Hand Hygiene Initiative coincided  with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Save lives: Clean your hands Day. This is a very important message from the WHO given the current situation around the world with swine flu.

The campaign encourages all people to undertake one simple step – clean your hands regularly.

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Flu vaccine poll result : 08/05/2009 :

This week's poll asked 'listers to tell us whether they'd had (or were about to have) a flu vaccine this year.

Assuming that all of those 'about to's' follow through with their intention this gives pharmacists a strike rate of 63% (n=249).

One group deemed by health authorities as needing the vaccine is: "Residents of nursing homes or other long-term facilities and contacts of high risk patients, including health-care providers, staff of nursing homes and long-term care facilities and household members of persons in high-risk groups."

Does this include all pharmacists or just those servicing nursing homes?




Kids cough and cold medicine manufacturers lobbying hard : 08/05/2009 :

Following concerns raised around the world in recent times about the safety and efficacy of children's cough and cold medicines the Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI), the industry body representing non-prescription consumer healthcare products has arranged for representatives from its US counterpart, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), to meet with the TGA to discuss these issues.

The makers of these medicines in the U.S. have commenced a research and education program to inform regulatory authorities, healthcare professionals and consumers.

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Latest swine flu update : 08/05/2009 :

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia yesterday published an H1N1 influenza update on its website.

You can get it here.




PSA: Laws relating to contraceptive sales in NT raise concerns : 08/05/2009 :

In a statement issued yesterday the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia expressed concerns over laws in the Northern Territory requiring pharmacists to report sales of contraceptive items to people under the age of 16.

Under the laws, which have been in place for some months but which the Government has only just ordered health workers to comply with, sexual activity among people under the age of 16 must be reported to a team that includes police and staff in the Northern Territory's Department of Health and Families. The laws apply to any person under the age of 16 who is sexually active, regardless of the age of that person's sexual partner or if the activity is consensual.

Acting President of the PSA, Dr Shane Jackson, said the laws raised issues of public health and privacy. 

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Face mask shortage : 07/05/2009 :

Amid continuing reports that some pharmacies are having difficulty sourcing enough face masks to meet demand we've received official advice on some interim measures your customers can be advised to adopt.

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Criteria for the approval of Victorian pharmacy departments : 07/05/2009 :

The Pharmacy Board of Victoria has developed draft criteria for the approval of pharmacy departments. The criteria are designed to supplement the Board’s guidelines and provide additional guidance on the requirements for approval of pharmacy departments.

The Board has released the criteria for public consultation and invites comment (to the Board's registrar) by 12 June 2009.

You can get a copy of the draft guidelines here.




Public urged to avoid (complementary) medicines for H1N1 : 07/05/2009 :

The Complementary Healthcare Council (CHC) and the Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) issued a joint statement yesterday warning consumers to stay away from (complementary) medicines that claim to treat or prevent swine flu.

According to the two industry associations the public should be wary of Internet sites and other promotions for products that claim to diagnose, prevent, mitigate, treat or cure the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus that have not been proven to be safe and effective for these uses by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

"Many of these deceptive products are being sold over the internet via illegitimate web sites. The operators of these web sites take advantage of the public's concerns about H1N1 influenza and their desire to protect
themselves and their families. These fraudulent products can present as supplements, food products, or products purporting to be drugs, devices or vaccines."




2009 PSA Excellence Awards - nominations now open : 06/05/2009 :

Nominations are now open for the 2009 PSA Excellence Awards.  Awards are given in three categories:

Further details, including nomination forms are available at the PSA website here.

Nominations close on 1 September 2009 and the winners will be announced at the opening Plenary Session of the Pharmacy Australia Congress in Sydney on Friday, 16 October 2009.




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