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AusPharm news

AusPharm CE: RGH E-Bulletin Digest No. 10 : 03/04/2009 :

Last week we published the next of our online CE activities for 2009, the RGH E-Bulletin Digest No. 10.

This CE assesses your understanding of five recent RGH Pharmacy E-Bulletins (Volumes 33:2 to 33:5  --> February 2009 - March 2009).

  • Natalizumab for multiple sclerosis
  • Mouth care
  • Anticholinergic agents, cognition and heat-related illness
  • Educational visiting service from clinical pharmacists

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

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Pharmacy of the year winners to be announced today at APP : 03/04/2009 :

The finalists for the Pharmacy of the Year 2009 will each tell their story at the Australian Pharmacy Professional (APP) Conference on the Gold Coast today.

The Pharmacy of the Year awards recognise excellence and innovation in the delivery of healthcare solutions. For the 2009 program there were three categories – one for larger pharmacies with better access to resources; one for more modestly-sized pharmacists with fewer than eight full-time equivalent employees (including the owner/manager); and the People’s Choice.

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Access Economics report shows PBS sustainable : 03/04/2009 :

An Access Economics Report released yesterday by economist Chris Richardson at APP shows that the PBS will not impose a runaway cost burden on Federal Government coffers.

The Report, commissioned by the Pharmacy Guild, uses updated data and assumptions to replicate and re-cast the Government’s two Intergenerational Reports (IGRs). As a result, Access Economics has been able to provide more accurate forecasts of PBS spending over the next 40 years taking into account the impact of PBS Reforms negotiated by the Guild with the Government in 2006.

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State of the Industry : 03/04/2009 :

APP 2009 got off to a flying start yesterday, the highlight off the day being the invitation only State of the Industry symposium at which delegates had an update on industry developments around the world from a number of both local and overseas industry leaders

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Poll result: supply of EHC : 03/04/2009 :

This week's poll asked 'listers what they would you do if asked to supply (say) 2 packs of Postinor/Levonelle in advance of unprotected intercourse? This in light of  media reports late last week reporting that UK pharmacy Lloyds has commenced supplying 'emergency' contraception via its website which, according to some, is contrary to Australian guidelines.

The results are shown below and as always, pharmacists express a range of views. We'll leave it to others to comment on this one.




PBS Reform savings more than double forecast : 03/04/2009 :

A report released at APP on Friday has concluded that the PBS reforms will reduce Commonwealth Government PBS expenditure by a total of almost $7.4 billion over ten years.

This estimate is more than double the government estimate of $3 billion released by then Health Minister Tony Abbott when the PBS Reforms were announced in November 2006. 

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Get Ready! : 02/04/2009 :

After a long wait Australia’s premier pharmacy event, the Australian Pharmacy Professional Conference and Trade Exhibition 2009 (APP2009) is finally here again, opening today on the Gold Coast.

Of special interest this year will be the presentation of the conference’s keynote address by Minister for Human Services and Senator for Queensland the Hon. Joseph Ludwig, who will also be presenting the Pharmacy of the Year Awards.

For anyone who has yet to book their registration, The Pharmacy Guild of Australia will be accepting registrations onsite at the event for the educational program, Saturday night’s Gala Dinner and the expanded Trade Exhibition.

If you’d like more information or to register to attend, view the event website www.appconference.com or contact The Pharmacy Guild of Australia on 07 3831 3788




April NPS RADAR released : 02/04/2009 :

The April issue of NPS RADAR was published yesterday. Click the links below to read the articles.

Visit the NPS RADAR website here.




PBS help line to go offshore : 01/04/2009 :

It seems the Rudd government's recent denials of reports it was considering relocating some of its services offshore may have been the stuff of fairytales.

Fresh from performing a similar rationalisation of call centres associated with the Swedish health service, Health Minister Roxon's newest staffer, Mr Loof Lirpa, informs AusPharm Medicare Australia is to follow the example set by Telstra and a number of other large enterprises, in relocating the PBS call centre activities to Manila in the Philippines.

According to Mr Lirpa, pictured below, "We'll be moving the pharmacy hotline service for a six months evaluation period, starting today". He stated he does not expect pharmacists to experience any significant problems in the transition as the standard of spoken English in the Philippines was "pretty good" and their telephone network was reliable "most of the time".

Mr Lirpa also commented "From what I understand, Australian pharmacists have proven themselves quite resilient to change. I am sure they will rise admirably to this new challenge."




Business model needs to change : 01/04/2009 :

A panel of experts, convened by pharmacy-only company Schering-Plough, says that the traditional pharmacy business model – where up to 70 per cent of profits was dependent on the dispensary operation – needs overhauling and pharmacists need to ‘get out the front’ of shop and concentrate on providing advice.

The panel included, from left to right above, Professor Peter Carroll, pharmacy academic from The University of Sydney, respected pharmacy business adviser Bruce Annabel, successful Sydney pharmacy entrepreneur Warren Turner, former Pharmacy Guild of Australia National President Colin Johns and Sydney pharmacy identity, Brendan O’Loughlin.

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Poll: the week before pill : 01/04/2009 :

'Listers will have seen media reports late last week reporting that UK pharmacy Lloyds has commenced supplying 'emergency' contraception via its website which, according to some, is contrary to Australian guidelines.

What would you do if asked to supply (say) 2 packs of Postinor/Levonelle in advance of the unprotected intercourse?

Please let us know by voting in today's AusPharm online poll below.




minfos® jumps on board eRx Script Exchange : 01/04/2009 :

Australian pharmacy management software company minfos® has joined with eRx Script Exchange in rolling out e-scripts throughout Australia. With the inclusion of minfos® in eRx Script Exchange e-prescriptions will be available to 99% of Australian pharmacies during 2009.

In another e-prescribing development yesterday, the Department of Health and Ageing put out a request for tender for an ePrescribing and Dispensing of Medicines Benefits Realisation and Implementation Plan.

Graham Cunningham - Chairman eRx said "We welcome the move by the government to learn more about e-prescribing and in particular the approach taken by eRx Script Exchange. We look forward to working with the government appointed consultants to demonstrate how industry lead e-health initiatives such as eRx can rapidly deliver benefits and improve patient health outcomes.




minfos backs MediSecure and eRx : 01/04/2009 :

Less than 24 hours after announcing it had joined with eRx Script Exchange in rolling out e-scripts minfos® has announced that it will also be working with eRX competitor MediSecure® to deliver e-prescriptions to its more than 650 community pharmacy clients.

MediSecure® is open to all pharmacy and medical practice software vendors and has the backing of The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.




Guild pushes for 100% active participation in Project STOP : 31/03/2009 :

In a continued effort to prevent the illicit diversion of pseudoephedrine (PSE) containing pharmacy medicines, the Pharmacy Guild has launched a new campaign encouraging pharmacies to use Project STOP for every PSE transaction. The “Be part of the solution, not the problem” campaign highlights the responsibility of all pharmacies in reducing the diversion of products containing pseudoephedrine.

Currently, over 70% of community pharmacies are registered to use Project STOP. Their involvement has contributed to the apprehension of numerous drug runners, countless arrests and a significant reduction in the number of drug labs detected in Australia since Project STOP’s initial implementation in 2005.

However, according to the Guild, for the system to be 100% effective, every community pharmacy in Australia needs to not just be signed up to use Project STOP, but to use it for all transactions. 

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This week's PHARMeFOOTY winners : 31/03/2009 :

Well, the AFL season proper has finally started and the first week of AFL PHARMeFOOTY tipping saw 5 people with all 8 winners.  There can of course only be 1 round winner and that's the person with the lowest round margin. This week that was Wendy Robinson from the Pharmacy Guild.  Wendy wins the $50 weekly prize.  Round 2 NRL saw Sean Alcorn from Mapp & Hession Pharmacy win the $50.  Sean tipped a solid 7 wins in what was a tough round for tippers.

A full roundup of last weekend's footy results is available at the PHARMeFOOTY website.

It's not too late to register for this year's PHARMeFOOTY - click here to register now.




NPS: desvenlafaxine no better than venlafaxine : 30/03/2009 :

According to an NPR RADAR review, there is no evidence that desvenlafaxine (Pristiq) is more effective, safer or better tolerated than its parent drug, venlafaxine, or other antidepressants.

Desvenlafaxine was recently listed on the PBS for major depressive disorder. It is the active metabolite of venlafaxine.

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RGH E-Bulletin: Clopidogrel and PPIs : 30/03/2009 :

"Clopidogrel and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) don’t mix? Clopidogrel is a commonly used anti-platelet drug which prevents platelet aggregation by inhibiting the Adenosine Diphosphate (ADP) receptor. It is a prodrug that is converted to an active metabolite by the enzyme cytochrome P450 2C19 (CYP2C19) in the liver. There is growing evidence suggesting that reduction in CYP2C19 activity reduces blood concentration of the active form of clopidogrel leading to decreased platelet inhibition and an  increased rate of major cardiac events. Recent focus has centred on individuals with genetic polymorphisms that reduce the activity of CYP2C19 and individuals with concomitant use of CYP2C19 inhibitors."

Click here to read the bulletin in full.

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




No ads on repeats - NSW Board not so sure : 30/03/2009 :

'Listers will have seen our story on Friday reporting the Pharmacy Board of Victoria'a ruling that it may view as unprofessional conduct advertising messages printed on the slip of paper attached to the right hand side of PBS repeat forms.

The NSW Pharmacy Board isn't so sure, commenting in response that, without considering a particular case, the Board would not automatically conclude that such activity amounts to unsatisfactory professional conduct.

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Big win for NSW pharmacists : 30/03/2009 :

64 additional clinical pharmacists will be introduced into public hospitals across NSW as part of the NSW Government’s Caring Together: The Health Action Plan for NSW developed in response to the Garling Report.

NSW Health Minister John Della Bosca said, "The Garling Inquiry recommends standard guidelines should be developed to involve pharmacists in patient care at the earliest opportunity and we are committing $34.4 million over the next four years to employ an extra 64 Clinical Pharmacists in hospital wards."

"Expanding the role of clinical pharmacists within hospitals will improve patient safety by monitoring the type, quantity, past use and combination of prescription medicines. Hospital pharmacists will educate patients about their prescribed medications and advise junior doctors and nurses on the best use of medicines. Improvements in medication safety alone has the potential to reduce a patient’s stay in hospital, saving the hospital money and freeing up hospital beds for other patients," Mr Della Bosa added.




Generic substitution rate up 20% : 30/03/2009 :

Pharma industry newsletter PharmainFocus today reports on a recent internet survey of pharmacies that shows pharmacy generic substitution rates have lifted by approximately 20% since the introduction of the $1.50 benchmark price dispensing incentive.

Although only sampling a small number of pharmacies (n=150) the company conducting the survey maintains that this is a valid result.

You can read the full story here (subscription required).




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