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AusPharm news

PSA: Joint Approach to Development of the Pharmacy Profession : 20/02/2009 :

Many 'listers will have read comments made by Professor Charlie Benrimoj while delivering the Neil Naismith Memorial Lecture in Victoria earlier this month to the effect that the PSA should have a greater role to play in the negotiations leading up to the 5th Community Pharmacy Agreement (CPA).

Professor Benrimoj, pictured at right, argued that it was 'unacceptable' that one organisation (The Pharmacy Guild) should 'drive our professional future'. His comments, and ensuing discussion, have prompted the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia to clarify its position in the future negotiating process.

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Poll: 'free' advice in pharmacies : 20/02/2009 :

In a post to AusPharmList yesterday John Gibson wrote:

"For as long as any of us can remember and for a long time before that, pharmacists have provided ‘first contact’ primary care / management of minor ailments  free. Some will feel that this is the way to go in the future. Using this as some sort of ‘loss leader’ to draw customers into the pharmacy where they can be prevailed on to hopefully have their prescriptions dispensed and spend money. Not an unreasonable approach at face value. But it is unsustainable."

What do you think about this? Please let us know by voting in today's AusPharm poll below.




NSW wins Pharmacy Cricket 2009 : 19/02/2009 :

This years pharmacy cricket carnival was held in Adelaide over the four days prior to Australia Day.

Described as the most outstanding carnival ever by Pharmacy Cricket president Greg Hodgson, matches were played at the grounds of Adelaide University, St Peter's College and the Chateau Tanunda Barossa Valley.

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Email - how to do it : 19/02/2009 :

Are you a rude, blathering, unprofessional idiot who screams at people and probably failed high-school English? Hopefully not. But if you aren’t paying attention to how you craft your e-mails, maybe that’s what your correspondence is saying about you.

So begins this article, all about how to use email effectively.

AusPharm receives hundreds of emails and, to be frank, not everyone has mastered the medium. We get mail with BIG attachments and sometimes with (apparently) people's entire address books copied in on the email.

If you're looking for some tips on what's appropriate and what's not in email communication this article provides some good tips.




AusPharmListers post, industry listens : 18/02/2009 :

'Listers may remember the discussion thread back in August last year that talked about how to get the top off the 'new' Augmentin bottles.

Michael Khoo came up with a very elegant solution. As have the GSK people  ...  last week.

That's Michael's on the right and the GSK one is on the left (click for a bigger photo). Will you be hitting GSK for royalties Michael?




Poll: Optometrist prescribing : 18/02/2009 :

'Listers will be aware the range of drugs able to be prescribed by optomestrists on the PBS grew on February 1, with the release of the Feb 1 PBS updates.

Are pharmacies seeing more optomestrist prescriptions since they 'won' PBS prescribing rights a few years back? Please let us know what's happening in the pharmacy you work in by ticking the relevant box below.




PSA welcomes Greater Focus on Consumer Involvement in Health Care : 18/02/2009 :

The focus on consumers taking greater responsibility for their health care as outlined in the interim report of the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission has been welcomed by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia.

The Commission’s report, A healthier future for all Australians, urges the Government to implement policies that assist consumers to become more aware of the health-care system and how they can best utilise it in the management of their own health.

The Vice-President of the PSA, Dr Shane Jackson, said the report clearly identified the need for more involvement at the consumer level.

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Guild says report is “a missed opportunity” : 18/02/2009 :

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia believes the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission’s interim report – A Healthier Future For All Australians confirms the view that the current system of community pharmacy is working well and meeting the Australian public’s needs into the future.

The Guild, however, feels that the interim report represents a missed opportunity to harness the capacity, skill set and accessibility of pharmacists to better address the broader health challenges of the future, including those arising from Australia’s ageing population and the consequent increase in chronic diseases.

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FRED HEALTH wins international award : 17/02/2009 :

Fred Health has been awarded worldwide Microsoft 2008 Retail Vertical Developer of the Year (International).

The award recognises groundbreaking integration of Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System POS to deliver business value and customer benefits across retail sectors.

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National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission interim report released : 17/02/2009 :

'Listers may have seen that there is a great deal of comment in the mainstream media (for example here, here, here and here) about the interim report from the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission, released yesterday. The Commission was established to develop a long-term health reform plan for a modern Australia.

How strongly does pharmacy feature in the report? Not very. Have a look for yourself by searching 'pharmacy' in the body of the report here.

A clue to how the commissioners view pharmacy might be gleaned from their comment on the proposed makeup of the Comprehensive Primary Health Care Centres (the 'super' Super Clinics):

"The centres could provide a range of services to become‘one-stop shops’ for medical and non-medical services including general practitioners; secondary care; co-located diagnostic services – pathology collection and diagnostic imaging – nursing and other health professionals; with proximity to pharmacy."

'Proximity to' pharmacy? Eh?




National primary health care strategy submissions : 16/02/2009 :


Countdown to Feb 27

Days to go = 11

Have You Made Your Submission Yet?




RGH E-Bulletin: Natalizumab for multiple sclerosis : 16/02/2009 :

The topic of this week's RGH E-Bulletin is Natalizumab for multiple sclerosis.

"Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an immune-mediated disorder where demyelination of the nerve cells occurs within the central nervous system . Motor, sensory and cognitive deficits can occur to varying degrees. There are four subtypes of MS: relapsing remitting, secondary progressive, primary progressive and progressive relapsing. Symptoms of MS include paraesthesia, muscle weakness and spasms, ataxia, dysarthria, dysphagia, depression, visual loss/blurring or diplopia, bowel/bladder incontinence etc."

Click here to read the bulletin in full.

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




Pack Medications Ready for Possible Evacuations : 16/02/2009 :

Residents in areas still under threat from bushfires, floods or other dangers have been advised to pack essential medications and prescriptions and keep them handy in case they have to evacuate their homes.

The Vice-President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, Dr Shane Jackson, said people living in areas still under threat from bushfires or floods should be aware of the need to pack their medications ready for any possible evacuation.

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MIMS February 2009 Prescribing Update : 16/02/2009 :

The MIMS December 2008 prescribing update is now available. Click the link to read it now.

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Meredith Waddell writes from Wandong : 14/02/2009 :

This is unfortunately our house in Clonbinane. We also lost three big sheds but were able to save three others.

Contrary to radio reports, my pharmacy in Wandong has had no damage and we were open again on Monday, as usual.

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Backup poll result : 13/02/2009 :

This week's poll asked 'listers to consider how well their pharmacy data was protected, this in light of the catastrophes that have (almost) befallen some pharmacies in recent weeks. 58% of respondents (n=110) tell us that they have good off-site backup with a further 31% saying they have a good system of daily backups.

Seems like most people get it pretty right these days. Or does it? 42% DON'T have secure offsite backups. Click the link to see the results in detail.

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Critical dose medicines and brand substitution - more from NPS : 13/02/2009 :

The National Prescribing Service (NPS) would like to draw pharmaciists' attention to an article in the February edition of Australian Pharmacist (Vol 28, No.2 - PDF provided with permission from Australian Pharmacist) which elaborates on the points made in our recent media release, urging doctors and pharmacists to take care when considering brand substitution for anti-epileptic drugs used for epilepsy.

You can read a copy of the Australian Pharmacist article here.

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Poll: how secure is your pharmacy data? : 11/02/2009 :

This week's tragic events in Victoria as well as the North Queensland floods have us thinking about how well people secure their pharmacy data.

If your pharmacy was to suffer a catastrophe, would it be able to rebuild its records?

Please let us know by voting in this week's AusPharm poll below.




Emergency supply - Victorian bushfires : 11/02/2009 :

The Pharmacy Guild (Victorian Branch) has advised members that there is a special fund available to reimburse pharmacies who provide medications to bushfire victims who are unable to pay for them.

Branch President Dipak Sanghvi thanked Guild members and their staff for ensuring that their patients' health and well-being comes first during these difficult times, commenting that he is sure the supply of prescription items is occuring within professional parameters and bearing in mind duty of care.

Pharmacists with queries are advised to contact the Victorian Branch of the Guild on 03 9810 9999.




Pharmacies survive Victorian bushfires : 10/02/2009 :

At this stage, it appears likely that all Victorian pharmacies have survived the fires.

Late yesterday afternoon Guild President Kos Sclavos sent along the following.

“We obviously have had a tragic loss of life and our hearts go out to the families. The priority for pharmacists and community pharmacy is to ensure we meet the needs of patients in relation to their medication continuance. We have been in very constructive meetings with the Health Minister’s office and the Department of Health and Ageing who understand the extenuating circumstances in Victoria.

The Guild’s advice of documenting  well and supplying patients with PBS medicines with or without prescriptions stands. We will put in arrangements through Medicare Australia to sort out claims. There are up to 15,000 displaced people. Patients with no medicines, no prescriptions and sometimes no money. Pharmacy staff over the last 48 hours have done a tremendous job supporting patients in the most horrendous of circumstances.

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