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AusPharm news

Poll: what do you think about Project STOP? : 19/01/2009 :

In light of the Guild's call last week for the use of Project STOP to be made mandatory in pharmacies across the country AusPharm wonders what people think of STOP now that it's been in use for some time now.

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




PBS schedule February 2009 : 19/01/2009 :

The PBS schedule and the 'Summary of Changes' for 1 February 2009 are now available on the AusPharmacist.net.au web site.

 New items include:

  • Desvenlafaxine succinate tablets 50mg and 100mg (extended release) (Pristiq)
  • Mirtazapine tablets 15mg (Axit 15)
  • Sorafenib tablets 200mg (Nexavar)
  • Triptorelin embonate powder for I.M. injection (prolonged release) 3.75mg and 11.25mg (base) with solvent, syringe and needles (Diphereline)
  • Voriconazole tablets 50mg and 200mg (Vfend)
  • Repat: Calcium tablets 600mg (as carbonate) (CAL-600)
  • Repat: Imiquimod cream 50mg/g (5%) 250mg single use sachets (Aldara). Authority listing for treatment of solar keratosis on the face and scalp...

The full PBS schedule is a large pdf file. To save the file locally, e.g. onto your Desktop, 'Right click' then 'Save... as...' (the wording varies between browsers).




Do you know all you need to about smoking cessation? : 18/01/2009 :

If not, why not  have a look at one of our most popular CE activities for 2008, Smoking Cessation, put together for us by Debbie Rigby.

We've made it available to ALL registered AusPharm members (not just premium members) for THIS WEEK ONLY (until 19/1/09).

Click here to do this Continuing Education activity now. 

Click here to visit the AusPharm Continuing Education page where there are links to all of our CE activities.

AusPharm CE will be back in February with approximately 40 new activities scheduled for 2009, mostly selected on the basis of requests from 'listers during 2008.


AusPharm gratefully acknowledges the financial support provided by the sponsors of our CE program, MIMS and The Australian Medicines Handbook.




Mandate STOP says Guild : 16/01/2009 :

The Pharmacy Guild has called for the use of Project STOP by pharmacists to be made mandatory across Australia.

Currently the system is voluntary for pharmacists, assisting them to make decisions about whether a particular sale of a pseudoephedrine tablet or liquid product is legitimate.  The Guild believes it is time for mandatory reporting of PSE sales Australia-wide, to ensure consistency in pharmacy delivery, and to combat the misuse of cold and flu tablet medicines used in the manufacture of methamphetamines.

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Weight loss programs in pharmacy : 15/01/2009 :

'Listers will have seen our story on Monday about David Gillespie's piece in Crikey critical of pharmacy's role in supplying meal replacement shakes. Gillespie argues that there is clear evidence that the use of weight loss shakes containing fructose, available in most pharmacies under a range of brand names, actually causes an increase in weight.

AusPharm asked pharmacy weight loss trailblazer, Tony Ferguson, Debbie Rigby and PSA 2008 Young Pharmacist of the Year, Dr Luke Bereznicki, for a comment.

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3 Kondome, bitte ! : 14/01/2009 :

This is good - thanks to Peter Allen for sending it along.

Click the image to play the movie (3Mb wmv file).




Guild, PSA reaffirm co-operation and collaboration : 14/01/2009 :

As part of the preparations for the 5th Community Pharmacy Agreement, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA), and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia have reaffirmed their agreement to work cooperatively in 2009 to achieve the best possible outcomes for their members and for the public.

The president of the PSA, Warwick Plunkett, pictured at right, said that at the beginning of 2009 it was important that the two organisations recognised the need for a common voice on major issues of mutual interest to members of both organisations.

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Poll result: declining a request for Mersyndol (or clone) : 14/01/2009 :

This week's poll asked 'listers to let us now how often they decline a request to supply Mersyndol (or equivalent). Not often, is the sense we get from the response (n=160).

AusPharm is not surprised by this as despite our understanding of things being that the doxylamine in these products conveys no (analgesic) therapeutic advantage in most circumstances it is *very* hard to get this message across to consumers using these products.

Click the link to see the result in detail.

Post a comment to AusPharmList.

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Generic medicines messages target Chinese and Italian communities : 14/01/2009 :

The third phase of the National Prescribing Service's (NPS) Generic medicines are an equal choice campaign will begin on 1 February with targeted messages to seniors in culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

Community service announcements and interviews with health professionals will be broadcast in Cantonese, Mandarin and Italian on SBS and other community-language radio stations across Australia, while printed in-language resources are being developed in partnership with the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) and will be available in mid March.

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Weight loss shakes; backed by evidence? : 12/01/2009 :

On Friday we reported  on rural GP David Monash's spray on pharmacy published in that days's Crikey Time to put pharmacists under the microscope.

Also in Crikey that day was a piece by lawyer and author of Sweet Poison, 'a book exposing the danger of fructose', David Gillespie.

Gillespie argues that there is clear evidence that the use of weight loss shakes containing fructose, available in most pharmacies under a range of brand names, actually causes an increase in weight. "Which makes me wonder why pharmacies in Australia are quite happy to endorse and sell weight-loss shakes." he writes.

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ACPPM president honoured : 12/01/2009 :

National President of The Australian College of Pharmacy Practice and Management, Trevor Clarkin, was honoured recently at the Annual Queensland Fellows’ Dinner, held on the 2nd of December 2008, with elevation to the status of Fellow (Honoris Causa).

Trevor, pictured at left, who is the General Manager of Gold Cross, a Pharmacy Guild subsidiary, was Qld Chapter Chair then National President of the Australian Institute of Pharmacy Management from 1998 until the Institute merged with the College in 2004. He has been National President of the College since 2004.

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Poll: declining to supply Mersyndol (or clone) : 12/01/2009 :

Every pharmacist working in community pharmacy will at times have let out a deep (but quiet) sigh on hearing the words 'a packet of Mersyndol please', particularly when hearing it for the 34th time at the end of a long day.

Mersyndol (and clones) is a Pharmacist Only medicine and, as such, should only be supplied when it is therapeutically appropriate. AusPharm wonders how often a request for supply is declined. Please let us know about your experience in today's poll below.




Silly season anti pharmacy story Number 2 : 09/01/2009 :

Following on from the curious Financial Review piece published last week The Amazing Power of Australia's Chemists (see AusPharm 30/12  ) yesterday's Crikey ran another pharmacy bashing piece by 'Dr David Monash, a rural GP in Victoria' titled Time to put pharmacists under the microscope.

It is a muddled and simplistic piece that attempts to paint pharmacists as exploiting consumers with rampant generic substitution that "cause[s] patient confusion and medication error" with the main beneficiary being the pharmacist (we can perhaps forgive Dr Monash for confusing pharmacy with pharmacist as his meaning is clear enough).

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Guild rejects Revive Clinic nurse practitioner prescribing scheme : 09/01/2009 :

According to the Pharmacy Guild the corporate push to bestow Medicare funding and prescribing rights on nurse practitioners, as detailed in The Australian newspaper yesterday (here) would be a backward step for Australia’s health system.

The model being pushed by the Revive Clinic chain is similar to the Minute Clinics located inside many CVS pharmacies in the USA. The Guild argues that such clinics are inappropriate and unnecessary in Australia because of the inclusion in the Australian medicines scheduling system of Pharmacy Medicines and Pharmacist Only Medicines.

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Poll result: pharmacists do still make extemps : 09/01/2009 :

Yesterday's poll tried to get a sense of how prevalent the dispensing of extemporaneously prepared prescriptions is in 2009.

To AusPharm's slight surprise 45% of respondents (n=98) say they've dispensed an extemp in the last week with a further 32% doing so in the last month.

We suspect there may be a degree of polarity amongst pharmacies with some pharmacies doing quite a bit of extemp dispensing (the so called Compounding pharmacies) and others doing next to none. Click the link to see the results in detail.

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Safety Net now recognises couples living apart, same sex couples : 08/01/2009 :

From 1 January 2009, couples living separately due to illness, infirmity or frailty (eg. for nursing care or in a residential or aged care facility) can access PBS Safety Net benefits jointly as a family in the same manner as if they were living together.

From 1 January 2009, Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) Safety Net families can include same-sex de facto partners.




Poll: extemporaneous dispensing : 08/01/2009 :

Times have changed. Whereas once upon a time most of a pharmacist's working day was spent in making mixtures, creams, lotions and all manner of other concoctions it's a rare thing in most pharmacies in 2009. How rare?

This week's poll has a go at finding out. When was the last time you dispensed an extemp? Please tick the relevant box in today's poll and we'll see if we can get a sense of how things sit in 2009. (NB: This poll will only run for 24 hours so you'll ed to vote today - we'll publish the result tomorrow.)




Poll: frequency of dispensing errors : 07/01/2009 :

This week's AusPharm poll tried to get  a sense of how often dispensing errors** are made. If the results are typical of the pharmacy community as a whole and with 191 respondents to this poll we think they probably are, the answer is that errors are made fairly often, certainly more often than we were expecting.

43% of respondents have made an error within the last month and 69% within the last 3 months. To our knowledge very few of these end up as complaints to the Pharmacy Boards or as incident reports to PDL suggesting that the 'damage control' pharmacies do after making an error is good. Equally interesting to AusPharm is the 19% who haven't made an error in the last 12 months. If any of this group would like to pass on their secrets, we'd love to hear them!

Click the link to see the results in detail.

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New generic medicines ancillary label here to stay : 07/01/2009 :

The new ancillary label designed as part of the Generic medicines are an equal choice campaign is to be included as an alternate label 15 in the 21st edition of the Australian Pharmaceutical Formulary and Handbook.

The label was designed in consultation with the PSA, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, practicing community pharmacists and consumers as part of the 2008 NPS Generic Medicines are an Equal Choice campaign. The APF Editorial Board has agreed to include it in the 21st edition of the APF handbook, which is due out in early 2009.

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Guild Group appoints new director : 06/01/2009 :

The Guild Group has added the experienced Mr. George Venardos to its Board of Directors, effective January 1, 2009.

Mr. Venardos has more than 29 years experience in financial services with his most recent role being Group Chief Financial Officer of IAG, from which he retired in August 2008.

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