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AusPharm news

I am the very model of a psycho - pharmacologist : 05/01/2009 :


Thanks to Andrew Roberts for finding this one. It's dedicated to Chris Alderman. Click the image to play the song.




Poll: I last made a dispensing error..... : 03/01/2009 :

AusPharm oftens wonders just how frequently dispensing errors are made. While today's poll won't tell the whole story we'd still be interested to know when you made your last dispensing error.

For this poll we'll define an 'error' as 'wrong drug' or 'wrong directions on label' that actually leaves the dispensary (but not necessarily the pharmacy). Please tick the relevant box in today's poll below.




Financial Review goes after the Guild : 02/01/2009 :

In a curiously timed and very long article (The Amazing Power of Australia's Chemists) the Dec 30 - Jan 4 Weekend Edition Financial Review takes a big swipe at the Pharmacy Guild.

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Poll result: yes, we do label neatly in our pharmacy : 31/12/2008 :

96% of us (n=156) do, anyway.

AusPharm admits to being one of the 'mostly' respondents, In light of the advice provided by our peers we'll see if we can transmogrify into an 'absolutely'.

Click the link to see the result in detail.

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The man from Kaomagma : 31/12/2008 :

In a weak moment and in the spirit of the 'silly season' AusPharm invited 'listers to send along posts that didn't meet our usual 'pharmacy relevant' criteria and  might be 'interesting or quirky or just plain weird'.

Well, Sydney pharmacist Bruce Moffat (that's him at right) sent along this epistle in response, gratuitously including his preliminary comments:

"Silly? You want silly? I'm your man
Happy almost New Year
That Anon produced some good work and this isn't one of them but it certainly meets your January editorial standards.
Sort of Henry Lawson meets Pam Ayres.
A little bit cultural and a lot bit silly and not very PC.  Perfect!"

Thanks Bruce!

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Nembutal: the gentle sedative.... : 30/12/2008 :

People were much more relaxed about what medicines they gave children in the 'good old days'.

Click the image to see a larger version. It was harvested from here.

Younger 'listers (with no experience with Nembutal) can find out more aboyut the drug here and here.




Dr John Eden named in US Senate inquiry : 29/12/2008 :

'Listers may have seen recent news reports relating to a US Senate investigation into whether big pharmaceutical firms allegedly are paying ghostwriters to write journal articles favourable to their products.

Sydney academic Dr John Eden has been mentioned in reports about the inquiry (eg here). Dr Eden is an associate professor at the University of NSW and is the director of the Sydney Menopause Centre.

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Poll: we label neatly in our pharmacy : 29/12/2008 :

Back when AusPharm was a pre-reg (1979) our first employer was insistent that we label dispensed medicines neatly: "It's they only thing the punters have to judge your competence by" (this was in the days before pharmacists "counselled" on dispensed medicines).

What is the policy in the pharmacy (department) you work in. Please let us know by voting in the week's AusPharm poll below.




Are you a mentor for the future? : 28/12/2008 :

The National Student Business Plan competition offers an opportunity for qualified pharmacists to guide and advise a team of students in this nationally recognised competition. 

Now into its third year, the Student Business Plan competition has become a very popular event on the pharmacy calendar and is supported by the pharmaceutical industry, the Guild and the National Australian Pharmacy Students’ Association (NAPSA).

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Best wishes to 'listers for the festive season and for 2009 : 24/12/2008 :

AusPharm would like to thank all 'listers for their support during 2008. We are particularly appreciate of those 'listers who support us by taking our premium memberships  . We hope you all have a restful and rejuvenating break over the Christmas and New Year period.

Between now and Friday, January 30 we'll be publishing a cut down version of the (e)news as we recharge our own batteries so that we can be ready for a big year in 2009. Commencing Monday February 2, we'll be back with all of our regular features and more.




Does the PBS safety net scheme need reform? : 24/12/2008 :

According to 50% of 'listers who responded to this week's poll, yes. However 37% of respondents said that things are pretty much OK now.

This week's poll was prompted by a post to AusPharmList last week from  Phillip Smith (NOT Chris Morris, as we wrote on Wednesday). Phillip suggested that the PBS safety net scheme should be replaced by a system in which patients be responsible for maintaining their own records, paying as they go and claiming back anything they pay in excess of the safety net threshhold directly from Medicare. The idea is that  having to pay up front might discourage hoarding.

One other measure that we didn't look at in this poll is for PBS online to impose SN20DR when patients have their scripts dispensed at any pharmacy, not just the pharmacy being asked to dispense the next supply. AusPharm wonders why this hasn't already been done. Privacy concerns perhaps?

Click the link to see the poll results in detail.

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Demonstrating a good image : 23/12/2008 :

Patients, carers and even other health professionals often struggle to recognise their medications once removed original packaging. An important element of the Patient Medication Profile (PMP) program which aims to rectify this situation is the inclusion of "actual size and colour" images of medications in the PMP medication summary document.

Healthlinks.net has been appointed by the Pharmacy Guild to develop, manage and distribute a Medication Image Dataset for the PMP program.

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NDPSC to look at down-scheduling amciclovir : 23/12/2008 :

There are a few issues of possible interest to pharmacists up for consideration at the next meeting of the of the National Drugs and Poisons Schedule Committee (NDPSC), set for February 17-19.

In its pre-meeting notice the NDPSC has flagged that it will be looking at a proposal to reschedule oral famciclovir from Schedule 4 to Schedule 3 when used for the treatment of cold sores. It will also look a proposal to increase the pack size limit for the Schedule 2 listing of diclofenac from 20 dosage units to 100 dosage units. Also on the agenda is further consideration of issues surrounding 'compound' analgesics containing codeine.

Submissions from the public (that's you, 'listers) have been invited. Details on the meeting agenda and on how to make a submission are here.




Pharmacy wins its own award : 22/12/2008 :

The unique health care role of community pharmacies has been recognised by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission in its award modernisation decision handed down on Friday.

Following sustained submissions from the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, the Commission has decided to establish a separate national Pharmacy Industry Award 2010, instead of shifting pharmacy into the Retail Industry Award as originally proposed by the Commission in its September Exposure Draft.

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Poll: should the PBS safety net scheme be reformed? : 22/12/2008 :

In a post to AusPharmList last week, Phillip Smith suggested that the PBS safety net scheme should be replaced by a system in which patients be responsible for maintaining their own records, paying as they go and claiming back anything they pay in excess of the safety net threshhold directly from Medicare. The idea is that  having to pay up front might discourage hoarding.

What do you think? Is this a good idea or does the present system perform well enough? Please let us know what you think by voting in this week's AusPharm poll below.




RGH E-Bulletin: Christmas Edition : 22/12/2008 :

This week's RGH E-Bulletin is the Christmas Edition.

"With glossal appendage firmly implanted in the buccal mucosa, respected medical researchers have announced the formation of a new niche company: HARLOT, specialising in How to Achieve positive Results without actually Lying to Overcome the Truth. Far be it from us at RGH to endorse the proposed techniques (some of which are detailed below, purely for information purposes), but some of the methods for casting a positive spin on clinical trial results have uncanny familiarity for those of us who are called upon to interpret the results of research in the area of clinical therapeutics."

Click here to read the bulletin in full.

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




AusPharm Continuing Education : 21/12/2008 :

Last week's AusPharm CE activity was Issue No 8 of the RGH Pharmacy E-Bulletin CPD Digest. The topics covered in Issue No 8 are:

  • Varenicline and mental disorders
  • Safety of inhaled bronchodilators in COPD
  • Other therapies for prevention/treatment of dementia (part 1)
  • Other therapies for prevention/treatment of dementia (part 2)

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




Kate Carnell appointed to Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency : 19/12/2008 :

Former ACT Chief Minister and Guild National Councilor Kate Carnell, pictured below, was last week appointed to the Board of Directors of the independent Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency. She is one of five new appointees, including former NSW Deputy Premier Andrew Refshauge.

The 10 year-old Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency oversees the accreditation of Australia’s nursing homes and hostels. As of June 30, there were 2,830 nursing homes and hostels in Australia caring for more than 170,000 older Australians. 




The Tassie wine goes to WA : 19/12/2008 :

Many thanks to all those 'listers who took advantage of our Christmas special and upgraded to premium membership earlier this month. So strong was the response that not only did we run out of the AusPharm pens that were on offer, we also we also exhausted our supply of calculators.

The pack of three premium Tasmanian wines was won by Western Australian 'lister Ken Stafford, whose name we drew out of the AusPharm hat.




Christmas trade poll result : 19/12/2008 :

This week's poll asked 'listers how Christmas trade was in their pharmacies this year, in the context of the current economic gloom. The result, albeit based on a much smaller than usual response (n=70) suggests that trade is a little down, a lot down in some areas.

We'll repeat this poll after Christmas to see if including the full pre Christmas trading period produces a different result.

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