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AusPharm news

New medication management website for nurses launched : 28/11/2008 :

A new NPS website dedicated to assisting nursing staff and other health professionals manage patient medication in Australia’s nursing homes was launched earlier this week by Minister for Ageing, Mrs Justine Elliot.
The website was developed following feedback from nurses working in nursing homes that highlighted difficulties in keeping up to date with relevant legislation, guidelines and toolkits that support medication management.

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RUM bags available soon to HMR pharmacists : 28/11/2008 :

Simon Appel, Project Manager for the Return Unwanted Medicines (RUM) Project, recently announced guidelines for the collection and disposal of “collected” medicines by pharmacists conducting Home Medicines Reviews (HMRs).

The Guidelines were developed following deliberations by a working party comprising accredited pharmacists, AACP, a Pharmacy Board representative and RUM Project Manager Simon Appel. Pharmaceutical Defence Limited (PDL) also provided considerations to the Guidelines.

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Poll Result: Who does HMR & RMMRs? : 28/11/2008 :

At the request of 'Lister Wanda Amos, our latest poll asked who is actually performing HMR & RMMR services in pharmacies.

The results (n=135) reveal almost half (47%) the HMR & RMMR services in the respondent's pharmacies are carried out by independent contracted pharmacists. Pharmacy owners themselves provide 25% of the services, whilst specialist organisations employing multiple pharmacists accounted for only 1% of the reviews performed by our respondent's pharmacies. Interestingly, 5% of pharmacies included in this poll do not provide any HMR or RMMR services at all!

Click the link to see the complete breakdown.

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Pharmacy Practice Foundation Medals of Excellence - correction : 27/11/2008 :

In our story last Thursday about the 2008 Pharmacy Practice Foundation Medals of Excellence we mixed up the awards and the recipients. The following is correct.

Albert Regoli was awarded the Sanofi Aventis Medal of Excellence in Pharmacy Practice and Frank Payne was the recipient of the Merck Sharp & Dome (Australia) Medal of Excellence in Pharmacy Practice.

NDPSC delays decision on ibuprofen/codeine pack sizes : 27/11/2008 :

At its October meeting (record of reasons released yesterday) the National Drugs and Poisons Scheduling Committee (NDPSC) decided to make no immediate changes to schedule two and schedule three pack sizes for ibuprofen/codeine containing products.

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Australian Prescriber: Hypnotic hazards of z-drugs immeasurable : 27/11/2008 :

It is difficult to know the extent of the use and adverse effects of zolpidem and other z-drugs (zopiclone and zaleplon) because they have never been listed on the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, senior Sleep Disorders Physician Dr Les Olson writes in the December edition of Australian Prescriber, due out next week.

Following the media attention given to side effects in patients taking zolpidem, Dr Olson reviews the known adverse reactions of the z-drugs.

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GP / pharmacist MOU renewed : 27/11/2008 :

A renewed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and the Australian General Practice Network was signed in Canberra yesterday.

Respectively, the Guild and AGPN represent 5000 community pharmacists and 119 local divisions of general practice and State Based Organisations.

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ASMI marketing awards honour excellence and innovation in healthcare sector : 26/11/2008 :

Awards for Australia’s most innovative healthcare products, promotions and self care initiatives were announced at the Australian Self-Medication Industry Conference in Sydney last week.

The ASMI awards were presented by the Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, Senator Jan McLucas and reflect achievement in product innovation in the over-the-counter (OTC) medicines sector.

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API share price plummets : 26/11/2008 :

The API share price dropped yesterday from its 10AM opening of 49c to close at 4PM at 35c, a drop of 21% over the course of the day.

API says it is unaware of any reason for the drop in share price or for the increase in volume of shares traded in the last 24 hours.

AusPharm would be interested to hear from anyone who might have an explanation for this.

Poll Result: The impact of workload on professionalism : 26/11/2008 :

Following on from Ron Batagol's AusPharm article Insurance to close the sausage factories? It's worth a try! , we asked 'Listers how frequently they felt heavy workload put pressure on their responsibility as pharmacists.

The results (n=163) show 48% of total respondents (both pharmacy owners and employees) felt their professionalism was often compromised by heavy workload. 39% felt this occurred occasionally, and only 12% of respondents it seems work in environments where they feel their professionalism is only rarely compromised. Hmmm!

Analysing the responses split on the basis of ownership status, AusPharm observes that pharmacy owners (n= 53) seem to feel less pressure due to workload on their professionalism whilst working than employee pharmacists (n= 110). 21% of owners indicated they felt their professionalism was rarely  compromised due to workload, compared to only 7% of their employees who felt the same way. Ascertaining why this might be so is obviously beyond the scope of this poll. Possibly owners of multiple sites spend more time working "on" their business than "in" it? Or maybe they are cut from different cloth to their employees and handle workload pressures differently? Whatever the reason, it remains a salient reflection of the differing experiences of the two groups.

Click the link to see the results in detail.

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Poll: How are we providing HMR & RMMR services? : 26/11/2008 :

Our latest AusPharm poll was inspired by a post earlier this week from 'Lister Wanda Amos - Never let it be said we don't listen to our subscribers! Wanda was pondering how pharmacies are providing their HMR & RMMR services, and who is actually doing the work. So today, we're asking!

What happens in the pharmacy where you work? Are HMR & RMMR services carried out by the owner, manager or employees of the pharmacy? Are they contracted out to an independent pharmacist, or perhaps an organisation that specialises in these services and employs multiple pharmacists? Or do you have some kind of split arrangement in place, with one party carrying out the interview and another pharmacist completing the report? Please help us to find out by ticking the relevant box in today's AusPharm poll below.

And if you have an idea for a future poll, we'd love to hear it. Email us!

Prevent Puffer Problems' campaign launched : 25/11/2008 :

A new national campaign: “Prevent Puffer Problems”, was launched last Thursday by the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, the Hon Alan Griffin, to help improve older Australians’ inhaler technique.

Experts believe that the vast majority of Australia's inhaler uers are not using their inhalers properly resulting in poor medication delivery, which in turn can lead to reduced quality of life, more frequent and longer hospital stays and an increased dependence on medication.

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RGH E-Bulletin: Varenicline and mental disorders : 24/11/2008 :

The topic of this week's RGH E-Bulletin is Varenicline and mental disorders.

"The Australian Adverse Drug Reactions Bulletin lists varenicline as a drug of current interest. In December 2007 the European Medicine Agency warned physicians that the use of varenicline for smoking cessation has been associated with cases of depression, with symptoms including suicidal ideation and attempt. In February 2008 the US FDA issued an alert concerning an increase in neuropsychiatric symptoms in patients taking varenicline. These include changes in behaviour, agitation, depressed mood, suicidal ideation and attempted and completed suicide."

Click here to read the bulletin in full.

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

Winners of 2008 Pharmacy Practice Foundation Medals of Excellence announced : 21/11/2008 :

In its 30th Anniversary year, the Pharmacy Practice Foundation within The University of Sydney held its annual Governors’ Dinner on Tuesday, 18 November 2008 in the historic and elegant setting of the Great Hall at The University of Sydney.

One of the purposes of the evening was the announcement and presentation of the Medals of Excellence in Pharmacy Practice.  These medals reward those who have had a significant role to play in advancing pharmacy practice in Australia.

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Pharmacy Asthma Pilot Program commences : 21/11/2008 :

Recruitment for the pilot stage of the Pharmacy Asthma Management Service (PAMS) has begun with 100 pharmacies to be selected to participate from ACT, NSW, Victoria and Queensland. The pilot builds on research conducted under the Third Agreement R&D Program.

The program will be implemented in two stages, with Stage 1 informing future development, subject to Ministerial approval. It will focus on patients with poorly-controlled asthma and aims to improve self-management through a series of in-pharmacy consultations with a specially trained and credentialed pharmacist.

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Poll Result: Blood Pressure Checks : 21/11/2008 :

With the new "Know Your Numbers" program launching in Queensland, we asked 'listers whether their pharmacy performs blood pressure checks for their patients. The results (n=160) show a massive 72% of respondents' pharmacies perform blood pressure checks for anyone who asks, for FREE!

AusPharm is astonished that in a climate where margins are under pressure and the profession seems to be expressing a strong desire to be paid appropriately for the services it provides, so many pharmacies appear to be giving their time and expertise away for free!

Only 15% of the respondents' pharmacies have adopted a fee-for-service model for blood pressure checks. A further 6% have limited their fee-free offering to regular customers only and 8% do not offer the service at all. Why are so many of us doing free blood pressure checks? What sets the 15% who get paid apart from the rest of us? Is their service any better? Could it just be they value their time & simply have the gumption to ask for a fee?

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Pharmacists are an underutilised resource : 20/11/2008 :

New research into the impact of minor ailments on GP workload suggest that significant medical resources are being devoted to coughs, colds and other conditions that could be effectively managed by a pharmacist, practice nurse or through responsible self care.

The study was commissioned by the Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) and conducted by international health industry consultants IMS. It revealed that 15% of all GP consultations involve the treatment of minor ailments and 7% involve the treatment of minor ailments alone.

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Health Corp says Chemconsult® results are encouraging : 20/11/2008 :

Health Corporation, parent company of the Health Information Pharmacy (HIP) Group, reported yesterday that, in an analysis of data to October, 2008, 23% of consultations made through its Chemconsult® medication counselling system resulted in a clinical intervention.

Ken Lee, Health Corp's chairman said that these initial findings, taken from 2,200 consultations, were 'very encouraging'.

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Blackmores reports net profit growth : 20/11/2008 :

At its annual general meeting in Sydney today complementary medicine manufacturer Blackmores will report an increase in net profit after tax of 14.5% for financial year 2007/2008 vs 2006/2007. This was achieved on the back of growth in revenue of 4.2%. Earnings per share increased by 13.5% in the same period.

The company will report that the present global financial crisis, growth in the cost of goods and the possibility of more restrictive government regulation will present challenges for the current financial year. It says that its leadership team, headed by new CEO Christine Holgate, a range of new products, its new Warriewood facility and a drop in interest rates will all help it to meet these challenges.

Pharmacists' study tour to Croatia : 19/11/2008 :

A small group of Australian pharmacists has just returned from a study tour to Croatia. The tour party numbered 60 in total and they visited Slovenia, Bosnia Herzegovina and Montenegro, as well as Croatia, for 19 days during October.

In Zagreb at the tour's welcome reception the tour party was officially welcomed by the Australian Ambassador Tracey Reid. Pictured below are tour organisers Mike Lazarow and Dipak Sanghvi with the ambassador.

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