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AusPharm news

API first to re-assure shareholders : 17/10/2008 :

API has moved to re-assure shareholders that all is well with the company despite the current global financial turmoil.

In a letter to shareholders yesterday, API Chair Peter Robinson said that the company was still on track to achieve its earnings before interest and tax guidance of $49-50 million for the financial year ended 31 August 2008.

He added that the company is in a position to 'fully fund its routine company operations' and its Revitalise supply chain project and that it was continuing to achieve double digit sales growth.

Poll result: have you reported an incident to PDL? : 17/10/2008 :

This week's poll picked up on an article by PDL Chairman John Coppock in this month's Australian Journal of Pharmacy in which he stressed the importance of reporting 'incidents' to PDL, even when they seem trivial. In this week's AusPharm poll we asked 'listers to tell us how often (or whether) they'd lodged a report with PDL.

The results of the poll have it that most of us have lodged at least one report with a goodly proportion having lodged 'a number of times'. AusPharm can only assume that the 7 people who answered 'I've never had an incident to report' must be very recently registered pharmacists! Click the link below to see the results in full.

As many of you will already know, the PDL annual report recently landed in members' letter-boxes. Unlike many annual reports, this one is worth a read. If you don't have a hard copy you can get it on the PDL website here.

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GSK closes Real Plus Program : 16/10/2008 :

GSK announces yesterday that it was closing down its long running Real Plus Program for pharmacies.

According to GSK the program, under which pharmacies could obtain better trading terms than from the wholesalers, is a casualty of the recent PBS Reforms. GSK says that the introduction of the Community Services Obligation Funding Pool (CSOFP) and the implementation of the PBS Reform statutory price cuts resulted in the program no longer being viable. The companysays it will continue to support pharmacists by working with The Pharmacy Guild on beneficial initiatives such as MedsIndex and through other programs that support the quality use of its products,

The Real Plus program will close on November 1. GSK says that pharmacists with questions regarding the closure of the program should contact their GSK Territory Manager directly or call the Real Plus support team on 03 9721 5327.

NPS Campaign wins National PR award : 16/10/2008 :

The Get to know your medicines and Generic medicines are an equal choice campaigns run by National Prescribing Service Ltd in 2007 have won a 2008 National Golden Target Award from the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA). The Get to Know Your Medicines and Generic medicines are an equal choice campaign utilised a variety of channels and media, including television, to promote the Quality Use of Medicines and increase awareness of the quality of generic medicines.

The PRIA Golden Target Awards, now in their 32nd year, are Australia's premiere PR and Communication campaign awards. The Awards recognise excellence, best practice and professionalism in public relations.

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Webstercare October newsletter : 15/10/2008 :

Every second month our friends at Webstercare produce a newsletter that is distributed to all aged care homes throughout Australia.

They have kindly agreed to allow 'listers to access the newsletter through the (e)news. Each issue contains a Continuing Education feature and, while this is designed to be read by RACF staff, pharmacists will also find it interesting and, hopefully, enlightening as well.

Click here to download the Webstercare October 2008 newsletter in full. Click here if you have any feedback, suggestions or queries about the newsletter.

Poll: notifying PDL of an incident : 15/10/2008 :

On page 36 of this month's Australian Journal of Pharmacy there is an article by PDL Chairman, John Coppock, reminding pharmacists of the need to report 'incidents', even if they seem trivial. AusPharm won't rehash Mr Coppock's comments except to say that not reporting an incident may  affect your level of indemnity cover. We commend the article as a worthwhile read.

Reading it has us wondering to what extent people have heeded this (often expressed) advice and reported an incident to their professional insurer, PDL.

Please help us find out by ticking the relevant box in today's AusPharm poll below.

Prescription opioid policy, opioid diversion : 15/10/2008 :

A report just released by the Royal Australasian College of Physicians has expressed concern about the increasing use of opioid medications  for people with chronic non-malignant pain.

In a recent ABC Radio Health Report Norman Swan talked to one of the reports authors, Associate Professor Milton Cohen, a pain specialist at St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney.

This discussion ranges across the contemporary use (and misuse) of prescription opiates and touches on the issues of diversion and the need for additional community based 'pharmacotherapy' programs.

All is revealed here.

NPS: drug therapy not the answer in treating dementia : 14/10/2008 :

Almost 190,000 Australians have dementia and as Australia’s population ages, dementia becomes a bigger challenge for doctors, their patients and carers.

According to the National Prescribing Service Limited (NPS), there are limited benefits to using cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine in the treatment of patients with dementia.

“Research indicates that the benefits of cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine are small, some people will not respond and adverse effects are common,” says NPS clinical expert, Education and Quality Assurance Program Manager, Ms Judith Mackson.

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New initiative to strengthen the role of community pharmacy in palliative care : 14/10/2008 :

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia, with the support of Palliative Care Australia, will strengthen the role that pharmacists can play in the palliative care of patients with terminal conditions, through the funding of a new research project.

The study aims to raise awareness of community pharmacists and their team about the clinical and social needs of people living with a terminal condition, their families and carers. It will promote and strengthen collaboration between community pharmacists and specialist palliative care service providers regarding patient care.

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Senator has high praise for RUM : 14/10/2008 :

At a celebration in Canberra last week to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the RUM (Return Unwanted Medicines) Project, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing, Senator Jan McLucas said RUM had started as ‘a good idea that has turned into something incredibly valuable to the community’.

She said it was wonderful to be able to celebrate 10 years of a ‘terrific’ project of which every community pharmacist in Australia was a member.

‘It is a huge success story. You have done a great job; keep doing it and we will continue our partnership with you,’ Ms McLucas said.

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Last chance to take part in NPS Diabetes Pharmacy Practice Review : 13/10/2008 :

With just a few weeks left to participate, more than 2270 pharmacists and intern pharmacists have signed up for the National Prescribing Service Limited’s (NPS) new-look Pharmacy Practice Review, which is aimed at extending the quality of care for patients with type 2 diabetes.

“We’ve had good feedback about the diabetes review kit and the number of enrolments to date is another indication we have come up with an effective tool - pharmacists say they are using the materials to better communicate with their patients, which is yielding positive results,” said NPS Deputy CEO, Ms Karen Kaye.

Enrolment remains open and those who complete the activity by 24 October 2008 will receive feedback in February 2009.

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Australia: The Healthiest Country By 2020? : 13/10/2008 :

Late last week the federal government's National Preventative Health Taskforce released a discussion paper aimed at kickstarting debate on developing a National Preventative Health Strategy.

The Taskforce proposes a number of targets which it says can be achieved by 2020. These are:

  • Halt and reverse the rise in overweight and obesity;
  • Reduce the prevalence of daily smoking to 9% or less;
  • Reduce the prevalence of harmful drinking for all Australians by 30%; and
  • Contribute to closing the 17 year gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

The paper outlines options for reform, rather than making final recommendations. The Taskforce will now accept public submissions, before delivering its National Preventative Health Strategy to Government in mid-2009.

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API appoints new Director : 10/10/2008 :

Emergency Locum Service funding renewed : 10/10/2008 :

The Emergency Locum Service, an initiative of the Rural Pharmacy Workforce Program, has had its funding renewed. The contract to administer the scheme has been awarded to the Pharmaceutical Locum Company which  successfully re-tendered to provide the service.


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Guild R&D Program funds pharmacotherapy research : 10/10/2008 :

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia, has contracted Price waterhouse Coopers (PwC) to develop and evaluate a funding model for a program to deliver pharmacotherapy services in the community setting.

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Poll: name brands or house brands? : 10/10/2008 :

This week's AusPharm poll tried to get a sense of how pharmacists feel about switching people from a 'name' brand OTC to a house brand. This followed the Australian Self-Medication Industry's (ASMI) recent warning to pharmacists that switching customers to home brands posed a risk to their customer loyalty and to their profitability. While it's difficult to draw too much from this particular poll, a few themes do emerge.

Pharmacists do seem attracted to the higher margins house brands offer in most circumstances but, at the same time, most see a place in pharmacy for both name brands and house brands to happily co-exist.

Click the link to see the result in detail. 

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New Cochrane Reviews released : 09/10/2008 :

A number of new Cochrane Reviews were released on the Cochrane Library website yesterday. These include:

  • St. John’s Wort Relieves Symptoms of Major Depression
  • Probiotic Bacteria Don’t Make Eczema Better – And May Have Side Effects
  • Formoterol For Asthma: Evidence of Serious Adverse Effects

Also new at the Cochrane website this year is a collection of podcasts discussing recent reviews. Podcasts are available for the three reviews listed above (and many more).

The Cochrane Library website is here and the podcast section is here.

A current treatment approach to ADHD : 09/10/2008 :

The quality of a child’s relationships and their diet are now known to be minor risk factors implicated in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). 

However, according to an article in the current Australian Prescriber, biological factors, including genetics, remain the most significant factor, so they must all be considered before treatment can begin. 

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Tens of thousands of $$$ worth of free advertising : 09/10/2008 :

Love 'em or hate 'em, CW certainly knows how to be in the right place at the right time, including last night on Channel 7 news in Melbourne during a 'Channel 7 shows us how to cope during the hard times with the bargain hunter. Clues on shopping, eating, etc.....' Click the photo to see a larger version. 


Poll: name brands or house brands? : 08/10/2008 :

Last week the Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI) warned pharmacists that switching customers to home brands posed a risk to their customer loyalty and to their profitability. There were a few (scornful) comments subsequently posted to AusPharmList.

What do you think? Is ASMI right? Or are house brands a better option? Is there a happy medium?

Please let us know what you think by voting in todays' AusPharm poll below.

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