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AusPharm news

Mixed reaction to 6CPA letter of intent : 19/05/2015 :

There was mixed reaction from interest groups yesterday to the news that a 'letter of intent' has been signed by the Pharmacy Guild and the government detailing some of the content of the 6th Community Pharmacy Agreement, due to commence on 1 July 2015.

Pharmacy groups and the Consumers Health Forum have welcomed the development however doctor groups are critical of the $1.2 billion in funding for pharmacy professional services and, in particular, the likely move by pharmacists into primary care.

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Advanced Practice Pharmacist credential draws nearer : 19/05/2015 :

The credentialing of 'Advanced Practice Pharmacists' has moved a step closer after a workshop was held last week to train credentialing evaluators.

“The training workshop was an important milestone for the advanced pharmacy practice pilot project”, said Australian Pharmacy Council (APC) CEO, Ms Bronwyn Clark.

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Yet another review of pharmacy planned : 19/05/2015 :

One measure flagged in the 6th Community Pharmacy Agreement 'letter of intent' that has received little comment from pharmacy groups so far is the  plan to hold 'the most significant independent and public review of the pharmacy sector ever conducted over the next two years, including consideration of both remuneration and regulation, such as location rules'.

According to Health Minister Sussan Ley 'Any findings and recommendations would look to be incorporated into future agreements'.

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June 2015 PBS schedule : 18/05/2015 :

Download the PBS schedule Summary of Changes

Download the PBS schedule

Download the PBS Efficient Funding of Chemotherapy Summary of Changes

Download the PBS Efficient Funding of Chemotherapy - full Supplement

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RGH E‑Bulletin: Neuroleptic malignant syndrome update : 18/05/2015 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Neuroleptic malignant syndrome update.

"The Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS) is a rare but potentially lethal complication associated with the use of antipsychotic (neuroleptic) drugs.  The incidence of NMS is estimated at 0.01%-0.02% of patients treated. This syndrome is also associated with use of other drugs that block dopaminergic transmission in the CNS, including metoclopramide and domperidone.  Abrupt withdrawal of dopaminergic drugs has also been implicated in precipitating  NMS.  Lithium and antidepressants have also been reported to cause NMS. The syndrome has an unpredictable occurrence but most often occurs within two weeks of starting an antipsychotic or a change of dose."

Click here to read the bulletin in full. The E‑Bulletins are archived on the AusPharmList website here.

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Guild: Real time monitoring key to stemming codeine abuse and dependency : 18/05/2015 :

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia has joined the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia in calling for the implementation of a national mandatory real-time monitoring system in community pharmacy to address the issue of abuse and dependency related to non-prescription medicines containing codeine.

The TGA’s Advisory Committee on Medicine Scheduling (ACMS) is to consider a proposal at its July meeting to move non-prescription codeine medicines to prescription only.

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6CPA 'Letter of Intent' signed : 18/05/2015 :

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia yesterday confirmed that it has signed a Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement  ‘letter of intent’ with the Minister for Health, Sussan Ley.

The Agreement - reported to be worth $18.9 billion - will cover pharmacy payments for dispensing PBS and RPBS subsidised medicines; wholesaler remuneration including the Community Service Obligation; the Pharmacy Location Rules; and Professional Programs and Services from 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2020.

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An open letter to the Hon Health Minister Sussan Ley MP : 15/05/2015 :

I’m in a bit of a pickle. My name is Amin-Reza Javanmard, and I own and run Broadwater Pharmacy on Brisbane Rd in the Inner-Northern part of the Gold Coast. In fact, my parents ran a small corner store across the road from my pharmacy, where I spent a lot of time clerking after primary and high school when I wasn’t doing homework in the old house behind it.

Anyway, back to my dilemma. As a result of continued pillaging of the PBS by successive governments, I am unable to continue to offer some of the complementary community services my pharmacy offered in the past.

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Senior PBS bureaucrat Kim Bessell moves on : 15/05/2015 :

In one of a number of changes to leadership positions in the federal Health Department, former PSA Young Pharmacist of the Year Kim Bessell is to move from his current position as Assistant Secretary of the Pharmaceutical Access Branch into a new role as Assistant Secretary eHealth Change and Adoption.

Mr Bessell was closely involved in all aspects of the 5th Community Pharmacy Agreement.

Julianne Quaine will take Mr Bessell's place as Assistant Secretary of the Pharmaceutical Access Branch and will have a leading role in the implementation and management of the 6th Community Pharmacy Agreement.

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MIMS Monthly Medicine Update : 14/05/2015 :

The MIMS May 2015 Monthly Medicine Update is now available. Click the link to read it now.

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NPS MedicineWise continues the fight against antibiotic overuse : 14/05/2015 :

Ahead of the 2015 cold and flu season, NPS MedicineWise has launched a new phase in its five year campaign to fight antibiotic resistance, 'Winter is coming', to encourage people to spread knowledge, not infection.

Combining social media content every day in May with renewed calls for Australians to take the antibiotic resistance fighter pledge, NPS MedicineWise has also partnered with Tropfest, the world's largest short film festival, to launch a novel short film competition designed to tap into the skills and expertise of our creative storytelling community.

Details are available at winteriscoming.nps.org.au

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Another new study points to poor asthma treatment outcomes : 14/05/2015 :

Another new study on asthma control in Australian patients reveals that 25% of people with asthma have uncontrolled asthma and use preventative medication infrequently or never.

A further 20 per cent have uncontrolled symptoms despite regularly using their medication, possibly due to incorrect inhaler technique, the authors of the study suggest.

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Qld pharmacist cautioned following investigation into criminal offences : 14/05/2015 :

The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal has cautioned pharmacist Malcolm Coghill following an investigation by the former Pharmacists Board of Queensland into criminal offences.

The matter dates back to September 2009 when Mr Coghill was convicted of fraud under the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (WCRA).

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PSS thanks volunteers for 20 years of support : 14/05/2015 :

This week's National Volunteer Week, which runs from 11th to 17th May, provides an opportunity to acknowledge the work of the pharmacists and retired pharmacists who support their colleagues as volunteers with the Pharmacists’ Support Service (PSS). 

About 25 pharmacists, professionally trained for this role, work behind the scenes to provide telephone support service to Australian pharmacists, interns and pharmacy students who call to discuss issues causing stress in their lives.

To contact PSS for support or advice, phone 1300 244 910.

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1000 deaths a year from unintentional poisoning by pharmaceuticals : 13/05/2015 :

New data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) reveals that unintentional poisoning by pharmaceuticals accounted for 917 injury deaths in Australia during 2009–10, a figure that has remained relatively constant since 2000. The number accounted for 8.6% of all injury deaths for 2009-10. Unintentional poisoning deaths involving pharmaceuticals were over twice as numerous for males as females in 2009–10.

Almost 70% of the deaths were due to poisoning by narcotics. Of these deaths, 26% were poisoning by heroin, 45% were poisoning by other opioids and 19% were poisoning by methadone. More than 62% of these deaths were in the age range 25–44.

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Few budget surprises, no answers on 6CPA : 13/05/2015 :

The 2015 Budget held few surprises, with many of the significant budget measures having been leaked days or even weeks ago.

There was no news in the budget about what the 6th Community Pharmacy Agreement might contain or about possible associated savings measures that may form part of the Government's wider proposed PBS package.

Two PBS measures that were announced are that the Government is still committed to lifting the safety net threshold by two prescriptions and 10% each year (for general and concessional patients respectively) and still intends to proceed with increases in the PBS co-payment, both measures first announced in last year's budget.

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Medicines labels help to minimise risk : 13/05/2015 :

A significant number of medicines have the potential to pose a health and safety risk as a result of unintended exposure when people other than the patient – such as carers, family members or healthcare professionals – handle the medicine.

To help protect people from such exposure, the latest edition of the Australian Pharmaceutical Formulary and Handbook (APF23) contains a list of hazardous medicines that are cytotoxic, designated as pregnancy category X or D and/or reported to pose a risk to patients or carers through inappropriate handling.

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Poll: are you in favour of discounting the PBS co-payment? : 13/05/2015 :

One of the big issues in pharmacy in recent weeks has been the government's proposal to discount the PBS co-payment as a means of introducing more 'competition' into the community pharmacy sector and delivering cheaper medicines to consumers.

The measure has been vigorously opposed by both the Pharmacy Guild and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia on quality use of medicines (QUM), equity and business grounds but has garnered some support from consumers.

Is this good policy or a retrograde step? What do you think? Please let us know by voting in today's AusPharm poll.

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2015 flu vaccine: which one? : 13/05/2015 :

With two different influenza (flu) vaccine formulations available this winter, NPS MedicineWise has prepared some information to assist pharmacists and consumers understand the difference between the two.

Manager of the NPS MedicineWise Medicines Line Sarah Spagnardi said yesterday it’s understandable that people are asking questions about what is right for them, given that there are more options available to help combat the upcoming flu season.

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Professional service delivery experts to share their secrets and tips at PSA15 : 13/05/2015 :

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s new concept in pharmacy conferences, PSA15, will feature two award-winning pharmacists sharing their hands-on experiences in the growing area of health service delivery.

Canberra’s Samantha Kourtis will share her experience with running a wound management service and Bathurst’s Paul Jones will relate how sleep apnoea services have gained prominence in his pharmacy.

Ms Kourtis is a community pharmacist and the managing partner of Capital Chemist Charnwood (ACT), which was named QCPP Pharmacy of the Year 2014. She was also named Telstra ACT Business Woman of the Year 2014.

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