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AusPharm news

Poll: who has a lunch break? : 25/09/2008 :

Every 12 months or so the issue of whether or not pharmacists get a lunch break gets a run in one or other of the pharmacy publications. This happened recently when Pharmacy News reported on the 13th annual remuneration survey conducted by the Pharmacist Division of APESMA.

This week's AusPharm poll asks 'listers to help us find out how it is for them. We'd like to see if we can get some detail so please make a special effort to tick the relevant box below.




Blackmores appoints new CEO : 25/09/2008 :

Blackmores yesterday announced the appointment of Christine Holgate, pictured below, as its new Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director.

Ms Holgate comes to Blackmores from a career background in sales, marketing, communication and finance. Her last position was as Executive Director Sales and Channels, Telstra Business.

She will commence in her new role before the end of 2008 on an initial salary package of $600k p/a.




Guild grieves for former Communications chief : 25/09/2008 :

Former Guild National Communications Director, Peter Leonard, has died in Canberra, aged 63.

Mr Leonard, pictured at left, retired from his Communications Consultant role at the Guild’s National Secretariat in 2003, but maintained a close personal and professional relationship with the Guild in recent years.  This included continuing master of ceremonies duties at important Guild functions and conferences.

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Public to get a say on PBS listings : 25/09/2008 :

Consumers will now be able to comment on medicines being considered for listing on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

Health Minister Nicola Roxon announced yesterday that Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) meeting agendas will be made publicly available six weeks before each meeting is held.

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NSW Board prods pharmacists on CMIs : 24/09/2008 :

In its recent Bulletin X to registered pharmacists in NSW the Pharmacy Board of NSW has re-iterated to pharmacists what is expected of them with the provision of Consumer Medicines Information to patients.

Board President Gerard McInerney, pictured at right, reminded pharmacists of Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Senator Jan McLucas's, comments at the APP conference in March that her personal experience and that of her staff was that CMIs were not always being provided in accordance with PBS reqyuirements.

The Board points out that providing CMIs is essential to promoting quality use of medicines and that withholding a CMI on the basis that this is in the patient's best interests is not a course of action to be undertaken lightly.  Pharmacy professional insurer, PDL, has cautioned against withholding a CMI unless the pharmacist has formed an opinion that the patient's physical or mental health may be harmed by information contained in a CMI, that the pharmacist has discussed the possible risks with the prescriber and has consulted their insurer on the relevant circumstances.




Pharmacy respect : 24/09/2008 :

This landed in the AusPharm inbox yesterday (thanks Robbo!). While we've had a look at it before it's good enough to warrant a rerun. Click the screen to watch.




Debbie Rigby joins NPS Board : 24/09/2008 :

Brisbane-based consultant clinical pharmacist, Debbie Rigby, is now an National Prescribing Service (NPS) director, replacing Guild Divisional Director, Jenny Bergin, the previous Pharmacy Class director, on the Board. Ms Rigby joined the NPS Board on 24 August and attended her first Board meeting on 19 September.

NPS CEO, Dr Lynn Weekes said that Ms Rigby's appointment to the NPS Board is a significant acknowledgement of the increasingly important role of pharmacists in health promotion and the promotion of the quality use of medicines in the community.

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SIGMA releases half year results : 23/09/2008 :

SIGMA Pharmaceuticals yesterday released half year results for the period ending July 31, 2008.

Earnings before income tax were up 29% on the corrsponding period for 2007. Net profit after tax was also up as was earnings per share. Details are available on the ASX website (here) and on SIGMA werbsite (here).

Managine Director Elmo de Alwis said that "the business is [now] well positioned to generate strong returns to shareholders".




Repeat reminders vis SMS : 22/09/2008 :

Australian company eClinic has developed a communication platform for pharmacies which provides the means for pharmacists to send owing and last repeat script requests to GPs and specialists, and repeat reminders to patients via SMS.

After working primarily with the electronic delivery of pathology results for the past 7 years, eClinic has established a secure online network which delivers close to 1 million pathology results monthly to over 2500 medical and veterinary clinics across Australia.

The pharmacy tool, called eClinic Pharmacy, interfaces and extracts data from major dispensing systems for review within the eClinic Pharmacy application interface.

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New requirements for child resistant packaging published : 19/09/2008 :

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) recently published Therapeutic Goods Order No. 80, whose objective is to set particular requirements for the packaging of medicines that may present a significant risk of toxicity to children if accidentally ingested.

These requirements relate to child resistant packaging - that is, packaging that is designed to be resistant to opening by young children.

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CPA4 funded research project to examine compliance : 19/09/2008 :

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia has appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Health Advisory Practice to undertake an 18 month pharmacy practice research project focused on the complex issues of medication compliance.

The trial, which will include over 100 pharmacies, will focus on developing and evaluating strategies that assist people who have poor medication compliance based on accurate identification of differing types of non-compliance.

It will investigate possible indicators and causes for non-compliance and propose specific patient-centred approaches tailored to address these causes. The research team will also explore linkages with existing professional services such as Dose Administration Aids, Patient Medication Profile and Home Medicines Review.




Poll result: staffing the new pharmacy professional programs : 19/09/2008 :

This week's AusPharm poll asked 'listers to comment on whether they have sufficient pharmacist staff to provide the new professional pharmacy programs funded by CPA4 (eg DAAs, PMP, DMAS).

While the results portray a mixed bag, if you like, it seems that most pharmacies are trying to make do with existing staff and are struggling. Why are pharmacies trying to make do with what they have? We don't know but perhaps Peter Crother's post today provides some insight into this.

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FDA has concerns with two Ranbaxy manufacturing plants - not known whether Australian products involved : 18/09/2008 :

On September 16, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued two Warning Letters to generics manufacturer Ranbaxy Laboratories. The Warning Letters address the manufacturing conditions at two different Ranbaxy plants in India, in which FDA inspections have shown 'extensive deviations from U.S. current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) requirements'.

The FDA also issued an Import Alert, which it can use to bar the import of products from these two Ranbaxy facilities, unless they are shown to be in compliance with the cGMP requirements. The FDA has advised consumers currently taking a Ranbaxy product affected by the action not to interrupt their drug therapy as it has no evidence of harm to any patients who have taken drugs made in the two Ranbaxy facilities affected.

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Poll: staffing the new professional programs in community pharmacy : 17/09/2008 :

As part of the Fourth Community Pharmacy Agreement a number of new professional practice programs have been added to the community pharmacy armoury. These include the Diabetes Medication Assistance Service, The Patient Medication Profile (PMP) Program and The Dose Administration Aids (DAA) Program.

In his first column in the PSA member journal Australian Pharmacist, new PSA National President Warwick Plunkett says that the process of introducing of these kinds of programs 'must be accelerated if the profession is to prosper'.

How is the pharmacy you work in managing the implementation of these programs, with respect to its pharmacist employees? Please let us know by ticking the relevant box in this week's AusPharm poll below.




Don't call Triple Zero - see your pharmacist instead : 17/09/2008 :

The Queensland government, as part of a new awareness campaign encouraging the appropriate use of Triple Zero for ambulance services, is suggesting that people, when appropriate, 'utilise the 13HEALTH service, their local GP or pharmacist' instead.

The new campaign aims to address concerns that highly-trained, well-resourced paramedics are being sent to cases that don't warrant their level of expertise – taking away from their vital role of attending life-threatening medical emergencies.

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Pharma regulatory reforms recommended : 17/09/2008 :

The Productivity Commission yesterday released its Annual Review of Regulatory Burdens on Business. This year's review contains a number of recommendations that relate to the regulation of pharmaceuticals in Australia.

Amongst the recommendations is that the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee should be allowed, when requested by applicants, to conduct its assessment of a medicine for PBS listing in parallel with the TGA’s assessment of the application to register the medicine. Medicines Australia CEO, Ian Chalmers said in response to this: “This one measure could reduce by a full year the time taken to list a new medicine on the PBS."

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Careful what you say : Big Brother may be watching : 16/09/2008 :

When people register with AusPharm one of the things they agree to is this:

"The views expressed in AusPharmList posts are those of the person who composes the post. They are not the views of Mark Dunn, others who moderate AusPharmList from time to time, or AusPharmList sponsors. As a condition of having the post broadcast to AusPharmList members, the author specifically indemnifies the moderators and sponsors from any actions that might result from libelous or defamatory posts. Contributors should be particularly careful and have information checked when making specific reference to an individual or company."

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Pharmacy cricket on again in 2009 : 16/09/2008 :

The annual cricket tournament played between pharmacists from each Australian state is on again in 2009 with three days of cricket and camaraderie scheduled for Adelaide from January 21 to 25.

Pharmacist cricketers interested in playing in 2009 should contact their state organisers or one of the committee members listed on the Pharmacy Cricket website. Once again in 2009, AusPharm hopes to be there, both as a player for Tasmania and to report on events for 'listers. Any Tasmanians interested in coming along should drop me a line.

The interstate carnival was first held in 1908 - with NSW winning the 100th anniversary final in Bowral in January, 2008.  For more information visit the Pharmacy Cricket  website.




Pharmacy lumped in with Retail in proposed new award : 16/09/2008 :

Back in March 2008 Julia Gillard, the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations (pictured below), asked the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) to review and modernise Australia awards, having regard to "the desirability of reducing the number of awards".

On September 12 the AIRC's Award Modernisation Full Bench issued a statement in relation to the exposure drafts of the priority modern awards, including the Retail Industry Award.

The exposure draft of this award includes pharmacy.

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ADV: AACP at PAC 2008. : 15/09/2008 :

Consultant pharmacists will be descending on Perth in numbers for the October 24th AACP Special Interest pre-conference workshop with almost 80 registrants to date. Remember, if you want to attend this day you should register as soon as possible or you may miss out.

This will be a wonderful chance to network with your peers as well as hearing some of Australia's best clinical pharmacists speak about issues of interest.

AACP at PAC 2008 - Perth Convention Exhibition Centre, October 24th. NOW is the time to register, leave it too long and you may regret the delay. ACT NOW.

Register NOW on the PAC 008 web site: www.pac2008.com.au




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