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AusPharm news

Blackmores profit up : 15/09/2008 :

Complementary medicine company Blackmores last week announced a record profit for the year ending June 30, 2008.

Compared to the previous year group sales increased 4.2% to $179 million, with Australian sales up 4.6% to $152 million. Net profit after tax was $189.1 million, up 14.5% on 2006/07. Blackmores Chairman Marcus Blackmore said in the company's annual report to shareholders that, despite the current tougher economic conditions, the company is 'hopeful of marginal growth in sales and profitability' in 2008/09.

The company is to open a new manufacturing plant at Warriewood, on Sydney's northern beaches late in 2008 and is in the final stages of choosing a new CEO. Blackmores shares are currently trading at around $18.

FIP: Next year in Istanbul : 12/09/2008 :

This was the almost universal farewell when FIP Basel closed down on Thursday night. Closed with a party at a magnificent art gallery/museum among the Picassos, and Rembrandts, and  Monets. And Rodin sculptures. In a beautiful city with over three thousand colleagues from around the world. Lots of old friends, who in the main only see each other once a year at FIP. And lots of new friends, to meet up with again, next year In Istanbul.

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Poll result: how rural are 'listers? : 12/09/2008 :

This week's AusPharm poll attempted to get a sense of 'listers 'rurality'.

Here at AusPharm we get the sense that, collectively, you tend more to the rural than the population as a whole.
Well, this week's poll seems to confirm this.

When we published the poll on Wednesday we mentioned that these polls are put together with little 'statistical rigour' if you like, and the results should not be taken too seriously. Despite the limitations, we think our polls often give a good sense of things and of the way pharmacists are thinking.

Click the link to see a graphical representation of the outcome of this week's poll.

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South Australian Pharmacist of the Year : 12/09/2008 :

Justin Turner, of Hayborough Pharmacy, was named as South Australian Pharmacist of the Year at the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (SA Branch) awards night on September 8. The award was presented for Justin’s “outstanding commitment to professional pharmacy services”.

In presenting the award, PSA (SA Branch) President Grant Kardachi commended Justin’s achievements and commitment to delivering a range of professional pharmacy services. “Justin’s work is a great example of how pharmacists play an important role as integral members of the health-care team,” Mr Kardachi said.

Justin is pictured at right receiving his award from Mr Kardachi (click the picture to see a bigger version).

In accepting the award, Justin commended the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia for their commitment to professional pharmacy services and reflected on the satisfaction that comes with the delivery of patient-focused health care.

Poll: where do you live? : 11/09/2008 :

In the analysis to last week's locum availability poll we speculated that the result might have been skewed by what we thought the AusPharm demographic might be, wondering aloud whether it tended to the rural.

In what has turned out to be an (e)news with a very rural flavour, our poll today aims to have a look at this. While we don't expect the poll to provide results that are statistical valid in any way we're still interested to see what pops out the other end on Friday.

Please take a moment or two to tick the (most) relevant box in this week's AusPharm poll below.

Project STOP used as foundation for US system, MethShield™ : 11/09/2008 :

In the United States, Project STOP has been used as the foundation for a similar initiative called MethShield™.  Like STOP, MethShield™ is a real time web-based tool that enables pharmacists, retailers, and law enforcement agencies to track the sales of products containing pseudoephedrine. The MethShield™ online system instantly alerts law enforcement if an individual is attempting to make an illegal purchase - allowing them to catch the potential meth “cook” in the act.

The export of Project STOP to the United States is another highlight in the short but impressive life of the program, which started with a highly successful trial in Queensland in October 2005. The national roll-out of Project STOP last year has all but put an end to the practices of “pseudo-runners” in pharmacies that have adopted the program.

Kos Sclavos, National President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia said, “It is not surprising that the proven effectiveness of Project STOP is drawing attention from law enforcement and pharmaceutical regulators in the United States and other countries.  Like Australia, they are crying out for a practical solution to the problem of pseudoephedrine diversion.”

Pharmacists to play a bigger role in assisting patients manage their warfarin therapy? : 11/09/2008 :

A new research project has been funded under the provisions of the R&D component of the Fourth Community Pharmacy Agreement to look at ways patients can better manage their warfarin therapy.

The time of highest risk associated with warfarin therapy is after patients are discharged from hospital, especially after being commenced on the drug. Previous research has established that a suitably trained pharmacist visiting patients at home following discharge from hospital can significantly reduce the occurrence of major side effects. This new project aims to develop a model for therapy management, involving community pharmacists in partnership with other health professionals.

The project will be conducted by researchers from the University of Tasmania, the University of Sydney, the University of South Australia and the University of Wollongong.

Schedule 8 drugs can no longer be posted : 10/09/2008 :

There has been a recent change to the Australia Post Terms and Conditions in relation to posting of drugs of dependence. Under condition 63.1  "a poison, drug or medicine which is a narcotic substance shall not be lodged for carriage by post".

The effect of this condition is that drugs of dependence (S8s) can no longer be posted.
This has the potential to create problems, especially in rural areas, as the only alternative may be a courier with receipting facilities. 'Listers may care to offer a solution or comment if this has or will have an effect in their jurisdiction.

French scientologists 'illegally practicing as pharmacists'? : 10/09/2008 :

Over the last day or two there has been quite a bit of media attention (eg here) on a legal case in France in which a French judge has ordered members of the Church of Scientology to stand trial on fraud charges.

Apparently the charges include "illegally practicing as pharmacists". AusPharm has been told that these charges have been brought at the urging of the French equivalent of the PSA.

Can anyone provide more detail as to the nature of the charge and the involvement of the French 'PSA'?

More Australians at FIP : 10/09/2008 :

Further to our comments yesterday on Australians presenting at FIP last week, it's been pointed out to us that we omitted to mention a number of other presentations and contributions made by Australians.

At the risk of further compounding our error by still missing people, others to make contributions at FIP included Peter Stewart, Jennifer Marriott, Kirstie Galbraith, Tamara Lee, Tim Chen, Ross McKinnon and Bill Charman.

Clearly, Australians continue to punch above their weight in the international pharmacy community.

The week's PHARMeFOOTY winners : 09/09/2008 :

In our final report for 2008 ....... this week's top 'lister PHARMeFOOTY NRL tipster was Boris Feldman from NSW.

Boris will will receive for his efforts one of our AusPharm pens and a FRED OFFICE flash drive (1Gb).

Thanks to everyone for a fun year in PHARMeFOOTY tipping. PHARMeFOOTY will be back as usual in 2009!


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Animation of tablet press : 08/09/2008 :

While  Wikipedia is not an academic reference source...

The Wikipedia picture of the day for 1 September was a very nice animated image of a tablet press. While AusPharm doesn't know how accurate a depiction it is, we thought 'listers might like to have a look.

You can see the full sized, animated version here.

Australians at FIP 2008 : 08/09/2008 :

A number of Australian pharmacists presented at FIP 2008 over the last week.

These included (click the presentation title to access the presentation slides):

* Simon Bell: Community Pharmacy Business or Healthcare: An Australian Perspective
* Andy Gilbert: Setting appropriate national standards of competence: Pharmacy workforce and education
* Alison Roberts: Change management in community pharmacy - Introductory lecture
* Charlie Benrimoj: From capacity building to implementation - The role of universities, national professional organisations and international organisations
* Lisa Nissen: Pharmacists Influences on the Prescribing of Medicines

This week's PHARMeFOOTY celebrity tips : 05/09/2008 :

Welcome to the last PHARMeFOOTY celebrity tips for 2008. This week we only have NRL tips, of course, as the AFL home and away season finished last week with the finals series to begin this weekend.

We have two guest tipsters this week, Ken Sternes, who's really shown some skill at this in recent weeks and Irwin the evil chemist, filling in for Medici Capital's Frank Sirianni.

Irwin says:

"This week, I have tipped the aquatic species to prevail over land based mammals. Except for the Bronchos and Tigers unless they were wearing aqualungs. And Storm: that just doesn't make sense. Much like my tipping over the years."

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Health Corporation notches up $1.87 million loss : 05/09/2008 :

In a statement lodged with the stock exchange last week Health Corporation, parent company of the Health Information Pharmacy (HIP) group, announced a $1.87million loss for the year ended June 30, 2008.

According to Health Corporation Chairman, Graham Dunkley, a company restructure, the departure of some non compliant pharmacies and continued expansion of the HIP group will see the company soon transition into profitability.

Mr Dunkley said that shareholder patience and support 'will be rewarded in due course'.

NAB off-loads 12.5 million Sigma shares : 05/09/2008 :

Last week we reported that SIGMA had been asked by the stock exchange (ASX) if they knew why their share price had spiked in recent weeks. It replied that, while it was aware that Hedge Funds 'were positioning for a break up of the drug maker and wholesaler', it was not aware of any reason for the share price spike.

While AusPharm also does not know what factors might be influencing the SIGMA share price, yesterday NAB (and associates) lodged a notice with the stock exchange (ASX) to report that it hold sold approximately $18 million worth of shares in SIGMA.

A quick look at the ASX website (here) reveals that the SIGMA share price continues to rise.

Poll result: locum pharmacists, are there enough of 'em? : 05/09/2008 :

This week's poll asked 'listers what the availability of locums was like in their area.

The result, shown below, seems to suggest to us that, despite the supposed pending glut of pharmacists,  things still ain't rosy in all areas.

Perhaps this result reflects the demographics of 'list members, who tend more to the rural than is the norm (we think - If only we'd asked for post codes when we got you all to register!).


Correction: André Bédat Award : 04/09/2008 :

In yesterday's (e)news we incorrectly awarded Margaret Bickle, pictured at right, the 2006 André Bédat Award. This was a slip of the finger as we knew, and are sure you did too, that Mrs Bickle won the award in 1996.

We expect you also knew that Australians have won this award three of the 11 times it has been awarded since its inception in 1986. As well as Margaret Bickle in 1996, Australian pharmacy legends Alan Russel (1992) and John Bell (2004) have also won the award.

Coles ordered to sell Pharmacy Direct : 04/09/2008 :

The NSW Supreme Court has ordered a Coles Group company ( to sell its shares in Pharmacy Direct to a pharmacist, pharmacist partnership or pharmacist body corporate, having previously deemed its ownership to be illegal.

undefinedThe court order, agreed to by, follows declarations made by the Court in May (see our stories at the time - here and here). The May outcome, however, is still the subject of an appeal and this week's divestiture order has been stayed pending the outcome of that appeal.

Poll: locum pharmacists, are there enough of 'em? : 03/09/2008 :

The conventional wisdom 10 years ago was that there was a shortage of pharmacists, including locums, in Australia. However, in recent times, AusPharm has the sense that this perceived shortage has eased, in part no doubt because of the huge increase in graduate numbers in the last few year.

What's it like in your area? Are there enough locum pharmacists to cover days off,  holidays and emergencies? Please let us know by participating in this week's AusPharm poll below.

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