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Debbie Rigby appointed to NPS Board : 30/07/2008 :

Well known Australian pharmacist Debbie Rigby, pictured at left, has been appointed a Director of the the National Prescribing Service (NPS), effective August 25.

Ms Rigby said she was excited and honoured to be appointed to the NPS Board. “I’ve been a strong advocate of NPS and the vital role it plays in ensuring quality use of medicines, and pharmacists play a very important role in achieving this,” she said, adding “I look forward to participating in this role and will strive to represent all pharmacists.”

PSA President Brian Grogan said “With Debbie’s vast experience as an accredited pharmacist and her high-level clinical skills, she will be ideally suited to fulfil the duties of the NPS position.”

PMP Program - it's not too late to enroll : 29/07/2008 :

The Pharmacy Guild has issued a reminder to members who haven't yet enrolled in the Patient Medication Profile Program that it's not too late to do so.

Pharmacies enrolling now are still eligible for ongoing program incentive payments.

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2008 Student Business Plan competition enters final stages : 28/07/2008 :

The 2008 National Student Business Plan Competition has entered its final stages as the 6 semi-finalists compete for three places in the final. The three finalists will present their business plans live on stage at the Pharmacy Women’s Congress on 29 to 31 August 2008. The overall winner will receive $6,000 of the total $15,000 prize pool for their team and university.

The annual competition, which is in its second year, helps students prepare for the challenges of setting up a small pharmacy business, giving them practical experience in everything from pitching their business idea to a prospective financier to deciding on their pharmacy’s health services. Student teams are guided by an industry mentor to produce a blueprint of their vision in the form of a business plan.

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Big fines handed out to Pfizer, Allergan : 28/07/2008 :

Medicines Australia, the organisation representing drug companies in Australia, last week published its Code of Conduct Annual Report, which documents all determinations made by the independent Code of Conduct Committee about complaints lodged during 2007-08.

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Poll result: charging for tax print outs : 25/07/2008 :

This week's AusPharm poll followed on from last week's which determined that pretty much everyone DOESN'T charge to provide customers with end of financial year tax printouts. This week we asked whether there *should* be a charge levied.

The result is shown below and, while many respondents think 'free' supply is OK (because these are regular customers) about a third (more, counting some of those 'undecided') think that a charge should be levied. Perhaps the traditional pharmacist 'let's do it for free' mindset is slowly starting to change?


New NAPSA executive elected : 25/07/2008 :

At the recent NAPSA Annual General Meeting in Perth, Griffith University (Qld) pharmacy student Lisa Goldsmith was elected President for the coming year.

Members of the new executive, pictured below from left to right are: Guy Horne, University of Tasmania (TAPS) as National Treasurer, Lisa Goldsmith, Griffith University, President; Samantha Corrigan, University of Queensland (QPSA) as the National Vice President; and Jennifer Gordon, University of South Australia (SAPSA) as National Secretary.

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Guild President calls for pharmacist 'Medication Continuance' : 24/07/2008 :

In a speech to the National Press Club yesterday Guild National President Kos Sclavos called for the introduction of pharmacist 'Medication Continuance'.

Mr Sclavos pointed out that just 20 medicines, used to treat a number of chronic conditions, make up 45 million prescription (or 25 per cent of all claimed PBS items) each year. “For these medicines, once a doctor has initiated therapy, it is our view that a pharmacist should be able to continue that therapy for up to 12 months,” he said. "Some would view this proposal as pharmacist prescribing, but we see it as Medication Continuance.”

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J&J: don't switch consumers to a home brand cold & flu prep : 23/07/2008 :

Johnson and Johnson, makers of a number of branded cold and flu ranges, including Codral and Sudafed, have released the findings of a survey1 showing that some consumers have concerns about being 'switched' to a generic cold and flu product.

According to J&J, 39% of consumers dislike it when their pharmacist tries to switch them to a private label when buying over-the-counter cold & flu products, and 25% are less likely to return to the same pharmacy after being switched.

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Guild appoints new CEO : 22/07/2008 :

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia yesterday announced the appointment of Wendy Phillips, pictured at right, as its new Chief Executive Officer. Ms Phillips has been part of the Guild team since 1992 when she was recruited as the Director of its Strategic Policy Division. In 2006 she was promoted to the newly created position of Deputy Chief Executive Officer.

Guild President Kos Sclavos said of the appointment, “I am very pleased to announce that we have chosen Wendy Phillips to serve the Guild and its members in this crucial position. Wendy has overseen the development of many major Guild policies, which have been aimed at increasing the recognition of the health care role of pharmacists and the value of the current network of community pharmacies to the Australian health system.

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Pharmacy - The World’s Oldest Profession?? : 22/07/2008 :

For most of our lives we have all heard jokes and snide comments about the “world’s oldest profession” in relation to “ladies of the night”, but is it?

One could mount a very good argument that pharmacy is probably man’s oldest profession, for doesn’t even the most primitive tribe have its shaman, medicine man or healer to take care of the sick?

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Researching pharmacists’ role in community mental health : 21/07/2008 :

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia has engaged a consortium of researchers to examine ways community pharmacists can play a role in the delivery of mental health services in the community.
The research project has been commissioned as part of the Fourth Community Pharmacy Agreement R&D Program and focuses on patients with mild to moderate mental illness. It brings together Healthcare Management Advisors, experts in service development, planning and evaluation in community pharmacy and mental health; La Trobe School of Pharmacy; Adstat, experts in statistics; and Freshbout Consulting, experts in health economics.

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Peterson calls for action on codeine based compound analgesics : 18/07/2008 :

2007 Australian Pharmacist of the Year, Professor Greg Peterson, pictured at right, has called for the establishment of a Project STOP like recording and monitoring system for codeine based compound analgesics.

Professor Peterson's call comes a week after a poster presentation at the Public Health Association's annual conference in Brisbane reported an alarming number of cases of injury caused by ibuprofen toxicity secondary to codeine dependence, including 39 cases of perforated stomach ulcers and 15 cases of renal failure.

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The Australian Immunisation Handbook 9th Edition : 18/07/2008 :

According to the Department of Health and Aging there have been reports of missing pages in the The Australian Immunisation Handbook 9th Edition 2008 (NHMRC). Anyone requiring a replacement copy can get it at the Immunise Australia Program website (here - link in right hand menu bar).
The Immunise Australia Program website is worth a look. It contains an FAQ section and a series of fact sheets you can print off for patients, including the ever popular Immunisation myths & realities. Responding to arguments against immunisation. Click here to have a look.

Poll result: charging for end of financial year tax print outs : 18/07/2008 :

This week's poll asked 'listers whether or not a charge was levied in the pharmacies they work in for the provision of end of financial year tax print outs. The result, which we are sure comes as no surprise to anyone, is shown below.
We'll see about running another poll next week to determine whether the opportunity to think about this, prompted by this poll, has changed anyone's mind about whether or not a charge is appropriate.

Minimising birth defect risk for pregnant women with epilepsy : 17/07/2008 :

Women taking antiepileptic drugs and planning a pregnancy are advised to prepare well ahead of conception to reduce the risk of birth defects, according to an article in the current edition of Australian Prescriber.
Associate Professor Cecilie Lander, Department of Neurology at the University of Queensland, states in the article that these women have two to three times more risk than other women of having a baby with a foetal abnormality. Taking more than one antiepileptic drug may carry a greater risk.

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US authorities say Ranbaxy faked test records : 17/07/2008 :

US Federal prosecutors are investigating Indian drug manufacturer, Ranbaxy Laboratories, for allegedly falsifying records that resulted in the production and sale of generic medicines in the United States that did not meet U.S. quality standards. Officials at a Ranbaxy plant in northern India fabricated test data to show their pills met Food and Drug Administration standards and attempted to conceal the ruse from FDA inspectors, prosecutors charge. Ranbaxy has denied the allegations.
Ranbaxy has agreed to release internal reports sought by the authorities saying that "the requested documentation will demonstrate that no data manipulation, fraud, or dishonesty occurred". According to the company the US investigation will not effect its US$4.6 billion sale to Japanese company Daiichi Sankyo.

Poll: what do you charge for end of financial year tax print outs? : 16/07/2008 :

It's the middle of July and people will have started asking their friendly community pharmacist for a family End-Of-Year tax printout.

What does the pharmacy you work in charge for this service? Please let us know by voting in this week's AusPharm poll at left.

Consultation workshops on regulatory reforms for therapeutic goods : 16/07/2008 :

As part of the process of progressing proposed reforms to Australia's regulatory framework for therapeutic goods the Therapeutic Goods Administration is conducting workshops in Canberra in July and August to advance and where possible finalise consultation with interested parties.
Workshops will be conducted for prescription medicines, complementary medicines, over-the-counter medicines and medical devices.

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2000 pharmacies now registered for Patient Medication Profile Program : 15/07/2008 :

The first round of registrations for the Patient Medication Profile (PMP) Program ended on June 30 but it is still possible for pharmacies to enrol to participate. Pharmacies registering now will still receive payment for the provision of registration and baseline evaluation data will, along with those pharmacies already registered, be eligible for ongoing incentive payments for the provision of biannual evaluation data.

The Program provides eligible patients with a comprehensive profile or list of all of the medicines they are taking, including prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medicines.

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PHARM, APAC to go : 14/07/2008 :

After a formal review of the operational arrangements of the Australian Pharmaceutical Advisory Council (APAC) and the Pharmaceutical Health And Rational use of Medicines (PHARM) Committee a decision has been made to disband the committees. The review and subsequent stakeholder consultation highlighted a need for reform in order to respond to the current National Medicines Policy environment.

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