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AusPharm news

Pharmacy practice review: enhancing patient care in type 2 diabetes : 14/07/2008 :

The National Prescribing Service says that its new-look Pharmacy Practice Review counselling and action resource has been well received by pharmacists, assisting them to better communicate with their patients.
According to NPS, the new-look materials better support pharmacist-patient counselling and interaction. They include tear-off pads with information to use in discussion with patients, an action checklist for pharmacists to work through with individual patients and the latest clinical information about best practice in drug use in type 2 diabetes.

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Preview the new 'Ask your pharmacist' TV ad : 11/07/2008 :

A new 'Ask your pharmacist' TV advertising campaign starts on Sunday and will run for three weeks on free to air TV (Channels 9 & 10) and for four weeks on subscription TV. The campaign is supported by in pharmacy point of sale material, a pharmacy assistants' competition and magazine articles.

The campaign, by Sanofi-Aventis, builds on the very successful Gold Cross Branding Campaign conducted in September/October 2008 that raised awareness of the Gold Cross as a symbol of Pharmacy. Over 75% of people surveyed after the campaign, reported that pharmacies were a source of trust, service and advice.

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Poll: Aug 1 and PBS prices result : 11/07/2008 :

This week's AusPharm poll asked 'listers to report on how well their pharmacies were managing their stock in the lead up to the August 1 price drops. The results are shown below.

While 59% of respondents report that they are on top of this, allowing for some disappointments, AusPharm's take on this is that approximately half of all pharmacies will break even or better with the other half losing money in the lead up to August 1. AusPharm thinks that those who did well out of this were those who (micro-)managed their dispensary stock, commencing in April or earlier.

Guild Executive Director resigns : 10/07/2008 :

Executive Director of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Kieran Schneeman, has resigned from the position, effective Friday July 4, to pursue other interests.

Mr Schneeman was originally appointed to the position in July 2006. Prior to that he was CEO of Medicines Australia.

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Complementary therapies – jury is out on cold prevention : 10/07/2008 :

If you want to avoid a cold over winter, your best chance to do so is to practice good hygiene techniques rather than take preventive medicines, according to the National Prescribing Service Limited (NPS) Common colds need common sense, not antibiotics campaign.

Executive Manager of Quality Use of Medicines (QUM) Programs for NPS, Karen Kaye, said many people take vitamins, mineral supplements and other herbal remedies at this time of year to avoid a cold.

“The evidence currently at hand seems to indicate that vitamin C supplements, zinc and echinacea do not assist in cold prevention,” she said. “In the case of echinacea particularly, the quality of these medicines can differ greatly and most have not been tested in good quality clinical trials.”

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Poll: Aug 1 and PBS prices : 09/07/2008 :

August 1 approaches and to varying degrees the major wholesalers and generic suppliers have dropped their prices to the 'new' levels.

How is the pharmacy you work in going with all this? Is your stock management procedure right, and generating additional profit? Or is it all a bit hard?

Please let us know by voting in this week's poll below.

Another study highlights pharmacists' role in asthma management : 08/07/2008 :

A Tasmanian study published in the current issue of the Medical Journal of Australia describes a strategy for pharmacists to identify patients whose asthma management is sub-optimal and then be part of a multidisciplinary intervention to improve their management.
In the study a software application “data-mined” medication records, generating a list of patients who had received three or more canisters of inhaled short-acting β2-agonists in the preceding 6 months. The patients identified were then allocated to an intervention or control group.

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CHOICE: Fine should be higher for drug company spin : 08/07/2008 :

In a statement issued yesterday consumer organisation CHOICE said that the $60,000 fine handed out to Eli Lilly over their Cia*is media release was inadequate and easily exceeded by the value of the publicity it generated.

Eli Lilly was fined after complaints to industry body Medicines Australia about the promotion of impotence drug Cia*is Once-A-Day through newspapers and TV news.

"The media release, clearly intended to promote Cialis Once-A-Day to the public, was in breach of the industry's own code and deserves a significant fine," said CHOICE health policy officer Michael Johnston. More......

How to extract the code*ne from Nuro*en / Pana*en Plus : 07/07/2008 :

Ever wondered what those too regular Nuro*en / Pana*en Plus customers do with their purchases?

Well, all is revealed here. A rough and ready 'cold water extraction' of the codie*e seems quite simple. These people take heroic doses of cod*ine.

Also, take a look at this; it's about the recreational use of dext*omet*orphan, including a description of a simple method of extracting it from Robitussin DX.

There's hours of enlightening reading on this website, including accounts of encounters with pharmacy assistant / pharmacists (eg here and here).

So, what was last week's mystery object? : 07/07/2008 :

Identifying this 'mystery object' proved a little harder for 'listers but we did eventually get a correct answer, once again from Professor Nerida Smith, who seems very good at this stuff! Owen Naidoo also sent along an answer very close to correct.

The following description was provided by Geoff Miller, Australian Academy of the History of Pharmacy.

"This is a Searce or sieve - it has a bowl about 450mm in diameter and about 40mm deep. The hole in the bowl is covered with a fine mesh and the bottom of the bowl has a threaded cap which fills with powder as it passes through the sieve. The resulting fine powder is released from the base cap by simply unscrewing it from the bowl and shaking out the powder

This particular Searce is made from fruit wood and varnished, as were many treen ("of wood" ) objects used as pharmacy tools For examplle pill silkverers and pill rounders were always made of treen."

Nerida and Owen each win one of our fine AusPharm calculators for sending along the best answer.

Final reminder: what's this then? (2) : 04/07/2008 :

We haven't yet had a correct answer folks, so there's still a good chance for you to win the prize

*Hint: the bowl is about 450mm in diameter*

Here is another 'mystery object' for 'listers to have a go at identifying. We think this one might be a little harder than the last one. What do you think it is? (Click the image for a [slightly] larger version).

Once again on offer is one of our AusPharm calculators for the best answer to us by email by midnight this Saturday night. Click here to submit your entry.

(Thanks to Geoff Miller, Australian Academy of the History of Pharmacy, for this mystery object.)

Poll result: violence in pharmacies : 04/07/2008 :

We have to say that we are not a little surprised by the result of this week's poll which seems to show that in fully 2/3 of pharmacies, on at least one occasion in the last 12 months, a staff member has been involved in an incident involving a threat, intimidation or assault (presumably from a customer!).
We'd be interested in exploring this a little further and would like to hear from people who have been involved in such incidents, either as a post to AusPharmList or as a personal email to Mark Dunn.

API confirms PBS pricing arrangements for July : 03/07/2008 :

In a letter to its customers on Monday evening API confirmed its pricing arrangements for the July lead in to the key PBS Reform date of August 1.

It confirmed that the price of most F2T generics dropped on July 1 (details here) and that the price of ALL remaining F2T and F2A molecules will drop on July 18. According to API, as a result of their initiative, pharmacies will not need to change their regular ordering patterns in the lead up to August 1.

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Trade Practices Reforms introduced into parliament : 02/07/2008 :

The Trade Practices Amendment Legislation Bill 2008 has been introduced into Federal Parliament. The Bill will strengthen the Trade Practices Act and help better protect small businesses, including community pharmacies, from unfair and anti-competitive behaviour.

Commenting on this, Acting Guild National President, Patrick Reid, said: “The Guild has long advocated for the Trade Practices Act to be strengthened to make it easier for small businesses to access legal recourse for anti-competitive practices.”

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Old pharmacy clique digs in on change : 02/07/2008 :

PDA President Geoff March's letter to the editor of the Financial Review in response to it's recent articles on community pharmacy has been reproduced in full on the APESMA website. Click here.

VALMER needs your help : 01/07/2008 :

The University of Tasmania is currently undertaking research into the economic benefits of Home Medicines Reviews (HMRs). The study will use sophisticated economic modelling techniques to give an accurate analysis, but researchers urgently need community pharmacists to provide them with HMR data.
The research, entitled VALMER (Economic Value of Medication Reviews), is being undertaken by the Unit for Medication Outcomes Research and Education (UMORE) at the University of Tasmania’s School of Pharmacy in collaboration with the Australian Association of Consultant Pharmacy. In aid of UMORE, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia has awarded the project an Investigator-Initiated research grant.

Click here to listen to an interview with VALMER Project Pharmacist Andrew Stafford.

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RUM turns 10 : 01/07/2008 :

This month the Return Unwanted Medicines (RUM) Project celebrates 10 years service to Australia’s consumers.

The RUM Project allows consumers to return unwanted and out of date medicines to pharmacies for safe disposal. Over 10 years the RUM Project has grown to such an extent that an average of 36 tonnes of unwanted and out of date medicines are now returned to pharmacies from communities across Australia every month.

For more information about the RUM Project, contact the Project Manager, Simon Appel, on 1300 650 835 or or visit the RUM website.

Eli Lilly hit with $60,000 fine over Cial*s Once Daily 'advertisement' : 30/06/2008 :

Back in early May we reported that Melbourne academic Dr Ken Harvey had lodged a 'Code of Conduct' complaint with Medicines Australia over an Eli Lilly media release that prompted a flurry of media reports (eg here) on the new Lilly product Cial*s ® once a day. Consumer organisation CHOICE lodged a similar complaint with Medicines Australia at the time.

The substance of the complaints was that while the press release purported to release as 'news' a company commissioned piece of research that supported the use of the drug it was, in fact, promotion of the prescription drug Tad*lafil to the general public.

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Guild, SHPA part of new Primary Health Care Partnership : 30/06/2008 :

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia and the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia are both members of The National Primary Health Care Partnership (NPHCP), officially launched by Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon last Friday at Parliament House in Canberra.

Chair of the NPHCP Kate Carnell welcomed the Federal Government’s commitment to develop a national primary health care strategy.

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Poll result: paying staff for attending out of hours training : 27/06/2008 :

The week's poll asked 'listers to tell us how (or whether) pharmacy assistants in the pharmacy they work in are paid to attend (mandatory) training sessions outside of normal trading hours. The results are shown below.
They show that in 56% of respondent's pharmacies staff are paid at either standard or penalty rates, if applicable. Another 36% provide staff with a meal but don't pay them.

AusPharm isn't sure what is legally required here but wonders whether the 9% of respondents who neither pay their staff nor provide them with a culinary enticement to attend these sessions might usefully review their policy on this.

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