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AusPharm news

APC gets new directors : 13/05/2015 :

The Australian Pharmacy Council (APC) has appointed two new directors - Professor Iqbal Ramzan and Ms Monica Schlesinger - to its Governing Council.

Professor Ramzan is Dean and Professor of Pharmacy at the University of Sydney, a position he has held since 2006. He is a Past President of the Asian Schools of Pharmacy and is the Director of the Council of Pharmacy Schools – Australia and New Zealand.

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Budget 2015-16 : 12/05/2015 :

The 2015-16 Budget papers will be available here from 7.30pm AEST tonight

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Professional program money to double in 6CPA? : 12/05/2015 :

In amongst the Australian newspaper's commentary yesterday about what might be in or out of the 6th Community Pharmacy Agreement was a line at the end claiming that the Agreement would 'double the amount provided for pharmacists to run programs from $600m to $1.2bn.'

While the Australian article was described by the Guild as largely comprising "rumour and misinformation aimed at destabilising the current negotiations for a new Community Pharmacy Agreement", if the program funding claim is true, this will come as a huge relief for accredited pharmacists hoping to re-establish their businesses, hamstrung by the cuts to HMR funding imposed in 2014, towards the end of the 5th Agreement.

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Ley: 6CPA negotiations 'robust', close to conclusion : 12/05/2015 :

Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley said yesterday that the 6th Community Pharmacy Agreement negotiations were 'robust' but not unfriendly.

In an interview with journalist Michelle Grattan, published (as an audio file) on the Conversation website, Minister Ley foreshadowed an imminent end to the negotiations saying it is "about to conclude but it’s a good deal for pharmacy, it’s a good deal for consumers, it’s a good deal for the suppliers of medicines and it’s a good deal for government...." 

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Budget 2015-16 : 11/05/2015 :

The 2015-16 Budget papers will be available here from 7.30pm AEST tomorrow night

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RGH E‑Bulletin: Statin use after intracerebral haemorrhage : 11/05/2015 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Statin use after intracerebral haemorrhage.

"Statins (HMG Co-A reductase inhibitors) are widely prescribed for primary and secondary prevention of ischaemic cardiac and cerebrovascular disease, with evidence from randomised controlled trials validating their benefit. The situation has not been as clear for haemorrhagic stroke prevention. Results of the Stroke Prevention by Aggressive Reduction in Cholesterol Levels (SPARCL) trial published in 2006 showed that patients taking a statin who had a history of a haemorrhagic stroke had a higher rate of another haemorrhagic stroke."

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

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Guild negotiating 6CPA 'in good faith' : 11/05/2015 :

The Pharmacy Guild says it is continuing to negotiate the 6th Community Pharmacy Agreement with the government 'in good faith' so that agreement can be reached as quickly as possible.

As reported on Friday the Government has put a proposal to the Guild - rumoured this morning to be worth $18.9 billion over the 5 years of the Agreement - that includes a number of positive measures for pharmacies however, according to the Guild, these would be largely offset by the negative impact on pharmacies of a number of budget savings measures, including the proposal to allow the PBS co-payment to be discounted by $1.00.

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ABC Fact Check debunks government 'paracetamol cheaper in supermarket' claim : 11/05/2015 :

The ABC's Fact Check has examined federal Health Minister Susan Ley's claim that paracetamol "costs the government $73 million a year and it's being distributed by pharmacists at additional cost and those medications are available, as we know, from the supermarket and corner stores for around $2" and found it to be false.

ABC Fact Check determines the accuracy of claims by politicians, public figures, advocacy groups and institutions engaged in the public debate.

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Pharmacists' views on penalty rates reflect tougher times : 08/05/2015 :

The results of this week's AusPharm poll indicate that far more pharmacy owners think current penalty rates are 'too high by far' than think they're 'fair and reasonable'.

Unsurprisingly 48%** of employee pharmacists who voted think current penalty rates are  'fair and reasonable' with only 7% thinking they're 'too high by far'.

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Guild holds off signing 6CPA over discounted co-payment : 08/05/2015 :

The Pharmacy Guild is refusing to sign off on a government 'take it or leave it' PBS package - including the 6th Community Pharmacy Agreement - unless the government's proposed discounted co-payment measure is removed from the package.

AusPharm understands that, while the package includes 'a number of positive measures for pharmacy, including in relation to dispensing', it also includes a number of budget savings measures that would impact negatively on community pharmacy.

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AusPharm CE: RGH Pharmacy E-Bulletin Digest Issue No.80 : 07/05/2015 :

The next in our 2015 series of continuing professional development activities is the RGH E-Bulletin Digest No. 80.

This CPD activity assesses your understanding of four recent RGH Pharmacy E-Bulletins, Volumes 57-4→57-7 (January/February 2015).

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SIGMA CEO: CSO funding insufficient to sustain pharmacy sector : 07/05/2015 :

Speaking at the SIGMA Pharmaceuticals Annual General Meeting yesterday, SIGMA CEO and Managing Director Mark Hooper said the funding paid by the Government to community pharmacy under the current (5th) Community Pharmacy Agreement to cover wholesale services is ‘simply not sufficient to adequately sustain the sector in its current form into the future in an environment where volumes are growing and prices are falling’. 

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Pharmacists, industry welcome Vic Govt budget commitments : 07/05/2015 :

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) has welcomed Victorian Government budget initiatives to improve access to pharmacist services and to progress the implementation of a real time prescription monitoring system to help reduce inappropriate use of some medicines.

In this week's state budget, the Victorian Government committed $28.7 million for 15 metropolitan and five rural 24-hour, seven-day-a-week pharmacies and $300,000 for the planning and development of a real time prescription monitoring system.

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Guild supports Heart Foundation community Walking Groups : 07/05/2015 :

As part of the Heart Foundation’s ‘Move More, Sit less’ campaign', launched this week for Heart Week 2015, the Pharmacy Guild is partnering with the Heart Foundation to promote the value of Heart Foundation Walking Groups and encourage member pharmacies to become ‘Walk Organisers’ in their community.

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SHPA: pharmacists have an important role to play in Choosing Wisely initiative : 06/05/2015 :

The Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA) has spoken out in support of the Choosing Wisely initiative, launched this week, that aims to reduce wasteful medical tests, treatments and procedures.

Choosing Wisely, coordinated in Australia by NPS MedicineWise, started with the release of lists of tests, treatments and procedures, the value of which should be questioned by clinicians and consumers. These lists of low value tests and procedures have been developed by medical organisations, with the aim to facilitate conversations between clinicians and their patients about appropriate and necessary treatment.

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Tropfest-backed short film competition offering up to $10k in prizes to raise awareness about antibiotic resistance : 06/05/2015 :

Tropfest, the world’s largest short film festival, has partnered with NPS MedicineWise to launch a short film competition to raise awareness and help fight antibiotic resistance this Australian cold and flu season.

Filmmakers of all skill levels are being encouraged to make a short film / community service announcement (CSA) of up to 45 seconds about the threat of antibiotic resistance and how awareness of it can help fight it.

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Katter: pharmacies the centre around which communities are built : 06/05/2015 :

Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter has spoken out strongly in support of pharmacist only ownership of pharmacies, slamming National Competition Policy Review recommendations to abolish regulations which restrict the ownership and location of pharmacies.

“The only remaining hold-outs against the supermarket giants are the pharmacies,” Mr Katter said.

He stressed the importance of keeping the existing regulations which apply to pharmacies and said that with locally owned pharmacies the pharmacist lives in the town and the money stays in the town.

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DBL Methotrexate 2.5mg recalled : 06/05/2015 :

Hospira, in consultation with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), has initiated a recall of methotrexate (marketed as DBL Methotrexate Tablets) 2.5 mg tablets in bottles of 30. The bottles have been supplied without child-resistant caps.

There is no concern regarding the quality or safety of the product, other than the absence of child-resistant packaging.

Details are available on the TGA website here.

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ACT PSA MIMS Intern of the Year 2014 winner announced : 06/05/2015 :

Brendon Wheatley, a community pharmacist at Dickson Capital Chemist, is the PSA MIMS Australia ACT Intern of the Year for 2014.

The award celebrates the achievements of exceptional interns in developing skills for their professional career, who have been recognised as striving to raise standards to provide a future model for the practice of pharmacy, even before being fully registered.

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Poll: are pharmacy employee penalty rates excessive? : 06/05/2015 :

Much has been made in recent years of the pressure penalty rates are putting on the viability of businesses, including community pharmacies.

In his article for AusPharm yesterday, Justin Lee discussed some of the issues that arise when considering whether or not the existing penalty rate structure is reasonable.

In pharmacies, current penalty rates see pharmacy assistant employees earning time and a half on Saturdays and double time on Sundays. Loadings also apply for hours worked before 8AM and after 7PM. The same rates apply to pharmacist staff covered by the award although many pharmacists have wage agreements that specify other arrangements. However, higher rates of pay usually still apply on weekends and after hours.

Do you think the existing penalty rate arrangements are appropriate in community pharmacy? Please let us know by voting in today's AusPharm poll.

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