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AusPharm news

CHOICE publishes review of glucosamine : 09/05/2008 :

CHOICE published a review of glucosamine on its website yesterday.

According to CHOICE media spokesperson Elise Davidson: 'A study of all the research available suggests that - despite its popularity among osteoarthritis sufferers - there’s little evidence to suggest taking products containing glucosamine offers anything other than a placebo effect.' However..... 'As plenty of people think glucosamine works for them, and clinical trials show it is generally safe, it’s worth giving it a try even if the only result is the placebo effect.'

You can read the full CHOICE report here.




Don't forget to vote in the PSA elections : 08/05/2008 :

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia members will know by now that it is a PSA election year. Elections are currently being held for Branch Committee positions in NSW, Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania - states in which the number of nominations exceeded the number of available positions. South Australia did not receive more nominations than the available positions and will not need to hold an election.

PSA members (except in NSW) should receive ballot papers in early May. NSW members should receive theirs in the second half of May. Voting closes on May 21 for all states other than NSW and on June 6 for NSW. Voting papers must be postmarked before 5pm AEST on the closing day to be valid.

These are the candidates in your state.

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NPS reminds pharmacists of their obligations on brand switching : 08/05/2008 :

The National Prescribing Service (NPS) has reminded pharmacists to keep consumers’ health and wellbeing and Quality Use of Medicines (QUM) principles in the front of their minds while their pharmacies adjust to the changes resulting from implementation of the PBS reform package.
NPS CEO Dr Lynn Weekes emphasises that “brand switching should occur only when it is safe and appropriate”. Only medicines that have been proven to be bioequivalent can substitute for one another. Dr Weekes reinforced best pharmacy practice, which is to offer the same brand when filling repeats. If a decision is made to use a particular brand of medicine, it is best practice to ensure that the same brand is offered each time that particular medicine is required.

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Somac is now 'Pharmacist only' : 08/05/2008 :

Nycomed, the manufacturers of Somac, confirmed yesterday that the 20mg version of Somac was now 'Pharmacist only' (Schedule 3). The new listing came into effect on May 1 and the Poisons schedule (3) listing is as follows:

'PANTOPRAZOLE in oral preparations containing 20 mg or less of pantoprazole for the relief of heartburn and other symptoms of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, in packs containing not more than 14 days of supply.'

Prior to the formal Schedule 3 launch Nycomed plans to consult pharmacists and medical practitioners and to develop educational materials for pharmacists.




Poll: time to take a stand on S3s? : 07/05/2008 :

AusPharm was mightily impressed by Peter Crother's article last week arguing for wholesale reform of the protocols and procedures surrounding supply of 'Pharmacist only' (S3) medicines. So impressed, in fact, that we've republished it today for all 'listers, not just 'premium' level subscribers (click here).

In short, Peter suggests that all 'Pharmacist only' supplies should be recorded, labelled and the details of the supply documented. No 'Pharmacist only' medicines should be supplied to a third party (absent patient).

This week's poll is about Peter's proposals. Please let us know what you think by ticking the relevant box in today's poll at left.




Guild pharmacies take to ScriptMAP : 07/05/2008 :

ScriptMAP is proving popular with Guild members with over 700 pharmacies utilising the service since its launch at the recent Australian Pharmacy Professional (APP) Conference. Over 1600 pharmacists have attended one of the Guild’s PBS Reforms Workshops, which include a detailed introduction to the ScriptMAP resource. Guild National President Kos Sclavos said “The comprehensive ScriptMAP report has received very positive feedback from the members who have already taken advantage of the service.”

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MedsIndex Roadshow : 06/05/2008 :

MedsIndex was one of a number of new clinical initiatives launched by the Guild at APP2008. These Guild has been conducting workshops around the country to familiarise pharmacists with the MedsIndex tool. The workshops aim to give an overview of the MedsIndex Kit that has been sent to community pharmacies and to provide a stepped implementation system for pharmacies to use the MedsIndex Score.
Pictured above discussing the finer points of MedsIndex at the Canberra workshop last Thursday are AACP CEO Bill Kelly and Guild National President Kos Sclavos (photo courtesy Bill Arnold).

Workshops are still to be held on the Gold Coast (May 19), the Sunshine Coast (May 20) and in Adelaide (May 28). Further detail is available here.




Patient Medication Profile (PMP) Program support materials released, registration opens : 06/05/2008 :

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia has now released guidelines, standards and training materials for the new Patient Medication Profile (PMP) Program.

These are available to all pharmacists free of charge on the PSA website and printed copies of the guidelines and standards are being sent to all PSA members. They are also included in the PMP Program's Pharmacy Readiness Kit (PRK) which has been mailed to all community pharmacies by the Pharmacy Guild.

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‘Yes Master’ campaign urges smokers to talk to their doctor : 05/05/2008 :

Champix manufacturer Pfizer Australia has launched a new national awareness campaign encouraging smokers to ‘outsmart cigarettes’ and break their nicotine addiction. The unbranded advertising campaign urges smokers to talk to their doctor about the best ways to quit.

The ‘Yes Master’ campaign dramatises the “voice of nicotine inside your head” highlighting to smokers that nicotine is an addiction and that they are not a “failure” for being unable to quit. It encourages smokers to see their doctor or visit outsmartcigarettes.com.au to learn more about nicotine addition and the benefits of quitting. The interactive website explains the effects of nicotine on the body and has a 'quit checklist' and a cost of smoking calculator.

The intensive 12 week campaign includes a TV advertisement supported by an online, radio and outdoor advertising. Promotional materials such as posters and display items are available to surgeries and pharmacies. Click the image above to visit the outsmartcigarettes.com.au website.

(While we're on the subject, 'listers might appreciate this Canadian 'quit' ad.)




Cial*s 'advertised' direct to the public? : 05/05/2008 :

'Listers may have seen the media reports last week (eg here) reporting on the new Cial*s once a day tablet.

In response to the Eli Lilly media release that prompted these media reports Melbourne academic Dr Ken Harvey (pictured at right) has lodged a 'Code of Conduct' complaint with Medicines Australia. Dr Harvey's complaint is that while the press release purports to release as 'news' a company commissioned piece of research that 'not surprisingly' supports the use of this drug it is, in fact, 'rather thinly disguised promotion of the prescription drug Tadalafil to the general public'.

Dr Harvey's complaint makes reference to efforts by NPS and others to educate the media on appropriate reporting of medicines and notes that "Eli Lilly have now provided the latest example of how a drug company can undermine quality use of medicines activities."




Poll result: how do you lay out your dispensary? : 02/05/2008 :

This week's poll asked 'listers how they lay out their dispensaries so that those dispensing can actually find what they need. Seems that most people go for alphabetically by brand with a good proportion having separate sections for creams, eye drops etc.
AusPharm thinks 'alphabetically by generic name' looks good these days with the explosion in the number of generic brands we see on pharmacy shelves.

We saw Peter Crothers comment that this is unworkable for techs who don't always know the generic name of a branded drug however all dispensing software offers a generic name at some point in the dispensing process even if a branded product is entered initially.




PSA Victoria appoints new Branch Director : 02/05/2008 :

The Victorian Branch of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia has appointed Jacquie O’Brien, an experienced Chief Executive Officer with a strong background in both Health and Adult Learning, as its new Branch Director.

Ms O’Brien will be responsible for leading the team that is in charge of developing and implementing PSA’s national education program.

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Pharmacy Guild 2 : Coles 0 : 02/05/2008 :

Back in early April we reported on the decision handed down by Justice Young in the NSW Supreme Court that Coles' ownership of Pharmacy Direct (through its subsidiary Now.com.au) was illegal.

His honour formalised his findings yesterday with costs awarded against Now.com.au. At this stage the Court has made no formal orders requiring Now.com.au to offload Pharmacy Direct but these will follow unless Now.com.au takes steps to do this of its own volition. At this stage, it is not known whether Now.com.au will appeal Justice Young's decision.




Interested in doing some research to look at an expanded role for pharmacists in blood pressure control? : 01/05/2008 :

High blood pressure affects around one in seven Australians and, if not properly managed, is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. According to the Heart Foundation, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Australia, killing one person every 10 minutes.

The Fourth Community Pharmacy Agreement Research and Development Program is inviting applications from interested researchers to develop a service that involves community pharmacists in assisting patients reach and maintain target blood pressure levels.

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API releases half year result : 01/05/2008 :

Wholesaler API yesterday releases its financial results for the half year ending February 28. Earnings for the period before interest, tax and one-off costs to do with the integration of the Alphapharm business were $21.7 million. API says it is confident it will reach its full-year EBIT target of $49.5 million.

Read all about it by following the links in todays AusPharm 'In the news' section below.




Roger MacGregor - I do it my way : 30/04/2008 :

The winner of this year's Rural or Small Pharmacy Pharmacy of ther Year prize, announced at the recent APP2008 conference, was pharmacist Roger MacGregor whose pharmacy is at Sinnamon Park in Queensland.
Roger has recently refitted and re-arranged his pharmacy in a quite unique way, focusing on health 'modules' rather than using the traditional pharmacy method of arranging stock in 'sections'.

Roger is shown above telling his story to APP delegates. Click the More... link to see a photo or two of what Roger's done in his pharmacy and to listen to an interview Irwin the evil chemist did with him at APP, in which he explains the philosophy behind his idea.

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Poll: how do you lay out your dispensary? : 30/04/2008 :

There are generics like Endep that are practically a brand. Then there is Frakas; do you keep that next to the Vibra-Tabs or next to the Doxylin? How about the newer generics like glimepiride for Amaryl and ramipril generics for Tritace... they might logically go next to their originator brand. Or what?
In our travels as a locum, AusPharm has seen most possible dispensary layouts - from strict alphabetical layout by brand to no *apparent* system to everything in between.

With the increase in the number of generic brands stocked by many pharmacies in recent times, how to layout a dispensary so that visiting (and regular!) staff can actually find things is something that most of us have given more than a passing thought to. How is your dispensary laid out? Please let us know by ticking the relevant box in today's AusPharm poll at left.




New NPS Executive Managers appointed : 30/04/2008 :

The National Prescribing Service (NPS) announced yesterday that it has reorganised its internal structures and appointmented a number of new Executive Managers.
According to NPS, the new organisational structure will help NPS to better manage the needs of the community and stakeholders and position NPS for growth and continuing contributions to the Australian health landscape.

“The new executives are very experienced, with a diverse range of skills. I am thrilled we have such a high calibre team to help take NPS to the next level,” said NPS CEO, Dr Lynn Weekes.

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Hate mail or 'flaming' : 29/04/2008 :

AusPharm has had feedback recently that some 'listers have received abusive 'off list' responses to AusPharmList posts they have posted.

While our 'civilised' approach to moderating isn't to everyone's taste, we believe it's had its benefits over the 12 years AusPharmList has been going. In the main, people feel 'safe' passing comment and younger members of the group, including undergraduate students, are frequent posters to the list.

Please, if you receive 'inappropriate' personal emails as a result of posting to AusPharmList, let us know and, if necessary, we'll take action against those responsible including removing them from the AusPharmList database, if this is indicated.




Tasmanian pharmacy software provider gets SA hospital contract : 29/04/2008 :

Tasmanian company Healthcare Software has been chosen by the South Australian Government as its provider of state-wide Pharmacy Information Systems.

Its PharmCare medication management software solution performs clinical functions required for the safe and effective management of medicines including decision support, adverse reaction alerts and the provision of medication counselling sheets for patients, pharmacists and GPs. IBA Health Group's iPharmacy will provide the administrative aspects including drug dispensing and inventory control.

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