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AusPharm news

Quick quiz : the answer : 28/04/2008 :

Last week we asked 'listers what they thought the mystery object at right might be. Here's the answer as provided by one 'lister's methadone client.

"Container from vending machine, very popular during the 1990s for carrying drugs to and from court to goal.

Has remained popular to insert drug filled, into obvious personal receptacles (that cannot be legally searched) for those with reason to believe that they may be arrested at any tme or place (due to 1st instance warant or paranoia). NB **Very** uncomfortable.

If in custody, on trial, tobacco cannot be smoked in the court cells. Hence this container, and others like it, are more likely to have carried legal drugs (tobacco, papers, Valium etc) than exciting contraband."

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Celebs decry evidence on vitamin pills : 28/04/2008 :

This piece in Saturday's (UK) Guardian is worth a look.
"This week the assembled celebrity community and vitamin pill industry will walk us through the pitfalls of reading through a systematic review and meta-analysis from the Cochrane Collaboration, an international not-for-profit organisation set up 20 years ago to create transparent, systematic, unbiased reviews of the medical literature on everything from drugs, through surgery, to community interventions." Click here to read the article in full.

AACP Pfizer Consultant Pharmacist Award 2008 : 28/04/2008 :

The AACP Pfizer Consultant Pharmacist Award recognises outstanding contribution by an accredited pharmacist to the practice of consultant pharmacy. Nominees will have made a significant contribution to the practice of consultant pharmacy.

Details regarding the judging criteria and the nomination forms are available from the AACP web site, Members Resources page.
The award comprises a medallion and a travel grant to attend a pharmacy conference of relevance to the practice of consultant pharmacy. Nominations close on 1 May 2008.

Tassie School of Pharmacy wins Guild grant funding : 24/04/2008 :

The School of Pharmacy at the University of Tasmania has secured Guild CPA4 grant funding of $730,000 to conduct research projects on HMR evaluation, warfarin and asthma patient services in community pharmacy and the use of psychotropics in aged care.

The HMR research under the VALMER project team, led by Peter Tenni, is being conducted in close consultation with the Australian Association of Consultant Pharmacists and it is hoped that it will assist in securing ongoing funding for the HMR program. This project will involve collecting approximately 1000 HMRs from over 200 pharmacists.

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Quick quiz --> yet more INCORRECT guesses : 24/04/2008 :

On AusPharm on Monday we, published the picture at right (larger version here) and asked: What is this? What is it used for? How is it used ? Where would you expect to find it? On offer for the 'neatest, most correct entry' submitted to us by this Thursday is one of our very elegant AusPharm calculators. We're also offering another one to the author of the most 'creative' answer. You must, of course, follow a (vaguely) pharmaceutical theme. We'll publish the winning entries and the solution next Monday.

We have to say there's been a lot of interest in this competition but, so far, only one response is close to the mark. Other INCORRECT guesses submitted yesterday were: 'I seem to remember odd floating objects to measure specific gravity, esp urine if infection, diabetes present.' and ...ahem... 'An anal dilator?'.

You have until midnight tonight (Thursday) to improve on the single *almost* correct answer we have so far!

Click here to lodge your entries.

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Poll result: do you label all the bottles? : 24/04/2008 :

This week's AusPharm poll asked 'listers how they label thyroxine which comes, as you know, in a box containing 5 bottles, each with 40 tablets. The result is shown below; just over half always label the internal bottles and about 40% never do. As a locum AusPharm tends to follow the 'local rule', whatever it is.
The rules and regs have it that we should be labelling the 'primary container' but in recent times it's become a little harder to determine what this is. For example, is the Somac package insert the primary container or is the primary container the outer box? Does it matter, anyway, that the Somac inner pack or the bottle of Oroxine or the Ventolin or the Nitro Lingual spray in the handbag are unlabelled?

Here's another reason to have a look at the April Australian Prescriber : 23/04/2008 :

Hearing loss and balance disorders can be caused by commonly used antibiotic ear drops if the patient has a perforated eardrum, writes Associate Professor Harvey Coates in the April edition of Australian Prescriber. These serious complications, the result of ototoxicity, may be more common than reported, as some cases are unrecognised.

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SIGMA and Metcash to team up? : 23/04/2008 :

There is good coverage in todays' newspapers of the news that Metcash and Sigma are investigating the possibility of jointly bidding for Symbion's consumer brands and pharmaceutical wholesaling assets.

There are links to a number of these stories in todays' AusPharm 'In the news' section.

SIGMA releases 2007/2008 annual report : 22/04/2008 :

Sigma Pharmaceuticals yesterday released its annual report for 2007/2008 ahead of its Annual General Meeting, scheduled for Thursday May 22. The report showed a 14% fall in net profit after tax on the back of a 10% rise in overall revenue and a 0.8% decline in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation.

 According to SIGMA CEO and Managing Director Elmo de Alwis results were in line with guidance and demonstrate a strong second half after a challenging first half charactereised by regulatory change and flat PBS growth. Mr de Elwis also cited heightened generics competition as contributing to the disappointing first half result in particular.

You can read the full Annual Report here.

Poll: do you label all the bottles? : 22/04/2008 :

In a post to AusPharmList yesterday Peter Allen refers to Sigma's new thyroxine packaging. He asks how (or whether?) people plan to label the individual blister packed strips that will be kept out of the 'fridge, away from the main medication container.

This got us to thinking about what 'best practice' is in labelling products with internal packs like thyroxine. We'd be interested in finding out how people label thyroxine. Please vote in this week's poll (at left) and help us find out.

In future weeks we'll put similar poll questions on asthma puffers and others.

More on compounding: Mark Feldschuh in Australian Prescriber : 22/04/2008 :

'Listers will have seen our story last week on the proposed new regulatory framework for 'compounding chemists' and PCCA's Jenny Giam's AusPharmList post on this yesterday.

Some of the issues that need be considered in any regulatory reform process are canvassed in an editorial in this month's Australian Prescriber authored by Victorian community pharmacist, Mark Feldschuh.

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PSA: pharmacy ready to help with 2020 Summit priorities : 22/04/2008 :

PSA National President Brian Grogan said yesterday that Australia's pharmacists were well placed to play a key role in the implementation of preventative health strategies, flagged as a priority by 2020 Summit delegates. "As the most accessible health providers in the community, I fully expect Australia's pharmacy profession will be a key player in implementing any new policies flowing from the 2020 Summit" he said

"Australia's pharmacy profession already plays a role in a range of key preventive health areas including smoking cessation and weight
management. Participants in the 2020 Summit's Health Stream stressed 'the importance of healthy lifestyles, health promotion and disease prevention' as among their 'Priority Themes' and Australia's pharmacies are already active in all three areas" said Mr Grogan.

Quick quiz : 21/04/2008 :

Here's a challenge for 'listers. What is this? What is it used for? How is it used ? Where would you expect to find it?Click here to see larger versions of the images.

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Project STOP rolls out in NT : 18/04/2008 :

Legislation has recently been enacted in the Northern territory that will allow the Territory’s pharmacies to participate in Project STOP.

Since its inception in Queensland in 2005, Project STOP has been credited with bringing about a 23% decrease in the number of clandestine drug laboratories. It has led to 44 arrests on more than 250 charges. In a request to all NT citizens Nunzio Meta, NT Branch President of the Guild said "We are asking Territorians to be patient when buying these products, to help protect our community from this epidemic."

Over 50% of community pharmacies across Australia are now using the Project STOP system.

Poll result: impact of the PBS reforms : 18/04/2008 :

This week's poll asked 'listers to give us their view on how the PBS reforms would affect their pharmacy now that a good number of pharmacists have had a chance to have a look at Guild scriptMAP. The results are shown below.
AusPharm has now seen a scriptMAP report and it is a most impressive document, fully explaining the PBS reforms and providing a detailed analysis of a pharmacy's dispensary data, now and (projected) after August 1. While we can't comment with any authority on the outcome the PBS Reforms will deliver for pharmacy bottom lines in general, the report we saw showed a positive outcome for the pharmacy concerned.

We'll look to run this poll again just before August 1 (and again later in the year).

Regulatory changes in the wind for extemporaneous and compounded medicines : 18/04/2008 :

The National Co-ordinating Committee on Therapeutic Goods (NCCTG) has proposed a new regulatory framework for compounding chemists in a discussion paper released on April 10.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing, Senator Jan McLucas, foreshadowed a review of the regulatory environment at the recent APP 2008 conference.

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Pharmacist lodges Chemist Warehouse complaint with ACCC : 17/04/2008 :

A pharmacist has lodged an official complaint with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) regarding a Chemist Warehouse advertising campaign. According to the ACCC the conduct on which the complaint is based "risks breaching" the Trade Practises Act.

The complaint was that:

"This group aggressively promotes both prescriptions and other retail items. Their advertising persists in using slogans such as "is this, AUSTRALIA'S CHEAPEST CHEMIST?" and "Australia's Cheapest prices on your prescriptions all year round, Guaranteed" To my mind this is remarkably similar to the Flight Centre slogan "lowest airfares guaranteed" which they have been required to cease using in their marketing. How can this significant discount retailer persist in using such potentially misleading statements?"

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Poll result: who stocks Esipram? : 16/04/2008 :

Only about half of you, according to the results of the first of this week's polls.

This result should be causing great angst to Esipram manufacturer, CNS Pharma. Why? Because the only alternative to Esipram (for now) is the originator brand Lexapro, manufactured by CNS Pharma's parent company Lundbeck and Lexapro costs consumers about $7 more a pop, an issue sure to cause concern to Government regulators.

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ASMI on code*ne: where's the evidence? : 16/04/2008 :

The Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI) is the industry body representing the suppliers of non-prescription consumer healthcare products in Australia.
According to ASMI Scientific Director, Deon Schoombie, OTC analgesics combined with codeine have a long history of safe use when used according to label instructions. "These medicines play an important role in relieving mild to moderate pain and any move to restrict their availability would be an enormous inconvenience to thousands of responsible users. In particular, older people who suffer chronic pain, perhaps from arthritis, would be enormously inconvenienced."

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Codral to roll out 'Soldier On' campaign again : 15/04/2008 :

Once again in 2008, Codral will be heavily promoting its Codral range with pharmacy training programs and over $5.2 million in consumer advertising and promotion.

Max Johnston, President, Johnson & Johnson Pacific says the continued investment by Johnson & Johnson demonstrates a clear commitment to community pharmacy with the entire Codral range remaining Pharmacy Only.

“Year on year, the Codral New Formula range has continued to grow with close to half of all consumers now choosing phenylephrine. We will continue to invest strongly in the brand to drive customers to their local pharmacy, where they can receive healthcare advice for symptomatic relief of colds & flu,” Mr Johnston said.

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