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AusPharm news

Nur*fen Plus (and clones) to be upscheduled? : 15/04/2008 :

Today's newspapers are full of the news that the National Drugs and Poisons Scheduling Committee has decided to examine the scheduling of codeine/ibuprofen containing products, including whether a schedule 8 listing is warranted, after fears of growing codeine abuse.

Links to these stories are in todays' AusPharm 'In the news' section. Click here.




Poll: does your pharmacy stock Esipram? : 14/04/2008 :

There has been discussion on AusPharmList (eg here and here) in recent times on the decision by CNS Pharma to make Esipram exclusively available through DHL; this after the major wholesalers refused to accept the 14 day trading terms CNS were insisitng on. DHL are requiring some pharmacies to agree to even 'harsher' trading terms, according to some, insisting they pay up front with a credit card when ordering Esipram.

One 'lister went so far as to wonder whether the action by CNS Pharma was part of a deliberate strategy to 'force' patients to get Lexapro instead of Esipram in order to boost the profits of the CNS parent company, Lundbeck.

Darrin Brown suggested we run a poll asking people whether people are actually "...bothering to jump through all those hoops and stock Esipram. We aren't."

Well, always keen to please, let's run the poll and see what we get. Please vote in the first of this week's AusPharm polls (in the far left column).




Health professional intervention in perinatal depression improves outcomes : 14/04/2008 :

With nearly one in three women experiencing perinatal depression - and often not spontaneously seeking help - early intervention can improve outcomes for mother and child.

Interventions at this perinatal stage are vital to minimise long term risks which include chronic depression, marital difficulties and suicide, and for the child, cognitive, emotional and behavioural problems.

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Welcome to PHARMeFOOTY celebrity tipping : 11/04/2008 :

To add a little interest to each weekend's footy, starting today, AusPharm will be publishing a 'PHARMeFOOTY Celebrity tipping' feature each Friday. Our regular 'celebrities' will be:

* Fred Health Marketing Manager, Byron Mitchell
* Medici Capital Managing Director, Frank Sirianni
* AusPharm publisher, Mark Dunn.

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Poll result: frequency of AusPharm CE : 11/04/2008 :

AusPharm commenced running our Continuing Education activities back in February after a 'proof of concept' pilot written for us by Debbie Rigby last December. These have been very well received ('What a great learning tool! The 30 minute format is great, will be quite easy for pharmacists to fit this in to their busy schedule').

This week's poll asked 'listers what frequency of publication for these CE activities suited you best. The result is shown below - we'll have a think about this and get back to you.

Remember, these CE activities are not just active for a week. They will, in the mai, remain active for 12 months, so there is no need to do them in the week folowing their publication (before the next one is published).




Rescheduling of infant cold preps reinforces need for counselling : 11/04/2008 :

The move to restrict the availability of cough and cold preparations to children under two reinforces pharmacists' professional duty to provide appropriate counselling when supplying these products for children of any age says the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia.

This professional duty is particularly important when supplying cough and cold preparations to parents of children over two who might also have children under two, it says.

As reported on AusPharm yesterday most pharmacy cough and cold preps for use in children under two years of age are to become Schedule 4 products.

PSA National President Brian Grogan (pictured above) said it was important to note that the NDPSC did not base its decision on evidence of any increased risk for children under two, rather the lack of evidence for effectiveness.

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It's a (pharmacy) election year in Australia : 10/04/2008 :

As part of (UK) Pharmaceutical Journal’s efforts to encourage more people to stand in this year’s Royal Pharmaceutical Society Council election it invited industry leaders to name colleagues and contacts who have the right combination of authority, vision and personality to help lead the profession. To broaden the reach the Journal stipulated that they should not have served on Council before. The names of those submitted were published in the Journal in December 2007.

It's a big year for pharmacy elections in Australia too with both PSA and Guild elections on in the first half of the year.

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Government To Fund Wound Management Research : 10/04/2008 :

The Australian Government has announced research projects worth up to $500,000 to improve wound management in aged care.

A wound management research program will be a priority for future funding through the second round of Encouraging Best Practice in Residential Aged Care Program (EBPRAC). More information is available here.




Cough and cold preps for under twos to be S4 : 10/04/2008 :

The National Drugs and Poisons Scheduling Committee (NDPSC) announced yesterday that cough and cold preparations containing sedating anti-histamines for the under twos would move to S4.

The products concerned contain brompheniramine, chlorpheniramine, dexchlorpheniramine, diphenhydramine, doxylamine, pheniramine and triprolidine. Products containing these drugs include Dimetapp, Demazin and a number of house brands, amongst others.

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Stilnox (and other brands of zolpidem) to remain S4 : 10/04/2008 :

In another decision announced by the NDPSC yesterday, zolpidem containing products are to remain S4.

At its February meeting the NDPSC looked at the scheduling of zolpidem including a proposal to reschedule it to Schedule 8. In the end it found that zolpidem did not meet the criteria for a Schedule 8 medicine.

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Poll: how often should we run the AusPharm Continuing Education activities? : 09/04/2008 :

AusPharm commenced running our Continuing Education activities back in February after a 'proof of concept' pilot written for us by Debbie Rigby last December. These have been very well received ('What a great learning tool! The 30 minute format is great, will be quite easy for pharmacists to fit this in to their busy schedule') and we've had a significant increase in the number of people signing on for premium memberships so they can access these CE activities. In the near future we will be offering these on a 'pay as you go' basis. It will be possible to purchase single activities, although this will be a more expensive option.

We are interested in knowing what frequency of publication for these CE activities suits you best. Please let us know by voting in today's AusPharm poll (at left).




Pharmaceuticals Industry Working Group reconvened : 09/04/2008 :

Senator Kim Carr, (pictured at right) Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, and Minister for Health and Ageing Nicola Roxon announced yesterday that the Australian government was reconvening the Pharmaceuticals Industry Working Group.

The PIWG was first established in June 1998 to provide a forum where Government and industry representatives could discuss key issues relevant to the growth and development of the pharmaceuticals industry. The Group is chaired jointly by the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research and the Minister for Health and Ageing, and comprises key leaders of originator and generic pharmaceutical manufacturers, biotechnology companies and research institutions and the Chief Executive Officer of the National Health and Medical Research Council.

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Pharmacists at the 2020 Summit : 08/04/2008 :

Back in February there was a discussion on AusPharmList about which pharmacists should be invited along to the 2020 summit to 'represent' pharmacy. Subsequent to that discussion we ran two polls (here and here) to ask you for your thoughts on who should attend. The 'godfather' of Australian pharmacy, Professor Lloyd Sansom, 'won' in a canter. In a post poll analysis AusPharm speculated that the 'smart money' might be on Geraldine Moses and current PSA Young Pharmacist of the Year, Aaron D'Sousa, to get guernseys. Well, we were all wrong.

To the best of our knowledge only one recently practising pharmacist made it on to the list of 1,000 summit delegates.

That pharmacist is the current Australian Rural Woman of the Year, Deborah Bain (pictured at right) . (We published a piece about Deborah when she was awarded the 2007 Rural Woman of the Year prize).

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$7 million in complementary medicine research funding announced : 08/04/2008 :

Australian research into complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) received a boost recently with the announcement by Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing, Senator Jan McLucas, of more than $7 million in grants.

She announced the funding at the third International Congress on Complementary Medicine Research, held in March at Darling Harbour in Sydney.

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Need for national paediatric dosing guide : 08/04/2008 :

An article in a recent Australian Doctor reports on a call for a national paediatric dosing guide in Australia.

The piece quotes Associate Professor Kingsley Coulthard, director of pharmacy at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide, as saying that the Paediatric Pharmacopeia, produced by Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital, is the closest thing we have in Australia to a national reference, but that it hasn't been updated since 2002.

He added that key groups, including Children’s Hospitals Australasia and the Paediatric Pharmaceutical Working Group under the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council, had long been lobbying for a national paediatric dosing reference.

You can read the Australian Doctor article here.




Rural Pharmacy Project Funding : 08/04/2008 :

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia is looking to fund small healthcare projects in rural and remote communities. As part of the Small Project Funding Scheme, grants of up to $20,000 are available for projects that provide health benefits to rural communities and display a capacity to continue these benefits after completion.
The Small Project Funding Scheme, which is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, aims to support the role of community pharmacists in rural and remote communities so that innovative ideas and services can be developed and implemented. The scheme is an initiative of the Rural Pharmacy Workforce Program (RPWP) which is managed by the Guild.

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Arthritis information that won’t cause you pain : 07/04/2008 :

Arthritis Australia has joined forces with the Australian Rheumatology Association to produce an up-to-date, high quality and comprehensive set of information sheets to help consumers make informed decisions about health care and take an active role in self management.
The launch of the new information sheet collection coincides with Arthritis Awareness Week, 6 – 12 April 2008, aiming to increase awareness and support self management for people with arthritis.

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NPS RADAR reviews released : 07/04/2008 :

Two new drugs are reviewed in the April edition of NPS RADAR, an independent drug bulletin from National Prescribing Service Limited (NPS).
The drugs are fentanyl lozenges (Actiq), an oromucosal formulation for the control of breakthrough cancer pain, and paliperidone (Invega) for people with schizophrenia.

Both drugs were available on the PBS from 1st April.

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A final look at APP2008 : 04/04/2008 :

Except for one or two special features that we'll run over the next week or two, including a write up and interview with Rural Pharmacy of the Year owner Roger MacGregor, who has some innovative ideas on how to run a pharmacy, today sees the end of our coverage of APP2008.

Once again in 2008 APP proved itself to be the premier event on the community pharmacy calendar. Here are a few random images taken over the weekend at the Gold Coast Convention Centre.

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Poll result: cough and cold remedies for the under twos : 04/04/2008 :

This week's AusPharm poll referred 'listers to the story in Monday's (e)news about UK authorities withdrawing from sale cough and cold preparations for the under twos and to the similar action by the FDA in the United States back in January. We reminded you that Australian authorities are yet to follow suit and asked you whether the UK and US actions had influenced the way you deal with situations where such products would have been recommended in the past?



The poll result is shown bove. AusPharm thinks the 'correct' answer is (c) 'I explain everything to mum or dad and let them make the decision'.




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