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Patient Medication Profile Program formally launched at APP : 03/04/2008 :

A Patient Medication Profile (PMP) is a comprehensive summary of all regular medication taken by a patient, including prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medicines. It is anticipated that, within 6 months of the launch of the PMP program that PMP's will also include colour images of the most common PBS items to assist at-risk patients to better identify their medications. The Fourth Community Pharmacy Agreement (Fourth Agreement) provides an amount of up to $33.6 million to fund the Program.

The aim of the PMP Program is to reduce the risk of medication related adverse events by assisting at-risk patients to better understand and manage their medication. Another aim is to support communication between the patient and other health professionals, especially on admittance to, and discharge from, hospitals or residential aged care facilities. The Program will be implemented in two phases with Phase 1 commencing during April 2008.

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Wild weather in the AusPharm bunker : 03/04/2008 :

Most 'listers will have seen the reports in the news about the wild weather in south-eastern Australia in the last 24 hours. Sadly, Ausharm wasn't immune to this and we have no power in the Ausharm bunker. We've borrowed an office in Hobart and have managed to get most of today's news up on the web but our mail server is unreachable for now. There will, therefore be no AusPharm(e)news this morning - we'll get this out later in the day (assuming the power supply is restored).

In the meantime you will be able to access an online version of today's (e)news by clicking the links at the top of the column to the right AFTER 10.00AM. As a special bonus for 'basic' level subscribers today we've made both versions of today's (e)news 'premium'.

Pharmacy Guild 1: Coles/Myer 0 : 03/04/2008 :

In a judgment in the case Attorney General for the State of NSW v Pty Ltd [2008] NSWSC 276 handed down at 10AM yesterday in the NSW Supreme Court His Honour Justice Young found in favour of the Attorney General.

To quote from the judgement: "...essentially the plaintiff says that this is a clear case where the defendant has a pecuniary interest in a pharmacy and is not a person who is exempted by any of the provisions of the Act and so is acting contrary to the law. The defendant denies this allegation."

Justice Young took the former view, that in acquiring Pharmacy Direct was acting contrary to the law. He wrote in his judgment that he would "stand the matter over for three weeks to enable them (his reasons - MD) to be digested and for the parties to consider what is the next step to be taken."

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AACP Accredited Pharmacists Forum a hit : 02/04/2008 :

Once again this year, the Australian Association of Consultant Pharmacists staged a highly successful Accredited Pharmacists Forum at APP on the day before the conference proper begins.

Numbers were substantial with AACP booking additional space to accommodate the more than 250 delegates in attendance. Presenters included Jeff Hughes, Debbie Rigby, Shane Jackson, Geraldine Moses and Greg Kyle.

AACP CEO Bill Kelly advises that the early bird registration offer is still available for the AACP ConPharm conference, due to be held this year in Adelaide from May 29 to June 1. Click the ConPharm logo at left to visit the ConPharm website where you can register. AACP Chair, Dr Shane Jacskon, is shown above delivering the opening address at the APP2008 Forum.

Poll: cough and cold remedies for the under twos : 02/04/2008 :

'Listers may have seen the story in Monday's (e)news about UK authorities withdrawing from sale cough and cold preparations for the under twos. This followed similar action by the FDA in the United States back in January.
However, Australian authorities are yet to follow suit and these products remain on pharmacy shelves (as Pharmacist Only Medicines).

Have the UK and US actions influenced the way you deal with situations where such products would have been recommended in the past? Please let us know by voting in this week's AusPharm poll (at left).

HygeiaRx – one worth waiting for in 2009 : 02/04/2008 :

In yet another exciting announcement at APP last weekend the Pharmacy Guild of Australia revealed plans for HygeiaRx - a web-based program run through community pharmacy to develop tailored pharmacy programs for patients with chronic diseases.
HygeiaRx is a secure, web-based program that will create and deliver technologies that will assist pharmacists in educating patients about their health. It aims to improve patient safety and health outcomes by improving compliance and providing connectivity with health care and medication programs.

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Pharmacists required to 'scan on' : 01/04/2008 :

Last week Ross Myers commented on a fax he'd received from the Guild, "commencing immediately we must have at least one dispensary barcode scanner connected to each dispensing station in the dispensing area" and "Comply with the new Infection Control Standards". Not only that "Fines apply for non-compliance". Earlier, Geoff Timbs wrote that "...the other things we miss out on by not having printed yellow book is the changes snuck in by MA in the 'explanatory notes'."

Snuck in is right. ... spotted in the new 'yellow pages' 'explanatory notes'. Look what they have done.

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Irwin talks to Patrick Reid and Tim Logan : 01/04/2008 :

Once again this year at APP Irwin the Evil Chemist spent some of his time at the Welcome Reception 'stalking' victims to interview'.

Two people he managed to snare in his net this year were Guild State Branch Presidents Tim Logan, from Queensland (also APP Chair), and ACT Branch President and Guild Senior Vice President Patrick Reid.

Irwin asked them about the APP conference itself and, also, about where the Guild was leading its members.

(That's Tim above 'telling it like it is'). Click the link to hear the interviews.

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MedsIndex: A Medicines Compliance Indicator : 01/04/2008 :

The Pharmacy Guild launched a new medicines compliance monitoring and support service called MedsIndex at the APP2008 conference on the Queensland Gold Coast over the weekend.

The MedsIndex program will give a patient a simple score out of 100 for each of their regular medicines. The score is calculated by monitoring repeat refill intervals of medicines and reporting against expected refill intervals based on the doctor's instructions. The score can then assist a pharmacist to assess what professional support the patient may need and to develop strategies for the patient to improve their medicines compliance.

For example, after assessing a patient a pharmacist might think a Dose Administration Aids is appropriate for that patient or that they might benefit from utilising the Medication Profiling Service or from having a Home Medicines Review.

You can view a comprehensive resource kit here. The Resource Kit has all that you need to implement the Service in your pharmacy. A public site to explain MedsIndex has been launched at

Crikey goes after pharmacy on Xenical : 01/04/2008 :

Those 'listers who receive Crikey in their inboxes each day will have read Ray Moynihan's piece yesterday critical of Guild subsidiary Gold Cross for taking on the marketing of Xenical.

Attacking the deal Adelaide GP and Secretary Of Healthy Skepticism Dr Peter Mansfield told Crikey: "Pharmacists need to decide if they want to work for the drug companies or for their patients. This is a short term temptation to make money at the expense of public trust in the long run."

Guild President Kos Sclavos responded, saying "It is one of the few proven efficacious drugs for weight loss."

You can read the full Crikey piece here.

APP Welcome Reception : 31/03/2008 :

As always, one of the high points of the APP conference was the Welcome Reception, held to coincide with the opening of the Trade Show on the Friday night.

Pictured at right is Irwin the Evil Chemist, being 'assisted' by two of the staff manning the API/Priceline Pharmacy booth.

Click the link to see more. (Photos courtsey Bill Arnold).

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APP2008 goes off with a bang : 31/03/2008 :

Pictured at the APP Gala Dinner on Saturday night are Guild President Kos Sclavos and Executive Director Kieran Schneeman leading APP delegates in singing Happy Birthday to the Guild in its 80th year (photo courtesy Bill Arnold).

Paperless scripts soon a reality : 31/03/2008 :

In a major announcement at the APP2008 conference over the weekend, Guild President Kos Sclavos announced that a new joint venture called ScriptX would have doctors sending and pharmacies receiving electronic prescriptions by early in 2009.

ScriptX is a joint venture between the three leading primary health IT vendors in Australia, Health Communication Network, Corum Health and Fred Health. However, all medical and pharmacy software vendors will be able to use the ScriptX gateway.

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McLucas chides pharmacy on CMIs : 31/03/2008 :

In her keynote address at APP2008 last Friday Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing, Senator Jan McLucas, pictured at right, reminded pharmacists of the commitments Prime Minister Rudd made to them in the lead up to last year's election.

These were that the Rudd government intends to continue with the community pharmacy agreements beyond the Fourth Agreement and intends to honour the commitments made by the Howard government in that agreement. Further, the Rudd government does not support changes to the laws relating to pharmacy ownership nor does it support the notion of having pharmacies in supermarkets.

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Pharmacy of the Year winners for 2008 announced : 31/03/2008 :

The winners of the 2008 Pharmacy of the Year awards were announced by Senator Jan McLucas, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing, during her keynote address at APP2008 last Friday.

The Pharmacy of the Year awards program is an initiative of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, in partnership with Johnson and Johnson, which recognises pharmacies that deliver best-practice services and community activities.

Overall winner of Pharmacy of the Year for 2008 was Brisbane pharmacy, Terry White Chemists Myer Centre. Pictured receiving their award from Senator McLucas (at left) are Angela White and Tim Hodgson from the pharmacy.

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Infant Cough And Cold Remedies Taken Off Shelves In UK : 31/03/2008 :

The Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the UK has banned the sale of over the counter cough and cold medicines for children under the age of 2. This action has been taken as a precautionary measure against accidental overdose because of an increase in reports of adverse reactions linked to overdose.

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PBS prescriptions fall : 30/03/2008 :

Also at APP, the Guild released figures that show there has been a massive fall in the number of PBS prescriptions in Australia compared to government projections. According to the Guild, this will take huge pressure off the PBS and create much needed headroom for health innovation and development for the Government before the PBS reforms come into force on 1 August 2008.

Based on data for the first eight months of the current financial year, there will be approximately 22 million fewer prescriptions in the system in 2007-08 than was predicted in the Guild Government Community Pharmacy Agreement, creating a saving of around $700 million for this year alone.

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Come and say g'day at APP2008 : 28/03/2008 :

AusPharm's Mark Dunn is on the Gold Coast for APP2008. As always, he'd love to meet 'listers he hasn't met before and renew the acquaintances of those he has so, if you see him there, come up and say g'day!

Poll result: QCPP accreditation (attrition?) rates : 28/03/2008 :

This week's AusPharm poll asked pharmacists about the QCPP accreditation status of the pharmacies they work in. This poll was put up after AusPharm noticed a number of expired QCPP logos in pharmacy windows.

The result, shown below, tells us that accreditation rates have dropped since the halcyon days of the early 2000s when accreditation rates of over 90% were achieved in some states. Even assuming that most of the 'ours is a little out of date' pharmacies will soon re-accredit the resulting accreditation rate of about 70% is less than ideal.


Guild ScriptMAP launched at APP : 28/03/2008 :

At APP2008, currently being held on the Queensland Gold Coast, the Pharmacy Guild has launched a new service to provide its members with a personalised report on how the 1 August 2008 Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) reforms will affect their pharmacies.

The Guild ScriptMAP report is generated by using a pharmacy’s dispensary data to analyse the impact of the PBS reforms, including the PBS price reductions and changes to dispensing fees, markups and trading terms.

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