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AusPharm news

QCPP Pharmacy of the Year finalists announced : 27/03/2008 :

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia, in partnership with Johnson and Johnson, have announced the finalists for the Pharmacy of the Year 2008 competition.


These awards recognise community pharmacies that deliver best-practice healthcare services and community outreach activities.

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QCPP accreditation: is yours current? : 26/03/2008 :

Most community pharmacists would acknowledge that the Quality Care Pharmacy Program is *a good thing*. The AusPharm pharmacy in Dover was one of the first accredited back in the late 1990s and was one of the QCPP Pharmacy of the Year finalists in 2003 after being nominated by our QCPP assessor during that year's external assessment. We found it helped us enormously in keeping practice standards up to scratch.

In our travels around Australia we've noticed a worrying trend in recent times, in which the QCPP logo in pharmacy windows is out of date or blacked out like in the photo at right, taken last week in Melbourne.

There might be many reasons for lapsed accreditation including that the QCPP 2nd Edition isn't to everyone's taste or that with business pressures ramping up in recent years people simply don't have the time to do it. In any event, AusPharm would be interested to know what the state of play in the pharmacy you work in. Please help us get a feel for this by participating in this week's AusPharm poll at left.

Poll result: stealing from the till : 20/03/2008 :

This week's AusPharm poll asked whether a staff member in the pharmacy you work in had ever been caught stealing from the till. 'Yes' was the answer for 80% of respondents, with fully 51% saying that 'they never would have believed it' of the perpetrator . This accords with our assertion in a poll a fortnight ago that staff are responsible for much of the theft that occurs in pharmacies (and, no doubt, other businesses as well).

To us here at AusPharm this highlights the fact that pharmacies need good procedures in place to both prevent staff theft in the first place and to be able to identify it when does occur. A 'she'll be right' attitude will, inevitably, lead to an increase in the overdraft.

Still time to register for APP2008 : 20/03/2008 :

Dear Colleagues

It is with great anticipation that I look forward to welcoming those of you who have registered for the Guild's Annual National Conference, APP, next week. For those who haven't yet registered, I urge you to do as soon as possible.

Our program will feature sessions on PBS reform, generics, pharmacy ownership, rents, business sustainability, linked IT networks, the impact of technologies on patient relationships, and much, To register go to www.app2008.com and download the necessary forms.

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QUMAX - Quality Use of Medicines Maximised for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People : 20/03/2008 :

The QUMAX (Quality Use of Medicines Maximised for Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander People) Program is the result of an initiative developed collaboratively by the Department of Health and Ageing, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO). Funding of up to $10.9 million has been approved for implementation of the QUMAX Program over the life of the Fourth Community Pharmacy Agreement between the Australian Government and the Guild.

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NPS RADAR reviews released : 20/03/2008 :

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 are available on the PBS from today (1 April).

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The adventures of Cyril J Cahill MPS PhC : 19/03/2008 :

The image below depicts a photo-processing (D&P) folder from the pharmacy of Cyril J Cahill MPS PhC (1st place NSW final exam!) in Tamworth. AusPharm believes that it dates from the early 1920s. In the late 1940s (early 1950s?) Cyril Cahill opened pharmacies in a number of towns around Tamworth. The late Pat Develin worked in the Tamworth pharmacy. Another of the pharmacies Cyril opened was in Manilla, sold to Lindsay Dale about 1956-7, then sold on to Justin Flannery and now owned by Patrick Mahony.

We'd love to have further information about Cyril and his pharmacies if anyone has any.

Click the More.... link to see a full sized version of the D&P folder.

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Guild and Sigma team up on training : 18/03/2008 :

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia and Sigma Retail have formed a strategic alliance to jointly deliver a national learning and development program for Sigma's branded pharmacies (Amcal, Amcal Max and Guardian) along with selected independent pharmacies aligned to the Sigma Embrace Program.
In 2008, the Guild are already delivering a significant amount of face to face sessions including S2 & S3 training for pharmacy assistants. The new alliance will complement the Retail Training programs Sigma are already offering Amcal, Amcal Max and Guardian members. Another initiative being launched will be Sigma's Young Pharmacists Skills Training Program.

Guild and Sigma facilitators will deliver sessions to an anticipated audience of 10,000 to 15,000 participants across metropolitan and regional centres throughout Australia during this year.

More talk, more action required in treatment of type 2 diabetes : 17/03/2008 :

The National Prescribing Service Limited (NPS) is advising health professionals to be more aggressive in their management of patients with type 2 diabetes.
The latest education program for NPS – ‘Early use of insulin and oral antidiabetic drugs’ – focuses on appropriate drug therapies, earlier introduction of insulin, lifestyle interventions and the close relationship between type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular events.

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Poll results: do you scan? : 14/03/2008 :

This week's poll asked 'listers whether or not scanners were being used as part of the dispensing process in their pharmacies.

The results show that 80% of people now scan pretty much all of the time. This is a better result than for a similar poll we ran in January 2007 which showed that 43% scan 'on every script' with a further 27% scanning 'mostly'. Also of interest is the result of a March 2004 poll which showed that only 29% of pharmacies actually had a scanner physically present in their dispensary. We've come a long way in 4 years.

AusPharm thinks that scanning should be a mandatory part of the dispensing process. ie if you don't scan you don't get a label.


Poll: do you scan? : 12/03/2008 :

After a recent selection error a 'lister suggested we run another poll asking people about the use of scanners in their dispensaries. In AusPharm's travels as a locum, and from discussions with colleagues, it certainly seems to us that the use of scanners in dispensaries is less widespread than it might ideally be.

Most (all?) Pharmacy Boards mandate the presence and, in some cases, the use of scanners as part of the dispensing process and they do reduce the incidence of selection errors.

What happens in your pharmacy? Please let us know by choosing the appropriate answer in today's AusPharm poll.

Pharmacists encouraged to support complementary medicine research : 12/03/2008 :

The National Prescribing Service Limited (NPS) is conducting research, which will be used to improve access to balanced and accurate information about complementary medicines.
Following on from a literature review and a survey of complementary medicine users, a random sample of pharmacists across Australia will receive a questionnaire via mail during March. The questionnaire will assess current complementary medicine knowledge, information needs and preferences of pharmacist information sources. Once the survey is completed, a series of focus groups will be held to further inform the project.

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Fred Health launches Fred Office : 07/03/2008 :

Fred Health yesterday launched its new flagship management software Fred Office. Fred Office brings all of a pharmacy's dispense, POS and other business systems into one package that looks and works just like Microsoft Outlook.

According to Paul Naismith, CEO, Fred Health, "Fred Office is designed so that pharmacists can run their business and information behind their pharmacy with absolute ease. Our goal is to help pharmacists spend more time with their customers and walk out the door to their families at night, with management software that saves you time and makes running the business as intuitive as possible."

Mr Naismith emphasised that pharmacists can easily gain an accurate picture of their total business for the first time, with the potential to save thousands of dollars in inventory costs.

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Poll result: what clinical skill level for MMR accreditation? : 07/03/2008 :

This weeks poll asked pharmacists to give us their opinion on the high clinical skill level currently required for MMR accreditation. The relevant issues were well covered by Kevin de Vries in his article introducing the poll. This article was commissioned by AusPharm in response to recent public comment by Professor Charlie Benrimoj, AACP Chair Dr Shane Jackson, AACP CEO Bill Kelly and experienced accredited pharmacists Debbie Rigby and Jeff Hughes..

The results (see chart below) show that, in the main, 'listers agree that to achieve MMR accreditation pharmacists do need high level clinical skills. Clinical skills are not all that is required of course. As Kevin de Vries pointed out in his article there is also "the ability to methodically structure an interview, identify and solve therapeutic problems, make effective decisions, use appropriate resources and appropriately prioritise work must be considered. Then there is the ability for pharmacists to clearly express themselves. Does the pharmacist have adequate verbal skills to communicate with patients, doctors and other professionals?"

AusPharm's understanding is that the AACP Board, who decides these issues, at present agrees that a high clinical skill level is required.

My Saturday started off fairly normally...... : 07/03/2008 :

A day to forget - by Paul Smith

My Saturday started off fairly normally. Quite a busy day due to the nearby Mardi Gras Parade that evening. Very 'colourful' crowd coming in to say the least so the robbery caught me off guard.

The paper for our till had run out and the till would not function effectively until we had replaced it. I decided to send the assistant over to our closest store in Leichhardt (20min drive) to get some till rolls whilst I manned the fort by myself for 40 minutes or so. It was quite busy, but nothing I couldn't handle by myself.

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Esipram® remains exclusive to DHL : 04/03/2008 :

CNS Pharma confirmed yesterday that Esipram® (escitalopram) remains exclusively available for ordering via DHL Exel Supply Chain.
These supply arrangements have been put in place because the three major wholesalers have refused to supply Esipram® in protest over new trading terms introduced by CNS Pharma last October. CNS Pharma regards this ongoing refusal to supply as a breach of the wholesalers' Community Service Obligation and has taken the matter up with the Department of Health and Ageing.
According to CNS Pharma "In the interest of patients and the responsible dispensing of a PBS medicine, all pharmacies are advised to open an account with DHL Exel Supply Chain and to supply Esipram® where required." Details on how to order Esipram are here.

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dr direct 'improves the standard of dispensing' : 04/03/2008 :

Last week Sam Singh drew our attention to the dr direct website. Those of you who haven't had a look might like to do so, particularly if you have GPs nearby who are (or who might be thinking about becoming) customers of dr direct.

dr direct surgeries are able to supply a large range of schedule 4 medications direct to patients. AusPharm has been shown a copy of the dr direct FAQ.

Q. What will my local pharmacist say?
"Both pharmacists and doctors work toward the best interests of their patient and there are many areas of overlap. Doctors supply sample medication regularly and so this process is no different. The dr direct model simply improves the standard of dispensing by providing a small, select group of medications, which are in the best interests of the patients to receive them at the consultation."

Improves the standard of dispensing eh? How so?

Further (paraphrased) extracts from the FAQ appear below.

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Taking the lead in best practice use of drugs in aged care : 04/03/2008 :

The National Prescribing Service Limited (NPS) is further developing its suite of toolkits to help pharmacists achieve Quality Use of Medicines (QUM) in aged care facilities.
The NPS Drug Use Evaluation (DUE) toolkits provide localised activities to promote QUM, compare current drug use against best practice and guide facilities towards making changes which will enhance the health of residents. Participation also assists facilities to meet requirements for the Residential Aged Care Accreditation Standards (administered by the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency Ltd).

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Launch of Fred to keep pharmacy in the know : 03/03/2008 :

PCA NU Systems announced on Friday the launch of a new brand to focus on the needs of pharmacy.

The new pharmacy brand will be known as Fred.

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Stil*ox remains in the headlights : 03/03/2008 :

Both the National Prescribing Service (NPS) and Stil*ox manufacturer Sanofi Aventis issued statements relating to zolpidem on Friday.

NPS released a statement, aimed at consumers, that reinforced the key messages on zolpidem and advised concerned consumers to visit their doctor to discuss their concerns. It also drew consumer's attention to the NPS Sleeping Medicines Fact Sheet advising of the potential side effects of zolpidem.

Stil*ox manufacturer Sanofi Aventis sent a mailing to all pharmacies clarifying the TGA mandated change in zolpidem pack sizes. Click here to read the Sanofi Aventis letter in full.

Post a comment to AusPharmList.

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