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AusPharm news

Poll results: 'Immediate supply necessary' : 29/02/2008 :

This week's poll asked 'listers's whether it was time to end the bureaucratic requirement that pharmacists endorse urgently required prescriptions 'Immediate supply necessary'. The results are shown in the chart below.

While the majority of respondents think this imposition on pharmacists ' time has no place in pharmacy in 2008 a significant minority think that it still has a role to play in discouraging inappropriate supply.

AusPharm thinks that, at a minimum, the requirement to 'write' the endorsement should be replaced by an electronic prompt in dispensing software, similar to the PDL warnings, that require pharmacists to 'certify' that an urgent supply is required.

More on PBS Reforms & F2A WADP : 29/02/2008 :

After we published Norman Thurecht's article   (below) yesterday AusPharm received feedback that parts of it might not have been clear to some readers and, as a result, it's key messages may be open to different interpretations.

This is a complex and complicated set of reforms. AusPharm suggests that the best way to fully get your head around it all is to attend the upcoming Guild PBS reforms workshops. These events, which will run through April, are open to all community pharmacy owners, not just Guild members. For more information download the brochure here

Submissions to TGA review of medicines labelling need to be in by tomorrow : 28/02/2008 :

There has been extensive discussion on AusPharmList in recent weeks about the TGA's review of medicines labelling. The scope of the review covers primary packaging (the box), intermediate packaging (eg. Somac® strips, lozenge wrappings) and blister packaging.
Peter Bayly has kindly provided us with a template submission that can be modified to taste by 'listers, personalised, and sent off to the TGA (as suggested by Ron Batagol in his post to AusPharmList on the subject today).

To download the template click here. Once you've modified it with your own details you should email it to making sure that the subject line is 'Medicine labelling'. The deadline for getting submissions in is Friday February 29 so a good time to email yours off would be TODAY.

Five-year-old took wrong medication for two months : 28/02/2008 :

Last week a 'lister sent along a link to a story published recently in the US about a Walgreen's pharmacy that had dispensed an incorrect medication for a five year old not once, not twice, not three times but FOUR times before the error was picked up.

Given the ongoing discussion on AusPharmList about dispensing volumes ('sausage factories'), the US article is an interesting read. You can read it here.

Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code Council seminars : 28/02/2008 :

The Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code Council has released details of its 2008 seminar program.
The purpose of the seminars is to inform and update those involved in the advertising of therapeutic goods on the current requirements for the advertising of therapeutic goods to consumers in Australia. This year, in addition to the established one -day seminar covering the essentials of the advertising requirements, a half-day advanced seminar will be offered later in the year.

Program details are here.

Poll: Time to repeal the 'Immediate Supply Necessary' requirement : 27/02/2008 :

Irwin the evil chemist writes...... Back in the early 90s, Regulation 25 was altered so that pharmacists were required to add the words "immediate supply necessary" and initial the endorsement if a supply was made earlier than 'reasonable'.

This was a bureaucratically ludicrous attempt to solve a problem *caused* by the Safety-Net system itself and attempted unsuccessfully to stem the tsunami of patients cashing in on their freebie Safety-Net medications.

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New Nicabate® ad on TV : 27/02/2008 :

A new Nicabate® TV ad went to air in late January to coincide with the predicted "spike" in smoking cessation activity that happens as people return to work after the festive season.

The TV ad is part of a campaign that will be supported by a range of point of sale resources, promotions and special incentives. Click the image at right to watch the ad.

Poll results: who cashes up the register? : 22/02/2008 :

This week's poll asked 'listers who cashes up the registers in the pharmacy they work in. We couched this poll question in the overall context of pharmacy security and in the knowledge that pharmacy staff are likely responsible for a significant part of profit loss caused by theft, either of stock or cash. The results are shown below.

It seems that in most pharmacies it is the owner/manager or a senior staff member whose do the job but in about one in five pharmacies it is 'whomever's handy'. AusPharm wonders whether an 'above' average' percentage of this latter group cause grief for their owners due to the lesser degree of accountability brought about by this modus operandi and, further, whether having just the owner/manager one a dfedicated senior member of staff responsible for cashing up might lead to a higher level of cash security in the pharmacy.


TGA places boxed warning on Stilnox : 22/02/2008 :

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) yesterday imposed a boxed warning in the product information documents for medicines containing zolpidem, including Stilnox®.

The action to apply a boxed warning follows the decision yesterday of the National Drugs and Poisons Scheduling Committee not to restrict access to zolpidem by moving it from Schedule 4 to Schedule 8.

This story is all over this morning's newspapers and there are links to all of these stories in the AusPharm 'In the news' section. The TGA statement is here.


Research Grants Available to Assess Pharmacy Role in National Health Priorities : 21/02/2008 :

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia through its Fourth Community Pharmacy Agreement Research and Development Program is inviting applications for research grants to assess pharmacy’s role in key national health priority areas – mental health and palliative care.

A mental health research grant is available to identify and evaluate the primary health care role pharmacists can play to assist people with mild to moderate mental illness in the community. It aims to support the trial of a specialised pharmacy service to assist people manage their condition.


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Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing to open APP : 21/02/2008 :

In a strong show of support for community pharmacy, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing, Senator the Hon. Jan McLucas (pictured at left), will open this years APP on Friday 28 March at 10.00am.

The Parliamentary Secretary will also present a keynote address, providing delegates with an overview on the Government's Health Policies and the partnership between the Government, pharmacy and the Pharmacy Guild.

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NSW Supreme Court: Coles and Pharmacy Direct : 21/02/2008 :

The image above, taken from today's Court list of the Supreme Court of NSW, tells us that the Court will today consider whether or not the Coles purchase of Pharmacy Direct back in March 2006 was legal, ie consistent with state and territory legislation that, in the main, restricts ownership of pharmacies to pharmacists. Watch this space - we'll bring you updates as we are able.

Poll: who cashes up the registers? : 20/02/2008 : Theft/shop lifting is still an issue in pharmacies despite the introduction in recent years of more sophisticated surveillance techniques. Sadly, there are people out there who don't regard stealing as too great a crime. Conventional wisdom when AusPharm owned pharmacies was that staff were responsible for most of this and we, and colleagues, always had stories to tell about dishonest staff.

What level of trust is granted staff in the pharmacy you work in? A lot? A little? None? With this in mind we are are interested how cash is handled in your pharmacy. Please help us gain an insight into this by participating in this week's poll.

Let me tell you about my Monday : 20/02/2008 :

'Listers will be aware that much of Queensland has been, well, damp for the last week or so.

The story below arrived in AusPharm's inbox yesterday.


Cancelled trip to Brisbane for eQCPP training due to damage to the pharmacy and I felt the staff needed my support at work. How right I was.

7.30am - Fred server saying remove disc and I will boot up for you - no discs to be found in any drives. Looking a little fatal. Client 1 booted up but would not print as they are all on Fred server as is comm. Server. Oh well I can write by hand. Rang IT guy over the weekend and he has lost everything with 2 feet of water through his house plus cars destroyed. He says he will come and rescue Fred server - angel.

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Scheme to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to join pharmacy workforce : 19/02/2008 :

Pharmacies in rural and remote areas are being encouraged to participate in a new scheme aimed at helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people enter the pharmacy workforce as pharmacy assistants and technicians.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Pharmacy Assistant Scheme is an initiative of the Indigenous Access Program, which aims to improve access to community pharmacy services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Eligible pharmacies may receive an allowance of up to $10,000 to employ and train a pharmacy assistant/technician of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent.

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Stil*ox in the news again this week? : 18/02/2008 :

Some 'listers may have heard the story of Mairead Costigan (pictured at right) who died on 13 September 2007 after sleepwalking and falling from a cycleway approach to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. A toxicology report found traces of one of the 'Z' drugs in her system. Mairead's family have put together a petition to try to have them banned.

AusPharm understands that Mairead's story might get some more coverage this week, on the ABC's 7.30 Report and elsewhere.

The National Drugs and Poisons Scheduling Committee (NDPSC) meets this week and, once again, zolpid*m is on the agenda.

FairDeal Homeopathy? : 18/02/2008 :

The February 2 issue of New Scientist drew reader's attention to a company called FairDeal Homeopathy. FairDeal Homeopathy promises to supply consumers with "effective* homeopathic remedies at a fair price".


According to FairDeal Homeopathy "Homeopathy works through a complicated interaction with the human body and mind known as the "placebo effect". The placebo effect is still not fully understood, but is very effective for certain conditions**."

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NPS campaign needs volunteer health presenters to commit this month! : 18/02/2008 :

The National Prescribing Service Limited (NPS) is calling on the expertise of doctors, pharmacists and nurses to volunteer as guest presenters at child care centres across the nation this autumn.
Volunteer presenters are encouraged to register their interest in providing short information sessions to local child care centres by mid March to allow time for volunteers to be briefed and matched to requests from child care centres interested in reducing cross infections.

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The Australian Pharmacy Preceptor Education Program : 15/02/2008 :

Not sure how to properly look after your pre-reg or student? The Pharmacy Preceptor Education Program might be what you've been looking for.

The program was developed by pharmacy academics from five Australian universities and is designed specifically for pharmacist preceptors to help them plan and manage a student or pre-registrant placement.

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Poll results: who should represent pharmacy at the Australian 2020 summit? : 15/02/2008 :

This week's AusPharm poll asked people to vote for the two pharmacists they would like to attend the Australia 2020 Summit on behalf of their profession.

Now we need to say up front that the the final list we gave you to vote on had some notable omissions, in part because people got their 'nominations' in too late but also because Prime Minister Rudd made it clear that people would not be invited to represent interest groups. This meant that, for example, Guild President Kos Sclavos, who most would agree has as good an understanding of pharmacy's actual and possible future role in health as any, wasn't on the list.

However, our list did have some good names on it. In analysing the results, all we did was add together candidate's scores in the first and second preference polls to give a total and this is what we got:


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