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AusPharm news

Petition launched to support pharmacy in 6CPA negotiations : 06/05/2015 :

A community pharmacist has launched a petition asking Health Minister Sussan Ley not to proceed with a proposal that would see pharmacies able to dioscount toe PBS co-payment by $1.00.

The petition - Please STOP and SEE the value of Community Pharmacy to all AUSTRALIANS! - accuses the government of dirty tactics in its 6CPA negotiations by making a 'staged leak to the media undermining the whole negotiation'.

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FIP acts on PSA-RPS antimicrobial initiative : 05/05/2015 :

As a result of advocacy by The Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), the global body representing pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences, is now leading action on the role of pharmacists in addressing the issue of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

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Guild applauds Carrie Bickmore’s call for greater recognition of cancer research : 05/05/2015 :

The Pharmacy Guild yesterday praised Carrie Bickmore for her inspirational speech on brain cancer awareness during Sunday night’s Logie Awards.

Accepting her Gold Logie award, Ms Bickmore donned a beanie and paid tribute to her late husband who lost his fight with brain cancer five years ago.

Earlier this year, the National President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, George Tambassis embarked on his first skydive to mark the beginning of a Guild partnership with the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation.

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Asthma preventer inhalers under-used in Australia : 05/05/2015 :

In news that will come as no surprise to pharmacists, a new report by the Australian Centre for Airways disease Monitoring (ACAM), a Collaborating Unit of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), has found that inhaled 'preventers' are under-used in Australia for managing asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other obstructive airways diseases.

The report, Respiratory medication use in Australia 2003–2013: treatment of asthma and COPD, shows that prescription respiratory medications were dispensed to over 2 million people in Australia (about 9% of the population) in 2013, but that most people only used them occasionally.

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Discounted PBS co-payment: yes or no? : 05/05/2015 :

Government plans to allow pharmacies to discount the PBS prescription co-payment remain up in the air today after the Pharmacy Guild continued to oppose the move.

Discounting prescription co-payments by $1.00 would save PBS dollars by delaying consumer access to the PBS Safety Net, particularly if coupled with another proposal to delist 'OTC' analgesics.

The Pharmacy Guild opposes the move as the discount would come directly off pharmacy bottom lines. The Guild (and others) are also arguing that it would destroy the 'universal access' PBS principle as some pharmacies, particularly those in rural areas, would not be able to afford to pass on the $1.00 cut.

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GSK releases 2014 payments to Australian healthcare professionals : 05/05/2015 :

In 2014, GSK Australia made payments totalling $3,466,951 million to healthcare professionals (HCPs) and health-related organisations (HCOs) for grants sponsorships and consultancy fees related to chairing and speaking at meetings, assistance with training and participation in advisory boards.

The figures, released by the company last week, cover both the Pharmaceutical and Consumer Healthcare businesses in Australia but do not include payments to consultants in relation to research and development work, including clinical trials.

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RGH E‑Bulletin: Suvorexant – a preliminary overview : 04/05/2015 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Suvorexant – a preliminary overview.

"Insomnia is common, particularly amongst the elderly, and has been described in terms of symptoms such as difficulty getting to asleep, staying asleep, or waking after sleep but not feeling refreshed (non-restorative sleep). Commonly seen in the context of comorbid issues including a variety of psychiatric illnesses (mood disorders, anxiety disorders and substance misuse), chronic insomnia is associated with compromised quality of life and an increased risk of substance use disorders. Many authorities advocate non-pharmacological approaches to treatment – these may include relaxation techniques, yoga, and various meditation techniques."

Click here to read the bulletin in full. The E‑Bulletins are archived on the AusPharmList website here.

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Pessimism from pharmacists on 6CPA : 01/05/2015 :

More than 2/3 of those voting in this week's AusPharm poll believe the 6th Community Pharmacy Agreement will bring no comfort to pharmacists, either owners or others.

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Consumer health needs must be the first concern in PBS reforms, say peak health groups : 01/05/2015 :

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) has joined with three other national health groups to urge the Federal Health Minister to assess the health and economic impacts of changes to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) before implementing them.

PSA, along with the Consumers Health Forum (CHF) , Arthritis Australia and Painaustralia, say changes as currently proposed would significantly disadvantage more than one million Australians living with arthritis and other chronic conditions requiring frequent medication.

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Praise for Ley over codeine support for pharmacists : 01/05/2015 :

Comments made by the Federal Minister for Health, Sussan Ley, acknowledging and supporting the skills of pharmacists to effectively and safely manage the supply of medicines containing codeine have been welcomed by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA).

In a doorstop interview this week, Ms Ley said: "Pharmacists are well qualified to advise, to assess, and to determine what somebody's requests for medicines are, and how appropriate those requests may be."

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PSA: proposed PBS cuts a recipe for poor health : 30/04/2015 :

Consumers across Australia should be concerned by reports that the government plans to cut $3 billion from the PBS in next month's federal budget, says the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia.

PSA says such cuts may negatively impact on quality medication use and health outcomes for Australians.

“Cutting the PBS doesn’t just mean reduced access to medicines," said PSA President, Grant Kardachi.

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Pharmacy practice support resources address changes in HIV dispensing conditions : 30/04/2015 :

From 1 July 2015, HIV medicines, on prescriptions dated 1 July 2015 or later, will be able to be dispensed in community pharmacy, with Government remuneration.

The medicines remain Section 100 Highly Specialised Drugs (S100) but will be accessible by patients from community pharmacies, where previously these medicines have only been dispensed in hospital settings.

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia is producing a comprehensive practice support resource to give community pharmacy a valuable overview of the changes, the condition and the medicines used in treatment.

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TWC travelling well : 30/04/2015 :

Terry White Chemists (TWC) has seen strong retail sales growth so far in 2015 with ‘like for like pharmacy’ sales up more than 5% for the first three months of the calendar year when compared with the same period last year.

Commenting on the result, Chief Executive Officer, Anthony White said “Sales have been strengthening month on month with March seeing an increase of more than 7% on last year – the network is outperforming the market and looks strong.”

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Health Minister supports pharmacists on S3 codeine : 30/04/2015 :

Speaking in a doorstop interview this week about a proposal to be considered by the Advisory Committee on Medicines Scheduling at its July meeting to up-schedule Schedule 3 codeine containing analgesic to prescription only status, federal Health Minister Sussan Ley spoke in support of the ability of pharmacists to manage such supply.

"Pharmacists are well qualified to advise, to assess, and to determine what somebody's requests for medicines are, and how appropriate those requests may be," she said.

She added, however, that she was 'interested' in any measures that can be put in place to stop pharmacy shopping such as consumers having to produce identification to obtain supply and pharmacies having to keep records of supply.

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Blackmores powers along : 30/04/2015 :

Regardless of your position on the clinical worth of the Blackmores' product range, consumers clearly like them.

The company yesterday announced sales of $326 million for the 9 months to 31 March 2015 - up 28% on the prior corresponding period.  Net profit after tax for the period was $31 million, up 76% on the prior corresponding period. Sales were up 35% in the company's Australian home territory and up 43% in the rapidly growing Asian market.

Blackmores says its business has 'strong momentum' at present and expects sales growth to continue.

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Ley: discounting PBS co-pay may lead to dearer scripts in rural Australia : 29/04/2015 :

Allowing pharmacies to discount the PBS co-payment might lead to prescriptions in country towns - where there are fewer pharmacies in competition - being more costly more than in the city.

Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley told Sky News on Monday that "I suspect that if you're a pharmacist in an area where there is several others, you might choose to discount the co-payment".

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Choosing Wisely : 29/04/2015 :

A new NPS MedicineWise facilitated program - Choosing Wisely Australia - launches today with the aim of starting a national conversation about more appropriate health care.

A number of medical colleges and societies have teamed up to take the lead on identifying tests, treatments and procedures that are of proven low value or carry an unnecessary risk.

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More than 50 SA pharmacies now able to administer flu vaccines : 29/04/2015 :

More than 50 South Australian pharmacists have completed the required training and can now administer flu vaccines in their pharmacies.

Commenting yesterday, SA Health Minister Jack Snelling said allowing pharmacists to directly administer the flu shot was expected to encourage a greater uptake of the vaccine, especially from people who feel they don’t have time to visit their GP.

Guild SA President Nick Panayiaris said that, as more pharmacists completed the necessary training, the Guild was expecting many more pharmacies to also offer the service this year.

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Pharmacists again rate highly for ethics, honesty : 29/04/2015 :

Pharmacists have come in second in this year's Roy Morgan Image of Professions survey - equal with doctors but behind nurses.

For the 21st year in a row nurses were ranked as the most ethical and honest profession with 92% of those surveyed rating their ethics and honesty as 'high' or very high'.

Pharmacists and doctors both scored 84%, down slightly on last year's score of 86%.

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Prescribing For Australians Living With Dementia: Invitation to Participate in Research Project : 28/04/2015 :

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