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AusPharm news

Rhyanna Tracey - 2007 Pharmacy Assistant of the Year : 01/11/2007 :

AusPharm congratulates Rhyanna Tracey - 2007 Pharmacy Assistant of the Year. Rhyanna received her award at the 2007 Pharmacy Assistant Conference held on the Gold Coast last week.

Rhyanna works as Retail Manager at Halls Head Pharmacy in Mandurah, WA.

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Poll: weight loss programs in community pharmacy : 31/10/2007 :

Over the last week there has been some discussion on AusPharmList about the meal replacement programs on offer in community pharmacy. (This is not to mention the media coverage of ineffective complementary medicine weight loss products - more on this tomorrow.) These partial meal replacements (Tony Ferguson's, Betty Baxter, Kate Morgan etc) have an evidence base and have been commercially successful for some community pharmacies. They are the dominant pharmacy weight loss plans.

However, some healthcare professionals such as GPs, nutritionists, and dieticians don't have such a positive view of partial meal replacements. They are unsure of the advice and support given by pharmacists and pharmacy assistants. Possibly this stems from the fact that the majority of the program is delivered by pharmacy assistants after just a few days training.

What do you think about all this? Please let us know by participating in todays' AusPharm poll.

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API confident for the future : 31/10/2007 :

As a part of moving its reporting period to a year ending August 31, Australian Pharmaceutical Industries Limited (API) yesterday released an audited result for the four months to 31 August, 2007.

API's Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Stephen Roche, reported that revenue was up 7.8% on the same four month period in 2006 and that API was now well placed to post positive results in future.

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DHL no longer part of CSO scheme : 31/10/2007 :

In a statement issued last Friday DHL announced that they will no longer be claiming Community Service Obligation (CSO) credits for the distribution of PBS

According to DHL their decision is due in part to the loss of Alphapharm products to API. They say they will now 'strengthen and enhance' their CSO delivery model and focus on 'addressing any confusion amongst the industry' about the DHL CSO delivery model.

They will continue to deliver medicines directly to pharmacists on behalf of manufacturers (eg GSK and Pfizer) through their Direct to Market distribution model which is independent of the CSO.

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What should be on pharmacy's election wish list? : 30/10/2007 :

Medicines Australia published their 2007 election wish list last week and we can expect to see many more wish lists in the weeks leading up to the November 24 federal election. In yesterday's (e)news Philip Smith asked where the Guild's was. AusPharm expects we'll see it soon enough.

What should be on this wish list? Further, what should be on the broader pharmacy wish list (community/hospital/consultant/etc)? What do we all want from the next government of Australia?

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Poll results: Pharmacy's role in a flu pandemic : 26/10/2007 :

This week's poll asked 'listers to consider how their pharmacies might handle a 'full blown flu pandemic'.

The results (shown below) suggest that the majority of pharmacists (54%) see a public health role for themselves during a flu pandemic. However, a significant minority (28%) seem to have (personal safety?) concerns, saying that their pharmacies would have guarded entrances and employ lots of hygiene measures, such as masks.

The potential role of pharmacy is such circumstances is immense. When a pandemic hits, pharmacists will face critical decisions regarding their ability (and moral responsibility) to remain available to the community during the pandemic.

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Medicines Australia issues election wish list : 26/10/2007 :

Medicines Australia, the organisation representing the 'innovative' pharmaceutical manufacturing sector in Australia, yesterday released Medicines Matter to Australians, a summary of election policy priorities identified by the industry.

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NPS reassures consumers on generics : 25/10/2007 :

As part of its ongoing Generic medicines are an equal choice campaign, the National Prescribing Service (NPS) is reassuring consumers that the reluctance some people have about using generic medicines for certain conditions is unwarranted.

Research carried out in 20051 showed that 40% of patients are reluctant to use generic medicines for sensitive body parts such as severe conditions affecting the eyes and brain and 23% of parents are reluctant to use generic medicines for their children. The same studies show 34% of patients will not use a generic medicine if their doctor did not recommend it, though up to 79% of people would consider using generic prescription medicines in the future.

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Customer Value Propositions, Differentiation and Data Management and Mining : 23/10/2007 :

This in from Australian College of Pharmacy Practice and Management CEO John Chapman in France late last week.....

Some Australian pharmacists are presently learning about Customer Value Propositions, Differentiation and data management and mining whilst enjoying a small portion of the delights of France.

There are endless ways in which one could describe the differences between Australia and France but here are a few.

Only in France would Aussies turn up to the rugby decked out in the finest Aussie gold but with the Tricoleur painted on their face. (the France/England semi, and we know who won.)

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Kids' cough and cold medicines - is the end nigh? : 22/10/2007 :

In last week's AusPharm story on the decision by manufacturers of cold medicines for the under two's to voluntarily withdraw many of these products in the US we suggested that Australian manufacturers might be awaiting the outcome of last week's FDA advisory panel meeting before deciding what to do locally.

AusPharm doesn't think they'll be too thrilled with what the panel recommended, which was to ban products intended for use in children under six.

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CHOICE calls for a national conversation with citizens and consumers on health reform : 19/10/2007 :

Consumer group CHOICE says citizens must have a greater say in the development of health policy.

According to CHOICE Senior Health Policy Officer Michael Johnston health interest groups actively lobby health ministers and have input to the policy process but the general public are not able to access decision-makers.

"We want federal and state governments to work together to establish a national consultation process run by an independent organisation," he said.

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Poll results: do you demonstrate inhaler technique? : 19/10/2007 :

In light of the recent NPS advice that 90% of asthma sufferers do not know how to effectively use their asthma inhalers we asked readers to tell us, in this week's AusPharm poll, how often they demonstrate correct inhaler technique to their patients with asthma. 41% of respondents say they do so frequently with another 39% saying they do so 'occasionally'.

The study NPS cites to justify the '90%' claim showed that patients who undergo regular education sessions with their community pharmacists (2.5 mins per session) achieve significantly better inhaler technique and that this results in better clinical outcomes. The authors conclude that "These observations confirm that rechecking and reeducating patients about inhaler technique needs to be a regular and ongoing process. Community pharmacists are well placed to do this because they can engage the patient every time an inhaler is dispensed."

Over to you, guys.......

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All is not well in the state of Denmark Ireland : 18/10/2007 :

Pharmacists in Ireland are warning that smaller pharmacies as well as those in rural areas are at risk of closing after the Irish Health Executive (HSE) slashed payments to pharmacies recently. The Irish situation will strike a familiar note with Australian pharmacists with the local equivalent of the 'Guild', The Irish Pharmaceutical Union (IPU), saying that:

"Pharmacists are not responsible for the rising costs of medicines to the Government and any attempt to tackle costs must acknowledge that this cost is due to many factors including the Government decision to introduce the Drug Payment Scheme, the extension of medical cards to all patients over the age of 70, the country’s rapidly rising population and the increased sophistication of many medicines - which are very expensive but which save the HSE in other respects such as reduced need for hospitalisation of certain patients."

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More on '90% failure rate for inhaler technique' : 18/10/2007 :

After AusPharm published the NPS claim last week that over 90% of asthma sufferers do not know how to effectively use their asthma inhalers we commented that this seemed excessive and mused that, if correct, it reflected poorly on pharmacists' counseling with their asthma patients. 'lister David Jackson suggested we contact the NPS and ask for their evidence.

Well, we did this and, while the 90% figure is drawn from one small study, it is correct. What's happening in your pharmacy? For those who haven't yet let us know us by participating in this week's poll (at left) please do so now!

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BugBusters, coming to a home (or school) near you? : 17/10/2007 :

A Melbourne woman has set up a mobile head lice support service called BugBusters. BugBusters offers a number of services to both individual households and to schools and preschools.

These include information sessions that cover topics like what head lice are, how they are spread, how to effectively eradicate them and how to prevent re-infestations. Also offered is a policy development service in which BugBusters put together a 'Nit Free Zone' policy and eradication program for schools and preschools and then work with the (pre)schools to implement it.

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Poll: do you demonstrate inhaler technique? : 17/10/2007 :

Last Friday AusPharm published a brief news item that drew on an NPS claim that 90% of asthma patients do not know how to effectively use their asthma inhalers. If true, this reflects poorly on pharmacists whose role it is to help their asthma patients get this right.

How well do you do this in the pharmacy you work in? Do you demonstrate correct technique to patients first prescribed inhalers? Do you check the technique of 'old hands'? Please let us know in this week's AusPharm poll.

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ACCC approves MIMS/PP Guide merger : 17/10/2007 :

In a finding released last week the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) announced it would not oppose the proposed acquisition of the Australian Prescription Products Guide by CMPMedica Australia P/L, the publishers of MIMS.

The ACCC formed the view that the proposed acquisition was unlikely to result in a substantial lessening in competition in the relevant market because there were already other similar (but not identical) products on the market (eg AusDI) and that other suppliers of drug information publications in Australia could expand their current product offering to include PI and CMI for a relatively low cost and time investment.

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Nurse Practitioners in residential age care facilities - but what about 'Pharmacist Practitioners'? : 16/10/2007 :

'Listers with their eye on the ball might have seen an article in last months Australian Family Physician that looked at a possible role in Residential Aged Care Facilities for 'nurse practitioners' (NPs).

The NP concept was first developed in the1960s and NPs are now working in a number of places around the world, including Australia.

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Infant cold medicines voluntarily withdrawn in US : 15/10/2007 :

Last last week the US makers of 10 decongestant medicines for infants voluntarily withdrew their products from sale. This follows concerns that these products can be dangerous in overdose.

According to the manufacturers' industry association, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, at least 45 children died in the US between 1969 and 2006 after taking decongestants, and 69 died after taking antihistamines. The Association points out that potential misuse of these infant medicines, not product safety, is behind the voluntary withdrawal.

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90% failure rate for inhaler technique?
: 12/10/2007 :

According to the National Prescribing Service Limited (NPS) over 90% of asthma sufferers do not know how to effectively use their asthma inhalers.

To address this researchers from NPS and the University of Sydney have received a Linkage Project Grant from the Australian Research Council (ARC) to develop different models of health professional education to train people with asthma in the community.

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