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AusPharm news

Online discussion forum owner sued : 13/09/2007 :

Some 'listers will have been as alarmed as AusPharm is about reports surfacing yesterday that the operator of an online chat group is being sued by a company who alleges that comments made in the forum about their products constituted an 'injurious falsehood'.

It is not for us to go into the specifics of this case but as operators of an online forum we (and many others) await, with more than a passing degree of interest, the outcome of this case.

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Poll: what's your name? : 12/09/2007 :

In keeping with the positive tone set by last week's poll on what pharmacists in Australia wear to work here's another one in the same vein.

Do you wear a name badge at work? If so, what's on it? Please let us know by participating in this week's AusPharm poll --> Click here.

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Symbion/Healthscope merger falls over : 12/09/2007 :

The proposed merger between Symbion and Healthscope has fallen over at the eleventh hour with the merger proposal narrowly voted down yesterday at a meeting of Symbion shareholders. Symbion required 75 per cent approval from shareholders, but fell short, gaining 73.9 per cent.

These events are well covered in today's mainstream media. Click here to go to the AusPharm 'In the news' section to access links to these stories.

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A few minutes in conversation with Professor Greg Peterson, 2007 PSA Pharmacist of the Year : 11/09/2007 :

This year's winner of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia's Gold Medal Award for Pharmacist of the Year is Professor Greg Peterson. Professor Peterson is active in a number of areas of pharmacy practice, principally in teaching and research but he also works 6 hours a week in a community pharmacy in Hobart and owns a share in a pharmacy as well.

AusPharm caught up with Professor Peterson at the University of Tasmania last week and asked him to tell us a little bit about himself and about where he thought pharmacy would go in the next 20 years. To hear AusPharm's Mark Dunn interview Professor Peterson click the link.

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Here's a way to help your hypertensive patients : 11/09/2007 :

Enrollments are open for the second phase of the NPS Pharmacy Practice Audit 'Medication management in hypertension' (closes Friday September 28). The audit is recognised for CPD (Continuing Professional Development) points by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, the Australian Association of Consultant Pharmacy (8 credit points) and the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (4 hours).

The NPS's Judith Mackson encouraged pharmacists to particpate saying; "Hypertension is the most frequently managed problem in primary care, accounting for nearly 12 per cent of prescriptions issued. After completing the audit, pharmacists will be in a better position to identify patients for GP referral, Home Medicines Review and those who require assistance in taking their medicines".

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Dose Administration Aids (DAA) Program underway : 11/09/2007 :

The first phase of the Dose Administration Aids (DAA) Program, one of the Fourth Community Pharmacy Agreement professional pharmacy programs and services, went live yesterday.

The Program is available to all Section 90 community pharmacies throughout Australia. To participate, pharmacists need to meet professional standards, including respect of patient privacy issues, and the pharmacy must have the necessary infrastructure to provide the service. Participating pharmacies will be eligible for incentive payments as a contribution to the collection of evaluation data and ongoing DAA service provision. Incentives of up to $8,900 (+ GST) are in place to encourage early registration and full participation in the Program, including provision of a full set of data to inform program evaluation.

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Pfizer Direct' ready to roll next week : 10/09/2007 :

Next Monday, 17 September, Pfizer Australia will launch their new, direct to pharmacy supply channel "Pfizer Direct" with supply managed through DHL.

Pfizer Direct will provide pharmacies across Australia with an additional channel for the supply of Pfizer's pharmaceutical products. The new purchasing option will operate alongside existing pharmacy supply arrangements with all the other pharmaceutical wholesalers.

Pfizer will be writing to pharmacies this week providing full details of the new service however AusPharm understands that Pfizer Direct will offer simple net into store pricing with payment by credit card at time of purchase (Pfizer to pay the merchant fees) and a minimum order value of $9,000 (including GST) will be required to access the best prices.

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A Day with the People's Liberation Army : 07/09/2007 :

From Bill Arnold at FIP in Beijing

I have, for a number of years, been a member of he Military and Emergency Section (MEPS) of FIP. This reflects one of my concerns, that I believe that community pharmacy, and general practitioners are terribly under utilised, and can and should play a much more significant role in Emergency Services.

Each year MEPS has a day that is hosted by the defence forces of the country during the FIP Conference. The People's Liberation Army (which includes all branches of their armed services) were our hosts on Wednesday. Again we were bussed with a police escort, but this time only two buses, not 65.

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What do pharmacists wear to work?
: 07/09/2007 :

This week's poll picked up on a recent Pharmaceutical Journal article that looked at what pharmacists should wear to work.

Our results show that pretty much anything neat and tidy is acceptable in Australian pharmacies, with people evenly spread across the range of options we offered (not enough options for some however!).

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A minute with new FIP fellow Professor Charlie Benrimoj : 06/09/2007 :

AusPharm's Bill Arnold managed to corner new FIP fellow Professor Shalom 'Charlie' Benrimoj at FIP overnight and asked him about his new fellowship and also about why Australians should go to FIP. Follow the link below to hear Bill talk to Professor Benrimoj.

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia yesterday extended its congratulations to new FIP Fellows Professor Benrimoj and Dr Ross Holland. Speaking from Beijing overnight, PSA president Brian Grogan paid tribute to both men:

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Want some one on one assistance to help your customers avoid osteoporotic fractures? : 06/09/2007 :

The National Prescribing Service (NPS) is introducing a new education program for health professionals which aims to prevent osteoporosis and reduce the risk of fractures in their patients. According to NPS, evidence shows that compliance with osteoporosis medications is poor.

Patients need to fully comply with their medications, in combination with sufficient calcium and vitamin D, to truly reduce their risk of fractures. Strict adherence to the prescribed administration instructions is also essential to minimise gastrointestinal effects.

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New RMMR arrangements causing grief
: 05/09/2007 :

Those in the Residential Medication Management Review (RMMR) business in Australian pharmacy will no doubt be aware of the difficulties pharmacists are experiencing with the new RMMR arrangements that came into play on July 1 2007.

Prior to this date pharmacists/pharmacies with RMMR contracts were paid quarterly on a 'per bed' basis according to the contracts they held. A 'fee for service' system came into play on July 1. This is causing some grief.

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We stopped the traffic in Beijing : 05/09/2007 :

From Bill Arnold at FIP


A city of 14 million plus; a complex network of roads with bridges, flyovers and clover leaves. And toll roads, busy roads, all day and all night. An FIP Conference at a resort built around hot springs with healing properties about 40 kilometres from the City Centre. And an opening ceremony in the auditorium in the Great Hall of the People, on the edge of Tianamin Square (ca. 250 acres, a laaaarge wheat paddock).

Q. How do you move 3000 plus participants?
A. 65 buses - a convoy nearly 2 kilometers long.

A police escort and every intersection and merging lane closed off for our progress, some 1 hour and 15 minutes. Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine such a thing.

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Poll: What do you as the pharmacist wear to work? : 05/09/2007 :

Last month The Pharmaceutical Journal had an article about what pharmacists should wear to work. This prompted one correspondent to suggest we run a poll to ask 'listers what they wear in their pharmacies here in Australia.

AusPharm has also received one or two emails in recent times commenting on the generally 'down' tone of much of the recent AusPharmList discussion. Well, hopefully this will help lighten things up a little! Please cast your vote in this week's poll below.

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Ask your pharmacist' - watch the ads : 04/09/2007 :

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia's major advertising campaign to promote community pharmacy across Australia commenced on Sunday night. Click the images below to watch the ads.

At the top is the 10 second version (1.5mb .mpg file) and below that is the 30 second version (4.6mb .mpg file).

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Issuing 'Sick leave certificates' - an update : 04/09/2007 :

In the analysis last week's AusPharm poll on whether or not pharmacists should issue 'Sick leave certificate' AusPharm made the comment that "....where to now? Has the idea been abandoned or is it still to be worked up? Seems to AusPharm like a useful addition to the array of cognitive services pharmacists might provide."

The Australian Pharmacy Council (through its President, Mrs Elizabeth Frost) has provided AusPharm with the following comment.

"The Australian Pharmacy Council considers that it is within the scope of practice for a pharmacist to write a medical certificate within set guidelines. The Australian Pharmacy Council has met with the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia and understands that they are in the process of developing a single set of guidelines to be used by pharmacists which comply with the Competency Standards for Pharmacists in Australia, 2003. It is anticipated that these guidelines will be released by November 2007. "

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FIP President recommits to core FIP values : 04/09/2007 :

In delivering his opening address on Sunday to delegates at the 67th FIP World Pharmacy Congress in Beijing, China FIP President Dr Kamal Midha, pictured at left, recommitted FIP to its core 'mission'.

"The future of Pharmacy and Global Health Care through adequate access and rational use of medicines is literally in our hands, whether as a pharmacy in an isolated village in Africa, or as an ultra modern pharmaceutical unit in a plush private hospital in Japan. Our FIP vision is rooted in our seeing, feeling and accepting the responsibility to wholeheartedly offer our skills and knowledge for assuring the safe and rational use of medicine and consequently for the betterment of health and the wellness of individuals." (Photo courtesy Bill Arnold)

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Two Australians receive FIP Fellowships in Beijing : 03/09/2007 :

Professor Charlie Benrimoj and Dr Ross Holland were amongst 6 recipients of the FIP Fellow Award presented at the opening ceremony of the 67th World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Beijing, China overnight.

Both Fellows have had a long and distinguished career in pharmacy. Professor Benrimoj was head of the School of Pharmacy at the University of Sydney for many years throughout the 1990s and 2000s and is now Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Strategic Planning) of the University. Dr Holland was for many years in the 1980s and 1990s the Dean of the Australian College of Pharmacy Practice.

Pictured above, just after receiving their Felowships, are Dr Ross Holland (on the left) and Professor Charlie Benrimoj (on the right). (Photo courtesy Bill Arnold at FIP).

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Irwin the evil chemist chats to Bill Arnold : 03/09/2007 :

AusPharm's 'man on the move' (and photographer extraordinaire) Bill Arnold is at FIP 2007 in Beijing and will be reporting on events there in the week to come.

Prior to leaving for FIP during the week he spoke to Irwin the evil chemist (while they were both enjoying the recent Pharmacy Australia Congress).

Click the photo of Bill at right to hear Irwin chat to Bill about his FIP preparations (1.2 mb .mp3 file 1.14 mins).

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David Nolte Award - La Trobe University Bendigo : 02/09/2007 :

The third annual David Nolte Oral Case History Prize presentations were conducted in Bendigo last week (Monday 27 August). Three 4th year pharmacy undergraduate students from La Trobe University competed for the prize which is awarded for excellence in preparing and presenting case histories following experiential placements in local hospitals.

Pictured at right is the winner, Ebony Gallagher, being congratulated by Professor Kenn Raymond.

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