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AusPharm news

Poll results: sick leave certificates : 31/08/2007 :

This week's poll asked 'listers whether or not their pharmacy's customers were asking them to provide "sick leave certificates". As we mentioned in the preamble to this poll the 'official' advice from PSA et al is that there is an element of risk attached to providing these because of some unresolved issues around indemnity and what conditions might be covered by pharmacists (amongst other issues).

The results are clear as shown in the chart above. So, 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.

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Ask your pharmacist' advertising campaign launches next week : 31/08/2007 :

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia's major advertising campaign to promote community pharmacy across Australia will begin on the 2nd September. The branding campaign focusing on the gold cross aims to highlight in the minds of the consumer that they should "Ask their pharmacist" - the medicines experts, front line health providers who can help you to stay well.

The themes of "trust, service and advice", "locally owned by a pharmacist" and "the medicine experts" are the focus of the campaign. The Guild are urging members to utilise the support material they have been provided with so as to maximise the benefit of the campaign.

AusPharm hopes to be able to provide a link to an online version of the TV advertisement in Monday's (e)news.

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NPS to manage Adverse Medicines Event Line : 31/08/2007 :

The National Prescribing Service (NPS) has agreed to manage the Adverse Medicines Event Line (AME Line) with funding from the Department of Health and Ageing for the next 12 months.

This will allow the AME line to continue providing a crucial service to consumers who wish to report adverse medicine experiences or to discuss medicine safety with a registered pharmacist.

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Federal Court upholds Xenic*l ad ban : 31/08/2007 :

In a decision handed down by the Federal Court yesterday the Court confirmed the ban on direct to consumer advertising of Xenic*l which was put in place by the National Drugs and Poisons Schedule Committee (NDPSC) in February 2007.

Essentially the Court's Justice Branson ruled that the NDPSC decision was "legislative" rather than "administrative" in nature and that Roche, therefore, had no case in challenging the NDPSC decision. It decided that the Committee had not overstepped its jurisdiction by considering information from CHOICE suggesting that not all pharmacists were not following guidelines from the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia when dispensing Xeni*al. Justice Branson ordered that Roche pay costs.

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Irwin chats to 'Health Minister' Professor Hal Swerissen : 30/08/2007 :

Professor Hal Swerissen is Acting Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, La Trobe University and Associate Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at La Trobe University's Bendigo campus. He was previously Head of the School of Public Health and Director of the Australian Institute for Primary Care, Faculty of Health Sciences, La Trobe University.

He was one of the speakers at last week's Health Forum at PAC 2007. Irwin the evil chemist caught up with Professor Hal after his presentation and bestowed on him the role of Acting Australian Health Minister. Follow the link to hear what he has to say.

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Funding for palliative care drug trials announced : 30/08/2007 :

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing, Senator Brett Mason (pictured at right), yesterday launched a program of clinical trials of palliative care drugs.

"We are providing funding of $9.46 million for clinical trials for six drugs - ketorolac, ketamine, Megace, octreotide, and risperidone — through the Palliative Care Clinical Studies Collaborative initiative," he said. "These trials will help determine which drugs are most appropriate to use for palliative care, giving us important information for the future care of palliative care patients and peace of mind for carers.

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Irwin the evil chemist chats to Dr Jeff Hughes : 29/08/2007 :

Those 'listers who were at PAC last weekend will have seen Irwin the evil chemist ambushing unsuspecting victims and subjecting them to 'interview by iPod'.

One such victim was Curtin University School of Pharmacy's Dr Jeff Hughes. Irwin spoke to Jeff about a few things including the difficulty of retaining pharmacy graduates in the profession and recruiting them for higher degrees due to 'leakage' to other higher paying jobs. He also asked Jeff about exactly what he *was* wearing when presented with his PSA Excellence award Gold Medal back at PAC in 2004.

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Poll: Sick leave certificates : 29/08/2007 :

With the current outbreak of influenza around the country and the usual batch of winter colds AusPharm has mail from people who are being asked to provide sick leave certificates. AusPharm believes that PSA's advice (via PDL) not to issue them until issues of indemnity (amongst others) are sorted out remains in place.

What is actually happening in pharmacies? Leaving aside the issue, for now, of whether or not you are providing them, are you being asked to provide "Sick leave certificates"? Please let us know in this week's AusPharm poll below.

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Images of PAC 2007 : 28/08/2007 :

AusPharm's roving photographer, Bill Arnold, was on the spot at PAC 2007 in Melbourne last weekend.

Pictured from left to right are PSA National president Brian Grogan, the three winners of the PSA Excellence awards, Professor Lloyd Sanson, Professor Greg Peterson and Aaron D'Souza and Symbion Pharmacy's Patrick Davies.

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SHPA calls for greater collaboration from pharmacy bodies : 28/08/2007 :

The Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA) says that it is time to end the 'government blame game' and to reduce the many funding 'silos' within our health system.

This is in response to recent comments by the Joint National Professional Practice Committee (JNPPC), made up of PSA and Guild representatives, whose role it is to implement the Professional Practice programs funded under the Fourth Community Pharmacy Agreement (CPA).

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Make that Davies not Cook : 28/08/2007 :

AusPharm st*ffed up yesterday when a photo captions in one of our stories had it that one those shown was 'Symbion Pharmacy CEO Patrick Cook'.

This was incorrect - it was, of course, Patrick Davies, General Manager of Pharmacy Services for Symbion.

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PSA Excellence Awards presented at PAC 2007 : 27/08/2007 :

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia recognised their stars of 2007 at the Pharmacy Australia Congress (PAC) opening ceremony on Friday afternoon, celebrating 150 years of Pharmacy as a Profession in Australia.

Recipients of the 2007 awards sponsored by Symbion Pharmacy Services were: Young Pharmacist of the Year, Aaron D'Souza from Queensland; Pharmacist of the Year, Professor Gregory Peterson of the University of Tasmania; and the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award was bestowed upon Professor Lloyd Sansom AO.

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Time for pharmacy to move on : 27/08/2007 :

In a presentation to delegates at the Pharmacy Australian Congress last weekend Industry commentator Bruce Annabel urged pharmacists to move on from their 'old' ways of selling unprofitable but traditional pharmacy lines such as gifts and toiletries.

Bruce said that, instead, pharmacies should be implementing the range of cognitive services now available in some cases (eg HMRs and RMMRs) and soon to be available in others (eg asthma and diabetes disease state management programs, medication profiling and dose administation aids assistance).

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Price promotion of schedule 3 medicines : 27/08/2007 :

A 'lister sent along the promo below with the comment: "Aren't Xeni*al & N*rofen plus 48 S3?"

AusPharm assumes he is suggesting that because these are schedule 3 medicines it is inappropriate for them to be price promoted. This is certainly our understanding of things. To check on this, we sent the ad along to some Pharmacy Board contacts and this is what we got back.

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Job of the week: AusPharm assistant editor
: 27/08/2007 :

Want to join the team producing the most exciting publications in Australian pharmacy?

AusPharm is looking for an Assistant Editor to help us put together the daily (e)news and to assist in the production of our websites. You will get to work with a team of highly motivated and skilled individuals as we work to get the (e)news out each day. This is a part time position at about 20 hours a week initially.

Interested? Click here for more information.

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PAC 2007 kicks off with Health Industry Forum : 24/08/2007 :

The Pharmacy Australia Congress 2007 opened in Melbourne yesterday with a Health Industry Forum convened by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia and adeptly chaired by The Hon Dr Michael Wooldridge.

Introducing the day, Dr Wooldridge reflected upon his time as Minister for Health and reminded the audience that much goes right in Australia's health system. That while it is human nature to focus on what goes wrong in health, there is no better country in the world in which to be if you happen to be sick.

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Trust, service and advice: 'Ask your pharmacist' : 24/08/2007 :

A major media campaign, to support and advance the perceptions of community pharmacy, will commence early in September. The campaign will include national television advertising, as well as extensive public relations activities.

The aim of the campaign is to create a clearer understanding of the broader healthcare role of community pharmacy, along with the benefits of accessibility and quality via the current retail and ownership model. It will build on the strong existing reputation of community pharmacy and the high levels of trust the public holds for the profession, including the inherent values of "trust", "service" and "advice".

The campaign heroes the Guild's Gold Cross Logo and features a strong consumer call to action, "Ask your pharmacist".

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Poll results: Do you understand your PBS reconciliation statements? : 24/08/2007 :

This week's poll asked 'listers whether they understood the PBS reconciliation statements provided to them by Medicare Australia. AusPharm had a gut feeling that the results were going to be what they are.

There would seem to be a need to either change these so that they are more easily understood or, alternatively, to explain them to pharmacists.

Over to you Medicare Australia

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Get to Know Your Medicines by Asking Your Pharmacist : 23/08/2007 :

A key component of the National Prescribing Services' (NPS) Get to Know Your Medicines campaign, launched earlier this week, is the release of a Talking with your doctor or pharmacist fact sheet, which urges patients to talk to their pharmacist and doctor to learn more about their medicines and empower them to play a more active role in their own healthcare.

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Symbion Health announces 2007 full year results : 23/08/2007 :

Symbion Health Limited announced its 2007 full year results on Wednesday 22 August. The results, as reported by Symbion, are here. The company posted a net profit result of $91.4 million compared to a previous forecast of $97.7 million for the 2007 financial year. The result compares to last year's loss of $6.1 million.

For more information, visit the AusPharm In the News section.

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