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AusPharm news

Granny 'racketeers' : 12/07/2007 :

Here's an interesting twist on the PBS Online rollout.

A 'lister reports that they have discovered that a good number of their aged care facility clients do NOT have valid pension cards.

"We have queried many many Medicare cards and then the pension cards that are coming back invalid and lo and behold we are getting 'oh, we sold the farm so we no longer have a pension' or 'we won lotto and no longer have a pension'. These little old granny racketeers have been at it for years and keeping us in the dark that they are no longer entitled to concessional PBS medicine - the shame of it all!"

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QCPP improvements announced : 12/07/2007 :

After feedback from QCPP member pharmacies, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia has conducted a review of the Qualiy Care Pharmacy Program. The changes made as a result of the review will significantly improve implementation support services, program fees and accreditation time frames.

The Guild will be offering a "Fast Track Program" to get pharmacies up and running with QCPP 2nd edition - these free workshops are in addition to the current implementation support provided and will commence from August 2007. The Guild will also be facilitating internet-based 'webinar' sessions where pharmacists are assisted to implement the paperless e-QCPP system.

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Magic Mouth Ulcer Gel' pharmacist's magic snuffed out : 11/07/2007 :

The Pharmacy Board of Victoria yesterday released its findings following its July 4 formal hearing into the professional conduct of Echuca pharmacist Robert Wesley Symons. 'Listers unfamiliar with the story so far may be interested to read relevant articles in the Herald Sun, yesterday's AusPharm editorial and the May 2004 findings from a related PBV formal hearing at which Mr Symons also appeared.

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Professional Practice Programs: Will your pharmacy be in? : 11/07/2007 :

Over the last week AusPharm has run a couple of news items about the new 4th Agreement funded Professional Practice Programs (Dose Administration Aids, Diabetes Disease State Management and Medication Profiling). We've also run an interview with Webstercare's Gerard Stevens and have a feature article on the Diabetes Program to come tomorrow from JR Pharmacy Service's Mark Nicholson.

These Professional Practice Programs are, without doubt, great initiatives as they fund professional pharmacy services independent of product supply. However, AusPharm wonders to what extent these programs and others like them will be taken up by the profession. Please tell us in this week's AusPharm poll (scroll down) what's likely to happen in the pharmacy you work in.

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Diabetes Medication Assistance Service to roll out soon : 11/07/2007 :

The development of the Fourth Agreement funded Diabetes Medication Assistance Service (DMAS) is progressing and on schedule to commence in September/October this year.

The DMAS will be carried out in two stages. In Stage 1, an Implementation Team will be engaged to further research and investigate methods to improve the uptake of the DMAS with community pharmacies and people with type 2 diabetes. Tenders for the implementation team closed on 27 June and notification of the successful applicant by the Department of Health and Ageing is expected in the near future.

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Broken link in yesterday's DAA interview with Gerard Stevens : 11/07/2007 :

In yesterday's interview with Gerard Stevens we provided an incorrect link to a Health Dept Q&A document.

The document is here: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/wcms/publishing.nsf/Content/ppsac-qa-daa

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Adverse Medicines Events Hotline (re)funded at the 11th hour : 10/07/2007 :

The Commonwealth Government stepped in yesterday and announced that they will provide funding to enable the services provided through the Adverse Medicines Events (AME) telephone line to continue for a further 12 months commencing August 1 2007. The Pharmacy Guild of Australia has funded the service over the last 12 months but this interim funding runs out on July 31.

Last night the AME's Geraldine Moses told AusPharm that: "We are extremely grateful to the Health Minister, Mr Tony Abbott, for recognising the valuable role that consumers play in postmarketing pharmacovigilance in agreeing to provide funding for the AME Line to continue."

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Gerard Stevens talks about the new Dose Administration Aids Program : 09/07/2007 :

At ConPharm '07 AusPharm spoke to Webstercare's Gerard Stevens about the new program. Webstercare are Australia's largest provider of DAAs and have been providing a range of DAA linked programs for almost 20 years now. Click the More..... link below to access the link to hear the interview (3.45 mins: 567kb mp3 file). More information on the program can be found by clicking here.

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Today's shock/horror story from News Ltd : 09/07/2007 :

Last week it was the HUN on 'Magic Medicine Misery'. Today it's the Sydney Telegraph with 'Cures killing hundreds', a report on the pitfalls of anti-psychotic meds. You can read all about it here.

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Guild calls for re-instatement of '01' code : 06/07/2007 :

Following 'significant' representations from members the Pharmacy Guild has called on Medicare Australia (MA) to re-instate the '01' override code for use when PBS online rejects a concessional entitlement despite the patient holding what appears to be a valid entitlement card.

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Priceline Pharmacy June Post of the month
: 05/07/2007 :

The Priceline Pharmacy Post of the Month for June 2007 has been won by Curtis Ruhnau for his post of June 6 that began the '01' thread. Mind you, it was a difficult choice this month with Geraldine Moses' post on zolpid*m and Christopher Morris's post on the different mechanisms of action of clopidogrel and warfarin both worthy of prizes too! Sadly, we only have one prize to offer each month.

Curtis's post can be read in full here. He wins $100 provided by our good friends at Priceline Pharmacy. AusPharm is grateful to Priceline Pharmacy for providing the support we need to run the Post of the month competition.

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Dose Administration Aids program on track for September Roll Out : 05/07/2007 :

The 4th Agreement funded Dose Administration Aids (DAA) Professional Services program is on track to commence pharmacy registration from September this year for Stage 1 of the program.

During Stage 1, community pharmacies will receive payments to provide evaluative data on DAA services provided to community based patients. This will inform the development of an appropriate service and payment model for Stage 2 of the program, currently anticipated to commence in July 2009. The Guild have advised that they will provide details on how to register in the near future.

Watch this space on Monday to hear an interview AusPharm recorded at ConPharm '07 with Webstercare's Gerard Stevens about the the DAA program .

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More on Monday's (and Tuesday's and Wednesday's) PBSOL outage : 05/07/2007 :

For those who haven't already seen it the memo below was faxed to pharmacies at about 7.30PM last night.

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Echuca pharmacist hits HUN front page
: 05/07/2007 :

"A PHARMACIST found to have contributed to the death of a disabled man a decade ago has now caused a woman to have a near-fatal allergic reaction and suspected stroke with a homemade "magic" potion." So reads the front page of this morning's Melbourne Herald Sun newspaper. Read all about it here.

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Poll: employee pharmacist wages : 04/07/2007 :

In the recent ABS Census 2006 thread on AusPharmList, started by Roy Stephenson, there has been some discussion about the adequacy of pharmacist employee wages and also about supply of pharmacist in the workplace around the country.

What's your experience, either as an employer or as an employee, firstly in the capital cities? Have pharmacist wages declined (in real terms) over the last two years in the capital cities? Please let us know what your sense of things is in this week's AusPharm poll.

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PBS back online: Medicare Australia apologies to pharmacists for interruption to online services : 04/07/2007 :

Many 'listers will already be aware that PBS Online came back up yesterday with reports to AusPharm of the actual times of service restoration varying from early yesterday to about 2PM yesterday.

According to Medicare Australia (MA) the PBS Online system experienced two problems - one on Sunday 1 July, and the other on Monday 2 July through to the early hours of Tuesday morning.

MA report that most serious of these was an outage affecting PBS Online commencing at 4pm on Monday 2 July, however reports to AusPharm suggest that the dramas started in earnest on Monday morning. MA say the system became operational again at 3AM on Tuesday morning.

Medicare Australia sent the advice below through to us late yesterday (click the More.... link) and we thank them for their efforts in keeping 'listers informed. It includes the following:

"Any prescriptions processed during the outage will be flagged in the system. They will be processed by Medicare Australia as though the pharmacy was operating offline. This means that prescriptions claimed during this period will be honoured according to the same rules which apply to CTS diskette processing."

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SIGMA forecasts current year profit decline : 04/07/2007 :

As is widely reported in today's press Sigma Pharmaceuticals says underlying net profit for this fiscal year will be below last year.

Sigma attributes this to the impact of the imposition of the 4th Agreement imposed Community Service Obligation which they (and the other major wholesalers) think is being unfairly distributed and to the decline in the prices they are achieving for their generic products. After the announcement yesterday SIGMA shares dropped big time (-18% or 37.5c at the end of day). This cut $358 million off the company's market value.

Links to the reports in today's press are in the 'In the News' section of today's (e)news.

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PBS Online has WORMS (Warnings Or Reject MessageS) : 03/07/2007 :

Every community pharmacist who worked yesterday would be only too aware that PBS Online was down for most of the day.



"When I was participating in the PBSOL trial I had many issues that I complained about. In correspondence I was assured that I was wrong, that PBSOL was ready for further roll-out, and to pull my head in and shut up as I had nothing to complain about. In return I responded that I hoped that by increasing the number of participants the true level of problems might be more clearly revealed."

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Vaccines reviewed in NPS RADAR : 02/07/2007 :

Vaccines for prevention of rotavirus-caused gastroenteritis and some types of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, which have been listed on the National Immunisation Program (NIP) are reviewed in the latest edition of NPS RADAR.

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Poll results: Free home delivery : 29/06/2007 :

This week's poll asked people to let us know what they do about deliveries in their pharmacies. The results are shown at right and demonstrate that deliveries are alive and well in pharmacies in Australia, in all their variants.

Surely there isn't another industry sector in which 60% of members provide *free* delivery services?

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