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AusPharm news

Poll: 150-200 scripts a day then get another pharmacist : 13/06/2007 :

'Listers will have seen yesterday's post from Peter Allen reporting that the Victorian Pharmacy Board is planning to introduce limits on the number of prescriptions pharmacists may dispense in a day. AusPharm understands that the Vic Board's plans relate more to guidelines than hard requirements. As it happens the Tasmanian Pharmacy Board has issued advice on this recently. This was one of the most canvassed issues on AusPharmList last year with more than 20 posts following AusPharm's publication of Ron Batagol's Churning 'em out like sausages feature.

What, if anything has changed since then? Is setting in place guidelines for upper limits a good idea? Please let us know what you think by voting in this week's poll below.

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Three pharmacists get gongs in Queen's Birthday Honour's List : 12/06/2007 :

Three pharmacists were honoured in the Queen's Birthday Honour's list announced yesterday.

Warwick Wilkinson, from Mosman in NSW, was made an Officer of the Order of Australia and Simon Appel, from Cheltenham in Victoria and Mary Magee from Ashgrove in Queensland both received a Medal of the Order of Australia.

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More Stil*ox on Channel 9's Sunday Program : 12/06/2007 :

Channel 9's Sunday Program ran a follow up story on Stiln*x over the weekend.


One of the outcomes of the recent publicity on Stiln*x has been the updating of the CMI to include new warnings. Accordingly, pharmacists should at present be giving out CMIs to all patients receiving zolpidem products.

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NPS launches Medicine Update - a new information resource for patients : 12/06/2007 :

The National prescribing Service (NPS) has just launched a new online resource for consumers called Medicine Update.

When health professionals have questions about new PBS listings, many turn to NPS RADAR, an independent review of new medicines from the National Prescribing Service Limited (NPS). Now Medicine Update, a new publication from NPS, will help consumers to do the same thing.

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Results of PBS online poll : 08/06/2007 :

This week's poll asked people to tell us how they were faring with PBS online now that it is a reality for most pharmacies.

Our results and this week's discussion on AusPharmList (here and here) suggest that, on the whole, people are coming to terms with it well. Only 8% of respondents selected the 'pain in the ar*e option. AusPharm wonders to what extent factors like the reliability of the internet connection and the dispensing software being used is influencing people's perceptions.

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Guild President Kos Sclavos and Medicare Australia PBS Manager David Hancock on '01' : 08/06/2007 :

There has been much discussion on AusPharmList this week on the imminent cessation of the '01' override facility in pharmacy dispensing software. Pharmacists are able, at least until June 30, to tick the '01' override box when presented with a seemingly valid entitlement card, despite a PBS online rejection, thus allowing affected patients to receive PBS prescriptions at the concessional rate. The ability for pharmacists to override a PBS Online rejection will disappear on July 1, 2007.

Last night AusPharm received the advice for pharmacists below from Guild National President Kos Sclavos. Included in it are a range of Medicare Australia resources that pharmacists will find useful come July 1. There is also a letter from Medicare Australia Pharmaceutical Benefits Manager, David Hancock.

Kos's advice first:

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PSA goes in to bat for AME Line : 07/06/2007 :

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia National Vice-President Debbie Rigby said in a statement issued yesterday that it was important consumers remain able to directly report any adverse reactions to their medications.

"The current consumer-focused reporting service - the Adverse Medicines Events Line - has been instrumental in gauging the level of adverse reactions to medicines, including zolpidem - in the community....."

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FDA warns consumers of risks of pharmacy compounding : 06/06/2007 :

Late last week the US FDA published a consumer update alerting consumers to the 'special risks' of pharmacy compounding.


An FDA spokesperson said that the emergence over the past decade of firms with pharmacy licenses making and distributing unapproved new drugs in a way that's clearly outside the bounds of traditional pharmacy is of great concern.

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More bad news on black cohosh : 06/06/2007 :

Some 'listers will be aware that a recent RCT has again cast doubt on whether black cohosh is effective in relieving the symptoms of menopause. The current ADRAC bulletin, released last week, has more bad news.

ADRAC reports that up to the end of 2006, they had received 16 reports where an association between black cohosh and hepatotoxicity was suspected. Eleven were considered likely to be causally related to black cohosh and one was considered to be certainly related because of a recurrence of the reaction upon re-challenge.

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Poll: PBS online : 06/06/2007 :

Today's (e)news reports on the excellent takeup of PBS online among Australian pharmacies. By the time you read this it is likely that some 3,500 pharmacies will be conected to the PBS online network.

How are you finding it now it's a reality? Please let us know in this week's AusPharm poll below.

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AusPharm chats to AACP CEO Bill Kelly at ConPharm '07 : 06/06/2007 :

As we reported in yesterday's (e)news ConPharm '07, held on the Queensland Sunshine Coast late last week and over the weekend, was a runaway success with over 350 delegates in attendance.

At the conclusion of the the conference AusPharm spoke to member of the organising committee and Australian Association of Consultant Pharmacy CEO, Bill Kelly about the event and also about the planning for ConPharm '08.

To hear the interview click the picture of Bill at right. (456kb .mp3 file)

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ConPharm '07 a real blast! : 05/06/2007 :

ConPharm '07, held at the Hyatt Regenecy Coolum Resort on the Queensland Sunshine Coast over the weekend, was a runaway success. Over 300 delegates (pictured below) attended making it the biggest ConPharm ever. (Click the photo to see a larger, higher resolution version on the AusPharm website (743kb.) Watch this space over the next week or so for more on ConPharm '07 including interviews with industry luminaries Dr Lisa Nissen, Toni Riley, Bill Kelly and Gerard Stevens AND a photo essay and audio take from the excellent 'Theatre Sports' performance starring Jeff Hughes, Lisa Girle, Lisa Nissen and Geraldine Moses.

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Should nurses, pharmacists and physiotherapists be allowed to prescribe? : 04/06/2007 :

This issue is examined in an editorial in the June edition of Australian Prescriber by Emeritus Professor Anthony Smith from the Newcastle Mater Hospital and University of Newcastle.

Professor Smith looks at examples of extending prescribing rights to nurses in the UK, and compares them to the situation in Australia. He argues that there is support for extending prescribing to non-medical health professionals, especially in rural and remote areas not served adequately by doctors and pharmacists.

With respect to pharmacists he does, however, note that: "Retail pharmacists prescribe, dispense and sell so they have a potential conflict of interest. The sparse evidence that exists suggests that pharmacists - at least in the UK - do not make evidence-based recommendations about over-the-counter products."

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Poll results: recording S3s : 01/06/2007 :


The preamble to this week's polls noted that the requirements for labeling and recording the supply of schedule three medications varies from state to state and from pharmacy to pharmacy.

Our poll certainly showed that. There does seem, however, to be a promising trend towards record S3 supply with 37% of our 169 respondents recording all supply and 40% recording some supplies (mostly PSE we suspect).

AusPharm believes ALL S3 supplies should be recorded so that a complete patient record might be maintained for QUM purposes. We are, after all, not talking about ordinary items of commerce, are we?

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Bruce Annabel on the way forward : 30/05/2007 :

Pharmacy commentators have been telling pharmacy owners for years that they need to make fundamental changes to the way they do business if they are to survive into the '10s and beyond.

At the recent PSA Offshore Refresher Course in Spain Johnston Rorke's Bruce Annabel spoke to AusPharm's Bill Arnold about just this. ie about pharmacies becoming 'health solution providers'. Click on Bruce to hear his comments. (8 mb .mp3 file: 4mins 11 sec.)

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How do pharmacies deal with the supply of S3s? : 30/05/2007 :

Requirements for labeling and recording the supply of schedule three medications varies from state to state. They also vary from pharmacy to pharmacy.

Some pharmacies "dispense" all S3s as a regular script. On the other hand, some pharmacies have pre-printed labels +/- directions and an exercise book.

Please tell us what happens in your pharmacy by ticking the relevant box in the week's AusPharm online poll (below).

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Diabetes/obesity seminars for regional Victoria : 30/05/2007 :

A series of regional seminars on preventing and living with diabetes are being staged across during July to mark the 150th anniversary of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (Victorian Branch). The seminars are being delivered by PSA and Diabetes Australia around Diabetes Week 2007 in order to provide up to date advice about how to live with and prevent diabetes.

Six Degrees of Diabetes is about three men meeting in a pub: two have diabetes and the other does not want to know. Events change his mind.

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Symbion Board recommends acceptance of takeover offer : 30/05/2007 :

The Symbion Board yesterday recommended shareholders accept the latest takeover offer from Healthscope.

There is still a chance, however, that another bidder will emerge as there is a three week window of opportunity for other players to make a bid for the company. Links to all this morning's media coverage of this are in the AusPharm In the News section.

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Detailed nutritional information from apples to zucchini now available : 29/05/2007 :

Did you know that there are 24.9 grams of protein in every 100 grams of Vegemite; that a typical meat pie comprises 13.7 per cent fat; or a banana has about 340 milligrams of potassium in it? All this information is now available at your fingertips in NUTTAB 2006 Online on the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) web site.

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Eichorn's Practice Pearl 28-05-2007: CORRECTION : 29/05/2007 :

From a colleague:

"In reply to the pearl of Eichorn's remedy. Since when does 68 - 25 = 23?"

--------------------

Several possible spins come to mind. Chose one:

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