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AusPharm news

Images from the PSA Offshore Conference : 28/05/2007 :

Pictured below are some of the speakers from the recent PSA Offshore Refresher Conference in Spain.

Many thanks to AusPharm's man on the spot, Bill Arnold.

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Poll results: data security : 25/05/2007 :


This week's poll had a very participation from 'listers with only 65 people registering a vote. However, our experience with these polls tells us that once we have 20 or so votes in the results rarely change so even a low 'voter turnout' should provide some guide as to how things sit.

Almost three quarters of respondents tols us that their defenses are 'adequate' or better. 17% say that their security management procedures need 'some work' and 9% of respondents admitted to poor (or no?) data security.

Seems to us that most people have their PCs reasonably well protected particularly when you consider that the threat level to pharmacy PCs is low.

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Pharmacy based 'screen media' slow to kick off : 24/05/2007 :

The trend towards using video based channels for promotion in Australian pharmacies is a little over one year old - and still hasn't quite grabbed hold in the marketplace.

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NPS supports Australia's future leaders in QUM : 23/05/2007 :

The National Prescribing Service Limited (NPS) is partnering with the National Health and Medical Research Council to offer a National Institute of Clinical Studies (NICS) Fellowship for a future leader in the uptake of evidence in the Quality Use of Medicines (QUM).

The successful NICS-NPS Quality Use of Medicines Fellow will have the opportunity to undertake a project that improves medicines use by implementing proven strategies and using QUM principles. The Fellow will also develop the knowledge, skills and networks to become a leader in overcoming implementation gaps for QUM.

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Pharmacy data security : 23/05/2007 :

Last week's news that there was disquiet in pharmacy circles about reps accessing data on dispensary computers saw a couple of emails arrive in the AusPharm inbox questioning whether the general level of data security in Australian pharmacies was up to scratch. (This issue has hit the mainstream media in a story by Sue Dunlevy in today's Sydney Telegraph - link in 'In the news' section below.)

Does your pharmacy have a firewall to prevent unauthorised access to your PC network? Do you have documented data security protocols? Are your data backup procedures robust? Are you compliant with QCPP Mk 2 P18 and T18? Please tell us how it is in your pharmacy (department) by ticking the relevant box in today's AusPharm poll.

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PSA conference draws to a close : 23/05/2007 :

The recent PSA Offshore Refresher Course held in Spain over the last week or so has now concluded. PSA Vice President Debbie Rigby spoke to AusPharm's Bill Arnold to prove a conference 'wrap'.

Click the photo of Debbie above to hear the interview (3 mb .mp3 file).

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Avandia increases heart attack risk
: 23/05/2007 :

This 'news' is all over the papers today and there are links to these stories in the AusPharm 'In the news' section.

For the facts you might do better to have a look at the FDA's Safety Alert or Information for Health Professionals.

The actual NEJM paper is here and the GSK response is here.

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Two more Spanish pharmacies, courtesy Bill Arnold : 22/05/2007 :

I encountered another two pharmacies on the other side of Las Ramblas, closer to the statue of Columbus. They are next door to each other but I did not enquire if they have the same owner. In the depths of one of them is a display of Durex products on the counter, an Homeopathy sign behind that, both under a raised bronze relief of the Last Supper. Each window would be hard to describe.

The left hand window of the other one has various Dr Scholls products on show but the right right hand window is a large poster for a topically applied botox variant to prevent wrinkles.

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Government announces 'Healthy Active Australia' grants program : 22/05/2007 :


The Commonwealth Government last week launched a new grants program and schools competition focused on preventing obesity and chronic disease. The $12 million 'Healthy Active Australia' community and schools program will provide grants of between $10,000 and $200,000 for local projects promoting healthy living among at-risk groups.

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PSA conference moves on to Barcelona: more from Bill Arnold : 21/05/2007 :

After today's lectures finished, I went to walk Las Ramblas, one of the best pedestrian walks in the world. And rediscovered some venerable pharmacies.

The first was established in 1916, is beautifully set out, and has a superb showcase at the rear with a great collection of beautiful bottles. The sets of drawers down either side at the rear are where all the prescription meds are kept. Required to be out of reach and out of sight of the public I was told. The products behind the pharmacist are our S3s, but whilst needing to be out of the reach of the public *are* able to be advertised on TV.

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Service, location both top price as customer motivators : 18/05/2007 :

This week's AusPharm poll asked 'listers what they though most motivated customers to choose a particular pharmacy. More than 40% of respondents told us that they thought both service (46%) and location (42%) were the most important issues for customers. Only 10% of respondents thought that price was the major motivator.

Why, then, are pharmacies so worried about discounters invading their turf?

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Reps accessing dispensary data causing angst : 17/05/2007 :

Late last week the Guild issued advice to its members that they have concerns about the way some drug company reps are accessing data on dispensary computers. While they made the point that much of what is occurring *is* above board, there may be issues about unsupervised access to the dispensary, what data is given, and about privacy considerations with respect to patient records.

AusPharm asked the Guild whether the Privacy Commissioner had been in touch. According to Michael Tatchell, The Guild's Director of Health Economics, the Guild has proactively given advice to members "is a response to member concerns and a need to remind members of the importance of the confidentiality of patient data. This is not a response to Privacy Commissioner concerns.....there have been none that I am aware of."

Kos Sclavos, the Guild's National President told AusPharm that he had received "a multitude of complaints from members recently. I've had calls from several pharmacists complaining about reps insisting on putting memory sticks into their dispensing computers.This is not on!"

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PSA Pharmacy Student of the Year award underway for 2007 : 16/05/2007 :


The 2007 PSA Alphapharm Pharmacy Student of the Year (PSOTY) competition is now underway. Aimed at final year pharmacy students, the PSA Pharmacy Student of the Year award has counselling as its focus.

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Punch up on Today Tonight (last night?) : 16/05/2007 :

The next *BIG THING*?

You have been warned.


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PhD scholarships available for pharmacy practise research : 15/05/2007 :

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Fourth Community Pharmacy Agreement Research and Development (R&D) Program are currently accepting applications for PhD scholarships in the area of community pharmacy practice.

These co-funded scholarships have been developed to ensure the sustainability of researchers in the area of community pharmacy practice, as well as to promote, support and fund pharmacy practice research on the basis of scientific excellence.

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Project STOP having an impact : 14/05/2007 :

Evidence is now available that Project STOP may be having a real impact on the amount of m*th available in the Australian marketplace.

Last Friday the MINISTER FOR JUSTICE AND CUSTOMS, David Johnston, released the findings of the Australian Crime Commission's latest annual Illicit Drug Data Report (IDDR). The report shows a a 23% reduction in the detection of illicit m*th labs in QLD in one year, this after 10 years of steady growth.

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PSA president Brian Grogan talks about Morocco attack : 14/05/2007 :

Just in from Bill Arnold in Spain is this interview with Brian Grogan describing the Morocco attack. Apologies for the poor sound quality; it was (obviously) recorded at the event's welcome reception.

Left click on the photo of Mr Grogan at the welcome reception to hear the interview. Right click to save. (Warning: large file 6mb .mp3)

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Donating to 'worthy' causes through AusPharm : 11/05/2007 :

Almost 3/4 of the respondents to this week's AusPharm poll told us that they would be prepared to donate money to 'worthy' causes as part of the AusPharm community. However, more than half of this group sounded the cautionary note that it would depend on what the 'worthy' cause was.

AusPharm is encouraged by this response and we will develop the idea further. In the meantime we would be very interested to know what causes 'listers see as 'worthy'. Please let us know by clicking the 'Post a comment' link below.

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Injured Australians on PSA Refresher tour recovering : 11/05/2007 :


Two Australians attending the PSA Offshore Refresher Course in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh have been attacked by a Moroccan man armed with machetes. Neither of the injured are pharmacists themselves, rather both have pharmacist partners.

Victorian John Parkinson suffered cuts to his head, wrist and stomach and Diana Knox, from NSW, suffered a broken arm and a slash wound. The two are expected to be released from hospital today (Friday). It is believed Ms Knox will fly to London after release from hospital, continuing her originally-planned itinerary. Mr Parkinson is expected to return directly to Australia.

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Zyprexa (R) - a neat dispensing trick : 10/05/2007 :

'Listers should be aware that for Zyprexa (R) scripts written after March 1st 2007, quantities approved are in multiples of 28 tablets, instead of the 30 tablets currently contained in the standard packaging.

For any magnanimous pharmacists or dispensary technicians who might be tempted to just send a patient home with a complete box of 30, AusPharm actively encourages you to reflect not only on the legality of supplying more of an S4 (Prescription Only) Medication than is prescribed, but also to do the math.

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