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AusPharm news

More pharmacy snaps from Bill Arnold in Israel : 09/05/2007 :

This pharmacy is in Bet Shan (Beth Shean in some maps). And the left side window? Bach flower remedy and 4-3-2-1. World wide popularity!

The right window is the specials.... Bank Leumi, one of the big 2 has just bought 20% of Super Pharm and they seem to be spreading.

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The AusPharm community as a (collective) donator to worthy causes? : 09/05/2007 :

On receiving notification last week that they had won one of the three Willach poetry prizes, a 'lister emailed AusPharm: "What a surprise - I'll be giving the prize to the Red Shield appeal for which I also do a door knock run on the 20th May."

This got AusPharm thinking......... A number of times over the years the idea has been floated that the AusPharm community might collectively contribute to a worthy cause. Long term 'listers may recall that, back in 2001, we did actually raise $245 to help a fellow whose violin had been stolen obtain a new one.

The technology now exists to make the collection of donations a relatively simple matter (point and click). What do you think? Is this a good idea? Would you be prepared to donate small amounts of money through AusPharm ($10 or more) to worthy causes from time to time? Please let us know what you think by clicking the link below to post a comment AND by participating in this week's AusPharm poll below.

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Priceline Pharmacy Post of the month
: 09/05/2007 :

The Priceline Pharmacy Post of the Month for April 2007 has been won by Bill Suen for his post of April 30 that formed part of the most recent round of discussion on Xe*ic*l. Bill wrote in part:


"If the pharmacy profession really thinks that orlistat warrants close professional supervision on its use and should only be supplied to certain group of people due to safety concern, then the same profession should not lobby for any direct to consumer advertising. On the other hand, if the product is suitable for direct to consumer advertising and should be widely available, the profession should recommend the products to be listed as S2 or even an open seller. We cannot and should not have it both ways!! "

Bill'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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No surprises for pharmacy in Budget 2007 : 09/05/2007 :

As expected, there were no surprises for pharmacy in Budget 2007. The Dept of Health and Ageing Budget Papers do, however, make some comments about the 4th Agreement and the PBS Reforms.

They can be read here.

The Pharmacy Guild welcomed the Federal Government's health initiatives in the budget and the confirmation that the PBS is growing at 'a very sustainable' 1.5% per annum. This is an historically low rate of growth in the PBS's 59 year history.

"As custodians of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, pharmacy should be commended for helping to contain the costs of the PBS. This rate of growth means that the industry can now look forward to a period of stability and certainty," said National President, Kos Sclavos.

The Guild's comprehensive budget analysis is on the Guild's home page, here.

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The Age on PBS reforms : 08/05/2007 :


'Listers might be interested to read todays Age opinion piece by former ALP health policy adviser Dr Lesley Russell.

"Despite the far-reaching ramifications of this complicated restructuring of the PBS, a guide to the reforms was not available to industry and pharmacy stakeholders until March, and they had to wait until last Friday for a briefing on the legislation and lists of the new formulas. There has been no attempt to explain the package to the public." .....

...."The big winners, at least in the short term, are pharmacists. They receive a package of increased fees, mark-ups and incentives worth $1.1 billion over four years as compensation for losing hidden discounts, which were not handed on to patients or the Government, on generic medicines."

The Age article is here.

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Dunlevy gets it wrong says Guild : 07/05/2007 :


Last Friday's Sydney Telegraph ran a story from Sue Dunlevy ("Costs of scripts to rise by $22") in which she claimed that: "PATIENTS may have to pay more than $50 per script for commonly prescribed medicines under pharmacy changes set to save the Government $3 billion."

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Passing of ACT Pharmacy Legend, Patrick J. Develin : 07/05/2007 :

The ACT's 'father of pharmacy' and unofficial mayor of Canberra's Civic Centre, Patrick Develin, died on Saturday 28 April 2007 of colon cancer at the age of 75. Mr Develin was farewelled by family, his pharmacy family and many friends at St. Christopher's Cathedral in Forrest last Thursday.

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2,000 pharmacies register for PBS online - 3,000 still to do so : 07/05/2007 :

The Guild and Medicare Australia jointly announced last week that 2,000 pharmacies had now registered for PBS online. According to Guild National President Kos Sclavos:

"This is a crucial time for community pharmacy, as our aim is to get as many pharmacies as possible online by 1 July 2007. Once connectivity is achieved nationally, many other benefits will flow in the areas of patient safety, reducing hoarding, and reducing medicine misadventure."

AusPharm understands that there are 2200 pharmacies online now and around another 900 who have had their applications processed but are not yet online.

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Wanted: Australia's Top Pharmacists : 07/05/2007 :

Do you know a high-achieving pharmacist who deserves national recognition? Then PSA wants you to nominate them for its 2007 PSA Excellence Awards.

Nominations are invited for three award categories: Pharmacist of the Year (Gold Medal), Young Pharmacist of the Year (Silver Medal) and the newly established PSA Lifetime Achievement Award.

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Pharmacist wages s*ck : 06/05/2007 :

This week's poll asked 'listers to tell us whether they thought there had been any movement in (capital city) pharmacist wages in the last two years. Remembering that we are talking perceptions not hard data here the result still paints a bleak picture (if you're an employee).

If you consider 'not moved' as an actual decline fully 77% of respondents seem to be telling us that wages have dropped in real terms. By way of a real life example, in Hobart the going rate for a locum is about $35/hr. AusPharm can remember getting $26/hr in Hobart in the early 1990s. Or as Sean Alcorn wrote in his post on this today "....No wage rise in 8+ years".

What has caused the huge drop in real terms wages?

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More on down scheduling pheny*ephr*ne : 04/05/2007 :



AusPharm thinks Wendy Morton hit the nail on the head in her AusPharmList post on Wednesday when she suggested that the NDPSC application to down schedule pheny*ephr*ne was likely lodged by Reckitts.

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Colin Wood takes the Willach prize : 04/05/2007 :

Tasmanian community pharmacist Colin Wood has taken out first prize in the Willach poetry competition. His poem took the eye of the judging panel made up of Willach CEO Mark Bouw and some members of the AusPharm editorial group.

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Poll results: pharmacy will vote for Coalition : 04/05/2007 :



This week's poll results have it that 'listers will vote in a quite different way to that predicted by the pollsters. AusPharm's straw poll has the Coalition receiving 51% of the vote compared to the ALP's 36% (13% undecided). The latest Morgan Poll has The ALP at 59.5% and the

Why is pharmacy looking to vote against the norm? Are pharmacists a conservative bunch? Has the Coalition looked after pharmacy and therefore people don't want a change?

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Pharmacy logs on : 04/05/2007 :

The vast majority of community pharmacies in Australia have now signed up for PBS Online. As of late last week 3,145 pharmacies were online, with another 1439 registered to join up. It is expected that 95% of pharmacies will be online by the commencement date for the 40c a script subsidy of July 1.

"The Pharmacy Guild is very pleased to see its members embrace PBS Online so enthusiastically," National President of the Guild, Kos Sclavos (pictured at left), said. "We only marked the 2000th PBS Online registration earlier this month, so since then there has been an explosion in interest."

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Bill's in Israel now (on his way to the PSA Refresher Course in Spain) : 03/05/2007 :



I can't compete with a journey through Asia , but, briefly, here are a couple of pharmacy snaps from Jerusalem. Surprisingly, it is called ..... SUPER PHARM.

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Tassie pharmacists, GPs and Health Dept do it together on 'flu : 03/05/2007 :



Every year in Australia, 1500 people die as a result of complications from seasonal influenza, and 15,000 people are admitted to hospital. Should an entirely new human flu virus develop it could cause an influenza pandemic, with even more severe illness and affecting more people and causing even more deaths.

In a terrific example of collaborative health promotion the Tasmanian Branch of the Pharmacy Guild, the PSA, General Practice Tasmania and the Tasmanian Government's Department of Health and Human Services have jointly developed repeat prescription folders which include information about influenza and some common sense tips on 'Simple ways to stop 'flu'.

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Ethical Complementary Medicines? : 02/05/2007 :

Work is underway in Australia to establish a complementary medicines industry group to be called 'Ethical Complementary Medicines'. It is proposed that the group's membership will be open to the producers of natural medicines for which solid scientific research on both safety and efficacy can be produced and to other individuals who have an interest in the field.

Membership may also be open to companies that may not be able to produce such evidence immediately, but have sponsored current or as-yet-unpublished clinical trials to obtain that research.

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More pharmacy wholesaler action : 02/05/2007 :

Many 'listers will have seen yesterday's news that Symbion has received a takeover offer from a consortium made up of Healthscope, Ironbridge Capital and Archer Capital. According to Symbion, the offer is "incomplete and non-binding". The story is covered extensively in today's mainstream media and there are links to these stories in todays AusPharm 'In the News' section.

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Who'll get your vote in the federal election? : 02/05/2007 :

Three weeks ago we asked 'listers who they thought would win the federal election due later this year. The result was 44%:38% Coalition/ALP with 16% undecided.

We seem to be in full election mode already even though we are probably still 6 months out from polling day. Who'll get your vote? Please let us know in our AusPharm poll today.

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PSA members vote for a single, united, national organisation : 02/05/2007 :

Members of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia endorsed the creation of a single, unified national Society by voting to accept a new National Constitution at the PSA's Annual General Meeting held in Sydney on Monday night. The new constitution was adopted without dissent. PSA’s Branches will now nominate their representatives to an interim board, which will finalise the transitional arrangements. More information is available at the PSA website.

PSA National President Brian Grogan (pictured at right) said: "A truly national structure will greatly assist PSA in developing the skills of its members to keep pace with the changing nature of health-care provision. With PSA functioning as a single entity, there will be more efficient use of resources and greater and more effective coordination of activity."

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