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AusPharm news

Important AusPharm(e)news housekeeping notice
**PLEASE READ**
: 01/05/2007 :

In recent times the AusPharm battle with sp*m filters has intensified. Last week AusPharm discovered that not a single issue of the (e)news had managed to penetrate BigPond's new member sp*m filtering service. This is not surprising as the (e)news is an ezine for pharmacists and the pharmacy industry and, as such, on most days it will contains words or phrases deemed to be offensive to the more aggressive sp*m filters out there.

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Phen*leph*ine containing 'Cold' tablets to go into grocery? : 01/05/2007 :

The next meeting of the National Drugs and Poisons Schedule Committee (NDPSC) will be held on 26-28 June 2007. As is the NDPSC's practice, substances to be considered by the NDPSC are open for public comment. There are at least two agenda items that may particularly interest community pharmacists.

The first is a proposal to deschedule products containing paracetamol and phen*leph*ine where the dose of paracetamol is 1g or less and the dose of phen*leph*ine (base) is 10mg or less. This would have the effect of allowing the introduction into grocery of a whole new batch of 'Cold' tablets containing phen*leph*ine and paracetamol. Who knows, we might even seen some 'name' brands amongst them.

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PSA to fund National Institute of Clinical Studies Fellowship for 2008 : 30/04/2007 :

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) has demonstrated its ongoing support for evidence-based practice by jointly sponsoring an NHMRC National Institute of Clinical Studies (NICS) Fellowship for 2008.

NICS is an institute of the National Health and Medical Research Council, and works to improve health care by getting health and medical research into practice. The aim of NICS fellowships is to develop future leaders in health care and support them in improving the uptake of evidence into day-to-day clinical practice.

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Bill's on his way to Spain : 30/04/2007 :

AusPharm's 'roving reporter' Bill Arnold has left our fair shores and is en route to Spain for the PSA Pharmacy Refresher Course. Bill sent along the three snaps below from Hong Kong. Bill will be sending along reports from Spain during the Course from May 12-20.

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Poll results: OTC cod*ine as part of Project STOP? : 27/04/2007 :




77% of respondents to this week's poll told us that the misuse of cod*ine based OTC analgesics in their community was 'a serious problem'. Nearly three quarters of these people thought that such products should be part of Project STOP. However, as Kos Sclavos has pointed out below, it would not be possible to include these products in STOP because of privacy concerns. The Guild has given an undertaking that there will be no 'scope creep' in STOP. ie there can be NO non PSE products added.

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The Ultimate Excite(ment): recall : 27/04/2007 :

This recall notice appeared in Wednesday's Herald Sun newspaper (and presumably in other newspapers around the country). It relates to two of Herbal Health International P/L's products Excite for Women and Ultimates for Men.

The recall notice was issued on the basis that the products were found on assay to contain 'an analogue of sil*ena*il'. 'Listers would know they would therefore pose a serious health risk to patients taking nitrates or who have some other medical conditions. It is a Class 1 recall, ie 'defects are potentially life-threatening or could cause a serious risk to health.'

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Auspharmacist.net.au (Pharmacist Relevant Sites) is 10 years old today! : 27/04/2007 :

In 1997 the Tasmanian branch of PSA decided to conduct a seminar titled 'Pharmaceutical Wonders of the Internet', in Hobart. Somebody mentioned that Tony Wiss was 'doing computer stuff' and could conduct it so I was 'volunteered'.

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Guild welcomes national registration system for pharmacists : 23/04/2007 :

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia has welcomed the recent Council of Australian Governments (COAG) announcement of a national registration and accreditation system for health professionals, including pharmacists.

"A national registration system will ensure that registered pharmacists can practise anywhere in Australia. It will increase efficiency, improve workforce mobility and achieve a significant reduction in the bureaucracy encountered by pharmacists when transferring from one State or Territory to another," Pharmacy Guild National President, Kos Sclavos, said.

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ASMI critical of pseu**eph**rine ban : 20/04/2007 :



In a predictable move the Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI), the industry body representing non-prescription consumer healthcare products, has issued a statement opposing a ban on the sale of pseu**eph**rine containing products.

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Poll results: Pharmacies should not sell homeopathic products : 20/04/2007 :



In this week's poll a good majority of 'listers told us that they thought pharmacies should NOT sell homeopathic products, with 61% agreeing with the statement above vs 29% disagreeing. I have to say, however, that AusPharm is not a little suspicious of these results.

The outcomes of our polls are usually very clear after the first 20 or 30 votes arrive however, in this week's poll there was a strong surge for a period of about two hours in votes not supporting the withdrawal of such products from pharmacies. Because we don't ask people to log in to vote, there is the potential to manipulate the results if sufficiently motivated. While we can't say for sure it is not impossible that this happened with this week's poll. AusPharm's 'feel' is that more like 80-85% of 'listers oppose the sale of homeopathic products in pharmacies.

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*Urgent* notice to all AusPharm poets : 19/04/2007 :

An alert 'lister was in touch yesterday to point out that in the notice about the Willach poetry competition in Tuesday's (e)news we did not mention the closing date. Entries must be with us by midnight on Tuesday May 1. We will announce the winners in the following Friday's (e)news (Friday May 4).

What we also neglected to mention is that the $1,000 in prize money will be split three ways with $500 going to the author of the best poem and $300 and $200 respectively to the second and third placegetters. We have to say that entries to date are slow in arriving so anyone submitting an entry would, at this stage, have a good chance of pocketing a prize.

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Should pharmacies sell homeopathic products? : 18/04/2007 :

This issue arose again on AusPharmList last week when Michael Khoo drew our attention to a case where a mother had attempted to treat an apparently severe allergic reaction in her child with homeopathic

That pharmacies sell these products (whose efficacy has, in the main, NOT been demonstrated) lends them some legitimacy as patients expect that what they buy from pharmacies will do what they claim to do. The PSA and others have spoken out publicly about pharmacies selling products for which little or no evidence of efficacy exists. Others defend the use of homeopathics saying that, by their very nature, they can't be tested in the usual way (double blind trials). What do you think? Please let us know in this week's AusPharm online poll.

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AMA does a quick about face on pseu**eph**rine : 18/04/2007 :

The AMA, through president Mukesh Haikerwal, softened their comments somewhat on the proposed pseu**eph**rine ban sometime yesterday. AusPharm wonders who had been providing Haikerwal with advice during the day.

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The Duchen touch : 17/04/2007 :

After events of the past few days, Macquarie Dictionary should surely expect nomination of the new verb "to duchen" as an entrant for the 2007 word of the year. The jury is still out on the definitive meaning of the word, but it will almost certainly convey an element of landing on one's feet.

Last Thursday, to great fanfare and accompanied by an unexpected trading halt, Sigma Pharmaceuticals Limited announced an expansion of its generic pipeline access through the Danish based Arrow Group ApS. Somewhere buried in the middle of all the exciting predictions of future growth however, notification that Duchen Holdings Pty Ltd, Paul Duchen and Scarlet Corporation - essentially the team that shot the "Arrow" into Sigma in the first place - are bailing out. And somehow neatly avoiding the Minimum Holding Obligations and voluntary escrow arrangements they committed to at the time of the Sigma/Arrow merger less than 18 months ago.

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Issues the same in the UK : 17/04/2007 :

The UK National Pharmacy Association (NPA) (read "Pharmacy Guild") - which represents the professional and commercial interests of the owners of some 11,000 community pharmacies in the UK - is dealing with the same issues in the UK that affect us here.

Here are two current examples (on PSE and S2s) that might interest 'listers.

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Pseu**eph**rine containing products to be banned? : 16/04/2007 :

'Listers might be interested to have a look at this story in today's Australian. Apparently a 'national working group of health and law-enforcement officials' is having a look at the viability of introducing a blanket ban on the sale of products containing pseu**eph**rine. According to Federal Ageing Minister Christopher Pyne: "It would present major issues but we'd need to weigh up as government policy the disadvantages and advantages of it."

According to the article "Up to 90 per cent of the pseu**eph**rine used in clandestine drug labs is estimated to have been diverted from community pharmacies." AusPharm wonders whether this is, in fact, a done deal and the release of this story is the first part of softening up process to prepare pharmacy for a ban.

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Sigma generic stable grows : 13/04/2007 :


Yesterday morning Sigma Pharmaceuticals wrote to the ASX and asked for trading in their shares to be suspended immediately. According to Sigma this was because they 'expect to make an announcement in relation to a significant development'. The ASX granted Sigma's request with trading to resume either on Monday April 16 or when the announcement is made.

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Listers unsure who will win 2007 election : 13/04/2007 :


This week's AusPharm poll asked people who they thought would win the federal election due last this year. While there was a slight leaning towards the ALP (44%) over the Coalition (38%) the large 'unsure' vote (18%) makes the whole thing quite uncertain, at least from the perspective of AusPharm members. While we encourage comment we will only accept election comments that relates specifically to pharmacy.

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New 4th agreement professional program information released : 12/04/2007 :

With the upcoming roll-out of several new professional programs and services under the 4th Community Pharmacy Agreement (CPA4), the CPA4's Professional Programs and Services Advisory Committee (PPSAC) has prepared information packages covering common questions and answers.

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PBAC 'Independent Review' process gets a run : 11/04/2007 :


Eli Lilly Australia's extended campaign to gain PBS listing for their osteoporosis drug teriparatide (Forteo) has suffered a serious setback, after an independent review of the company's four rejected submissions to the PBAC (Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee) found the clinical data contained in the submissions to be inadequate.

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