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AusPharm news

Health Minister sticks to the script on supermarket pharmacies : 21/04/2015 :

Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley has restated the Coalition government's opposition to supermarket ownership of pharmacies telling independent Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie 'there was no appetite in the Government’ for legislative changes that would allow this.

Minister Ley also told Mr Wilkie, during a meeting between the two in Canberra yesterday, that it was her personal view that 'pharmacies should not be opened in supermarkets'.

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May 2015 PBS schedule : 20/04/2015 :

Download the PBS schedule Summary of Changes

Download the PBS schedule

Download the PBS Efficient Funding of Chemotherapy Summary of Changes

Download the PBS Efficient Funding of Chemotherapy - Full Supplement

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RGH E‑Bulletin: Denosumab for hypercalcaemia of malignancy : 20/04/2015 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Denosumab for hypercalcaemia of malignancy.

"Hypercalcaemia of malignancy (HCM) is a common paraneoplastic syndrome, reported in up to 20% of cancer patients. Compared to non-malignant causes of hypercalcaemia, HCM tends to have a rapid onset and is more severe. Manifestations include skeletal pain, nephrolithiasis, abdominal discomfort, dehydration and altered mental state. Untreated, HCM can lead to renal impairment, coma and death."

Click here to read the bulletin in full. The E‑Bulletins are archived on the AusPharmList website here.

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New report recommends pharmacists be funded for mental health : 20/04/2015 :

The final report of the National Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services, released on Friday, has recommended that incentives be introduced to 'include pharmacists as key members of the mental health care team'.

The report proposes this be achieved by allocating 'a substantial percentage' of funds from both the 6th Community Pharmacy Agreement (6CPA) and from the existing General Practice Nurse Incentive Programme (PNIP). The fact that pharmacists are not already included in the expansive list of health professionals able to be funded through the PNIP, says the report, 'appears to reflect a typecasting of their role'.

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Some support for Harper 'thought bubble' : 17/04/2015 :

Despite being labelled a 'thought bubble' by the Pharmacy Guild, National Competition Review report author Professor Ian Harper's comment that pharmacy owners might be compensated for the loss of value their pharmacies would suffer in the event of pharmacy deregulation has been supported by more than a third of those voting in this week's AusPharm poll.

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Doctor groups line up in opposition to pharmacy vaccinations : 17/04/2015 :

United General Practice Australia (UGPA) - a group comprised of seven medical organisations - said yesterday that immunisation services provided in pharmacies poses serious risks to patients and hidden health system costs.

The group maintains that while integrating clinical pharmacists into the primary healthcare multidisciplinary team has merit, pharmacies are not an appropriate setting for the administration of vaccines.

UGPA claims that pharmacists are not trained to deal with the complexities that come with vaccination programs including appropriate counselling prior to administration and the management of potential adverse reactions including anaphylaxis.

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Buying medicines and medical devices over the Internet: TGA says beware : 16/04/2015 :

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has recently issued one of its regular safety alerts warning consumers to exercise great care if purchasing medicines over the Internet.

While the Internet can offer consumers a convenient way to access therapeutic goods, the TGA warns that it does not regulate products available on international websites are cannot vouch for their safety or efficacy).

It advises consumers to consult a health professional first and only purchase from pharmacies or suppliers located in Australia and then only if the site provides adequate contact details.

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Guild slams Harper 'thought bubble' : 16/04/2015 :

The Pharmacy Guild has slammed comments reportedly made by National Competition Review report author Professor Ian Harper that "there may be a case for compensating taxi drivers and pharmacy owners if laws are changed to allow new entrants."

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Five MIMS PSA Intern of the Year State Winners heading for PSA 15 : 15/04/2015 :

The five state winners of the MIMS PSA Intern of the Year awards will all be heading off to PSA15 at the end of July to see who gets the national prize of $4,000.00 for their future career development and continuing education.

Each of the state winners received a $2,000.00 grant to travel to and take part in the PSA15 event.

The MIMS PSA Intern of the Year award celebrates the achievements of exceptional interns in developing skills for their professional careers. In o14, engagement with their communities, to ensure they delivered relevant and needed services, was the basis of each winner’s outstanding contribution.

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Guild urges members to lobby pollies : 15/04/2015 :

Pharmacy Guild President George Tambassis has urged Guild members to tell their local Coalition Federal MP about how price disclosure is impacting their businesses, their staff, their opening hours and their patients.

In an email to members Mr Tambassis told Guild members that the Federal Government is about to start making the critical decisions on the Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement and that it was incumbent on all Guild members to get the message across that price disclosure is threatening the very viability of many pharmacies.

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Compensate pharmacy owners for loss of business value caused by deregulation? : 15/04/2015 :

Author of the recently published Review of National Competition Policy, Professor Ian Harper, has floated the idea of compensating pharmacy owners for the loss of capital value their businesses would suffer in the event pharmacy ownership and location rules were to be abolished, as recommended in the Review.

The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting Professor Harper as saying in Melbourne yesterday that "there may be a case for compensating taxi drivers and pharmacy owners if laws are changed to allow new entrants".

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Poll: do you support pharmacy deregulation if pharmacy owners are compensated for the loss of capital value their businesses would suffer? : 15/04/2015 :

Today's Sydney Morning Herald is reporting comments from National Competition Policy Review author, Professor Ian Harper, that there is a case for compensating pharmacy owners for the loss of capital value their businesses would suffer in the event pharmacy ownership and location rules were to be abolished.

Would you support deregulation of community pharmacy if appropriate compensation was paid to pharmacy owners?

Please let us know what you think by voting in today's AusPharm poll.

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Flutracking : 14/04/2015 :

Once again in 2015, the Hunter New England Local Health Network is running the Flutracking project.

The project tracks reports of people with influenza symptoms across Australia in order to monitor the spread of influenza (both routine seasonal and pandemic influenza) and monitor the severity of illness and protection provided by vaccination.

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Summary of 2015 flu vaccine variants, indications : 14/04/2015 :

The latest Medicines Safety Update, published early this month by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, contains a summary of the influenza vaccines that are available for 2015 and includes details of which ones are indicated for particular patient groups.

Also included in this Medicines Safety Update are articles about the need to monitor liver function in patients taking agomelatine and information about updates to the Prescribing Information for several NSAIDs, strengthening warnings about the cardiovascular risks associated with their use.

Read the April 2015 Medicines Safety Update here.

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30% drop in medicines exports since 2012 : 14/04/2015 :

New data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that Australian pharmaceutical exports declined by 18% to $2.9 billion in 2014 and by 30% since 2012, when they peaked at around $4.3 billion.

Commenting on the decline, Tim James, CEO of Medicines Australia – representing pharmaceutical manufacturers -  said his organisation was extremely disappointed.

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RGH E‑Bulletin: Monitoring for and prevention of acute opioid toxicities : 13/04/2015 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Monitoring for and prevention of acute opioid toxicities.

"In the acute setting, especially post-operatively, patients may be at risk of toxicity from opioids.  Elderly patients in particular may need to be started on low doses of opioids which are titrated gently upwards to desired benefit.  Numerous side effects can occur and while it is often presumed that opioid-naïve patients will be more sensitive, those patients who are already taking opioids have not necessarily developed tolerance to these effects. Some anaesthetists prefer that patients do not use long-acting opioids in the acute post-operative setting; however, there are differing approaches to the management of chronic pain patients already on long term opioids prior to surgery. "

Click here to read the bulletin in full. The E‑Bulletins are archived on the AusPharmList website here.

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Next stage of HDP project a 'game changer' : 13/04/2015 :

In an initiative described as a 'game changer' by Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) President, Grant Kardachi, eight companies have partnered with PSA to transform pharmacies into healthcare destinations.

The partnership will see PSA’s Health Destination Pharmacy (HDP) project move into its implementation stage later this year. HDP enables pharmacists to shift their practice to provide a stronger focus on consumer self-care, with improved pharmacist–consumer engagement and provision of a range of evidence-based minor ailment and professional pharmacy services.

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NSW latest state to allow pharmacist flu vaccination : 13/04/2015 :

The NSW Government’s decision to allow pharmacists to provide adult influenza vaccination services – made public over the weekend - is a significant step forward for health care in the State, says the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.

The move brings NSW into line with those other Australian jurisdictions (NT, SA and WA with a trial also underway in Qld) which have already taken the step.

"On the basis of the trial results in Queensland last year, this means thousands of NSW adults, who otherwise might not have sought vaccination, will now have the benefit of convenient and safe vaccination by pharmacists at their local pharmacy," said NSW Guild Branch President Paul Sinclair.

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Comp med industry calls for abolition of Complaints Resolution Panel : 10/04/2015 :

Peak body representing the interests of complementary medicine manufacturers, Complementary Medicines Australia, has called for the abolition of the Complaints Resolution Panel, the independent body that assesses complaints about advertising of complementary and other non prescription medicines.

The call came as part of a 'wish list' issued by CMA this week in response to the federal Government’s Expert Review of Medicines and Medical Devices Regulation.

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Pharmacists split on codeine move to Schedule 4 : 10/04/2015 :

The result of this week's AusPharm poll (n=260) shows that while just under half (47%) of those responding believe that non prescription codeine containing analgesics should remain in Schedule 3 just as many would like to see them either removed from the market altogether because there`s no evidence they work (20%) or upscheduled into Schedule 4 (28%).

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