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AusPharm news

EBOS wins NSW hospital supply distribution contract : 21/01/2015 :

EBOS Group company Onelink has been awarded a contract by the New South Wales Government to warehouse and distribute medical consumables to all public hospitals in NSW.

A new purpose built distribution facility will be built in Western Sydney within the next six months as part of the project.

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Vic Guild welcomes whooping cough vaccine for parents : 21/01/2015 :

The Victorian Branch of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia has welcomed the announcement by the new Victorian Labor government that it is to reintroduce the free vaccination program of whooping cough for expectant parents and parents of newborns after a 58% increase in the number of cases of the disease last year compared to 2013.

President of the Victorian Branch of the Guild, Anthony Tassone, commended the move and pointed to the Queensland Pharmacists Immunisation Pilot which extended its scope in mid-2014 to include whooping cough vaccination as recognition of a greater role pharmacists can play.

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Industry wide support for labelling changes : 21/01/2015 :

Australia's peak pharmacy groups have agreed on changes that should be made to the labelling / packaging of prescription medicines.

In submissions to the Therapeutic Goods Administration's 2014 consultation on Medicine labelling, the Pharmacy Guild, PSA, PDL, PPA and the Pharmacy Board have all argued for a minimum mandated space on prescription medicine packaging for dispensing labels.

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US discussion paper canvasses expanded roles for pharmacists : 20/01/2015 :

Echoing recent Australian experience, a new US discussion paper has flagged the possibility of ‘better integrating pharmacists into the health care system to allow them to practice to the full scope of their profession’.

The paper - The Expanding Role of Pharmacists in a Transformed Health Care System - acknowledges that pharmacists' roles are evolving beyond dispensing medication ‘to providing direct care to patients as part of an integrated team of health care providers’.

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More bills that aren't : 20/01/2015 :

Twice recently, we've reported on an ACCC investigation of a company called Findchemist who, according to reports, have been sending pharmacies 'Renewal Advices' even though they haven't engaged their services. "It looks exactly like a common bill with account number, date of payment, overdue amount etc."

The ACCC says it is investigating Findchemist 'because the overall impression created by the solicitation is potentially misleading and may lead businesses into error.'

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Feedback sought on review of pharmacist competency standards : 20/01/2015 :

The  pharmacy profession’s competency standards are being reviewed through the Pharmacy Practitioner Development Committee (PPDC), a profession-wide collaborative forum of 11 pharmacy organisations.

Late last year the PPDC appointed the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) to undertake work to help inform the review of the National competency standards framework for pharmacists in Australia.

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February 2015 PBS schedule : 19/01/2015 :

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: Chemoprevention and Non-melanoma Skin Cancer : 19/01/2015 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Chemoprevention and Non-melanoma Skin Cancer.

"Non-melanoma Skin Cancer (NMSC) is the most common cancer worldwide and accounts for 96% of all skin cancers, of which basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) are the vast majority, in a ratio of 4:1. In organ transplant recipients, immunosuppression inverts this proportion and the incidence of SCC risk can increase by 60 to 100 times. Surgery is the most common form of therapy for NMSC and sun protection measures should be recommended to all patients, but for those deemed to be high-risk, additional preventative measures may be warranted. "

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

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Guild: pharmacy can contribute to a more sustainable Medicare : 19/01/2015 :

Any solutions to ensure the future sustainability of Medicare must better utilise Australia’s 5,450 strong community pharmacy network to deliver better and more cost-effective health outcomes says the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.

The Guild yesterday foreshadowed moves to use Minister Sussan Ley’s commitment to consultation on a more sustainable Medicare to advocate for an array of enhanced pharmacy services it says will make the health system more affordable and more accessible for consumers.

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ACCC to investigate FINDCHEMIST - update : 19/01/2015 :

Earlier this month we reported that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) had taken an interest in the activities of the company Findchemist. Findchemist is an online pharmacy directory which describes itself as 'the most comprehensive directory for finding your selected chemist or pharmacy in your local area'.

The company first came to the attention of 'listers in November 2014 when Robert Laird said it had sent him a 'Renewal Advice' even though he had never engaged their services. "It looks exactly like a common bill with account number, date of payment, overdue amount etc," he wrote at the time.

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ASMI announces its Committee of Management : 19/01/2015 :

The makeup of the Australian Self Medication Industry's (ASMI) Committee of Management for 2015 was announced on Friday. It will be headed, once again, by Bayer’s Mark Sargent.

Commenting on the new group, ASMI Executive Director, Dr Deon Schoombie said “We have a very talented and strong Committee of Management who will be driving an ambitious advocacy program in 2015. I’m greatly looking forward to working with them in the year ahead.”

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PSA15 registrations open : 19/01/2015 :

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia has announced that registrations for its unique new conference concept, PSA15: Leading Pharmacy Innovation, are now open.  

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Australian Pharmacy Council leaves paper testing behind : 16/01/2015 :

From March 2015, the Australian Pharmacy Council (APC) will complete its move to computer-based testing for all of its examinations with the first computer-based delivery of its Knowledge Assessment of Pharmaceutical Sciences (KAPS) examination.

The KAPS examination is the last of its 4 written examinations to be moved to computer-based testing. The examination, which forms part of the assessment process for pharmacists trained in countries outside of the UK, the USA, Canada and Ireland, is delivered in Australia and 20 other countries around the globe.

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Majority of pharmacists believe penalty rates for Sundays, public holidays about right : 16/01/2015 :

A clear majority (57%) of those voting in this week's AusPharm poll believe the double time wages penalty rate that applies to community pharmacy employee pharmacists on Sundays and public holidays is 'about right'.

Unsurprisingly, this view is much more prevalent amongst employees and non community pharmacy pharmacists (65%) than owner pharmacists (43%).

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Oral diclofenac reverts to prescription only status in UK : 16/01/2015 :

Oral diclofenac products have been reclassified as prescription only in the UK due to their adverse cardiac event profile. Topical products such as gels, however, will remain available for purchase from pharmacies.

In announcing the decision this week, UK regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), said diclofenac is associated with a small but increased risk of serious cardiac side effects in some patients, particularly if used at high doses and for long-term treatment.

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Old uses for old drugs : 15/01/2015 :

Here's a couple of 1950's magazine ads for a drug still in use (just), dexa*phetam*ne.

The ad on the left promotes its use as an appetite suppressant, the one on the right as an anti-depressant. Click either image to see a larger version.

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SA pharmacists to deliver flu vaccinations in 2015 : 14/01/2015 :

South Australia has become the third state to authorise pharmacists to directly administer flu vaccines.

The move - to begin in time for the 2015 flu season - follows the successful 2014 Queensland trial which saw 11,000 people vaccinated over a five month period.

SA Health Minister Jack Snelling said enabling pharmacists to administer influenza vaccinations would help increase the immunity of the entire community.

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NPS continues to push antibiotic resistance message : 14/01/2015 :

Following news this week of the discovery of a new antibiotic (teixobactin), NPS MedicineWise has restated its warning that antibiotic resistance in Australia remains a serious health problem requiring a co-ordinated effort to address from both consumers and health professionals, including pharmacists.

Dr Lynn Weekes, NPS MedicineWise CEO says that despite the discovery, it could be many years before teixobactin will be available.

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Poll: are the existing weekend / public holiday penalty rates in community pharmacy about right? : 14/01/2015 :

In the context of Fair Work Australia's Review of Modern Awards, there is spirited debate in pharmacy circles about whether the penalty rates that apply in community pharmacy on Sundays (double time) and public holidays (double time) are fair and reasonable in 2015.

The Pharmacy Guild believes they are not, saying they threaten the viability of some pharmacies. Unsurprisingly, employee pharmacist union, Professional Pharmacists Australia, says it will oppose any moves to reduce them.

What do you think? Is double time about right for penalty rates in community pharmacies on Sundays and public holidays or should this change?

Please let us have your view by voting in this week's AusPharm poll.

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Graduate oversupply, wages remain main pharmacy student concerns : 14/01/2015 :

For the fourth year in a row, graduate oversupply, discount model pharmacies and low wages have been found to be the top concerns for Australian pharmacy students.

The findings came in the recent National Pharmacy Student Survey (NPSS), which surveyed 833 pharmacy students from 19 universities around Australia.

Commenting on the survey findings yesterday, National Australian Pharmacy Students’ Association’s (NAPSA) President Sam Turner said the results should be of great concern to the industry.

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