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AusPharm news

Marked decline in profession's feelings about pharmacy's future : 02/05/2014 :

66% of respondents to this week's AusPharm poll (n=321) told us they feel 'utterly depressed' about the future of pharmacy.

This is a marked increase on the 25% response obtained when we first ran the identical poll in 2006. In 2011 - also an identical poll - the 'utterly depressed' response rate was 44%.

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‘Love Your Lungs at 65 Years Young’ this Pneumonia Awareness Week : 02/05/2014 :

During this week's Pneumonia Awareness Week Lung Foundation Australia is urging Australians aged 65 and over who are considered ‘at-risk’ of contracting pneumonia, and those eligible for a five-year booster vaccine, to visit their doctor and have a pneumonia vaccine.

Pneumococcal vaccination is listed on the National Immunisation Program (NIP) and funded under Immunise Australia for all Australians aged 65 and over, with many eligible for a second vaccine five years following their first dose.

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NSW Health Care Complaints Commission issues public warning about AVN : 02/05/2014 :

The NSW Health Care Complaints Commission has issued a public warning about the activities of the Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network (AVN), formerly known as Australian Vaccination Network.

The Commission recently investigated whether information published and disseminated by AVN may be misleading or inaccurate.

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Commission of audit recommends community pharmacy deregulation : 02/05/2014 :

The National Commission of Audit has recommended opening up the pharmacy sector to competition, 'including through the deregulation of ownership and location rules'.

"Such reform would be expected to lead to more efficient delivery and the development of alternative retail models - such as pharmacists available to dispense medicines at supermarkets," says the report.

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AusPharm CPD: Peripheral Arterial Disease : 01/05/2014 :

The next in our 2014 series of continuing professional development activities is Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) by Angus Thomson.

"Ask a health professional or a patient about cardiovascular disease (CVD) and what will usually spring to their mind? Invariably it will be coronary heart or cerebrovascular disease in some shape or form, rarely will it be peripheral arterial disease (PAD)."

After completing this activity, pharmacists should be able to:

  • Describe the risk factors and epidemiology of Peripheral Arterial Disease
  • Identify patients presenting in the pharmacy with symptoms suggestive of Peripheral Arterial Disease
  • Recognise opportunities to optimise management of Cardiovascular Disease risk factors in Peripheral Arterial Disease.

Click here to do this Continuing Education activity. Or, if you prefer, you might like to take a look at our other CE activities here .

AusPharm gratefully acknowledges the financial support provided by the sponsors of our CE program, MIMS.

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API underlying profit up : 01/05/2014 :

Pharmacy wholesaler Australian Pharmaceutical Industries yesterday announced a statutory loss of $115 million for the 6 months ending 28 February 2014 following the impairment charges of $131 million it announced in April.

However, the company's underlying profit for 6 months was $16.2 million, up 29% on the prior corresponding period.

When it announced its assets writedowns the company said that some of them were the result of changes in accounting practices with one - a $52 million long term debt to the company from some pharmacies customers - having the possibility of being written back up in value later in the year.

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PSA Branch Committee elections results announced : 01/05/2014 :

A record number of Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) members voted in the Branch Committee elections which were declared last night.

National President of the PSA, Grant Kardachi, said the turn out reflected a growing desire by PSA members to have a greater say in the organisation and how it addressed the challenges facing the pharmacy profession.

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Board seeks input on compounding guidelines : 30/04/2014 :

The Pharmacy Board is seeking input from pharmacists and from members of the public on its review of compounding guidelines  and its draft Professional practice profile for pharmacists undertaking complex compounding.

The Board says it regards consultation as an important part of the its engagement with pharmacists, members of the public and other stakeholders and greatly values the feedback provided.

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New BP monitor also detects AF : 30/04/2014 :

A new blood pressure monitor, being supplied through pharmacies, also has the ability to detect atrial fibrillation (AF) in a patient.

AF and high blood pressure are the two greatest risk factors for stroke - an estimated 100,000 Australians are living with undiagnosed AF, which leaves them more than five times more likely to suffer a stroke than those with a normal heart beat.

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E-cigarette use sparks concerns from experts : 30/04/2014 :

Australian quit smoking experts are raising concerns at the level of usage of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), with recent research showing one in five Australian smokers has tried e-cigarettes and 7% are currently using them.

E-cigarettes are battery operated devices that create a fine vapour which usually contains nicotine. The vapour is inhaled into the lungs and is exhaled as a visible mist. The process of ‘vaping’ simulates a smoking experience.

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Poll: future of pharmacy : 30/04/2014 :

Every year or so, AusPharm runs a poll asking 'listers how they view 'the future of pharmacy'.

There's no mistaking that pharmacy and PBS costs remain under intense government scrutiny as it seeks to contain health costs - this despite the apparent success of PBS price disclosure policy. At the same time, there are ongoing attacks on the sector from health commentators who argue that reform is needed on community pharmacy ownership and location rules.

On the other hand, there are examples of pharmacists / pharmacies embracing innovative models of care who are doing well financially and, also, enjoying a high degree of professional satisfaction.

So, how do you view pharmacy's future right now? Please let us know by voting in this week's AusPharm poll.

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Australia bucks the type 1 diabetes trend : 29/04/2014 :

A new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) reveals that the rate of newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes has remained stable in Australia for over a decade. This is in contrast to many other countries where there has been an increase in the incidence (new cases) rate.

The report, Incidence of insulin-treated diabetes in Australia 2000-2011, shows that there were 2,367 new cases of type 1 diabetes in Australia in 2011, equating to 11 new cases per 100,000 people.

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Pharmacist registration standards under review : 29/04/2014 :

The Pharmacy Board is to review a number of pharmacist registration standards and guidelines and is seeking input from members of the profession and from the general public.

The Board says it regards consultation as an important part of the its engagement with pharmacists, members of the public and other stakeholders and greatly values the the feedback provided.

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RGH E‑Bulletin: QT interval prolongation and drugs : 28/04/2014 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is QT interval prolongation and drugs.

"The QT interval reflects the measurement of the duration of ventricular depolarization and repolarization and is measured in milliseconds (ms) on an electrocardiogram (ECG) from the Q-top (the beginning of the QRS complex) to the end of the T wave. The QT interval is dependent on heart rate, gender and age. Prolongation of the QT interval can result in a life threatening arrhythmia called Torsade de Pointes (TdP). Usually TdP is self-terminataing but it can cause ventricular fibrillation or rarely sustained ventricular tachycardia, resulting in dizziness, syncope, cardiac arrest and sometimes death."

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

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Medicines Partnership of Australia: no need for further PBS reform : 28/04/2014 :

As the 2014 federal budget draws closer and amidst speculation further PBS reform may be included, the Medicines Partnership of Australia has restated its position that no further PBS savings measures are required or justified.

The group points to the recent passage of the Simplified Price Disclosure legislation and says it 'assumes the upcoming Federal Budget will not include further changes to price disclosure which is already reaping the Government billions of dollars a year in reduced PBS reimbursement costs'.

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Strong interest in College Board spots : 28/04/2014 :

12 candidates have been nominated for the 5 Australian College of Pharmacy Board elections up for grabs in the current College Board election.

College President Trent Twomey said he was extremely gratified that there had been a substantial and enthusiastic level of interest by members in nominating for the College Board.

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Quilty: 'Community pharmacy is one of the least broken parts of the health system' : 28/04/2014 :

Pointing to the high levels of confidence and trust displayed towards community pharmacy, Pharmacy Guild Executive Director David Quilty has described community pharmacy as 'one of the least broken parts of the health system, let alone the wider economy'.

His comments stand in direct contrast to some health commentators who have repeatedly called for reform to pharmacy ownership and location rules.

 

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NPS: Residential aged care facilities well placed to improve antipsychotic use in dementia : 24/04/2014 :

NPS MedicineWise has welcomed the recommendations of the recently released Senate Committee report on the care of Australians living with dementia and is encouraging residential aged care facilities to tackle the overuse of antipsychotics medicines in people with behavioural or psychological problems associated with dementia.

NPS MedicineWise CEO Dr Lynn Weekes says that while there is sometimes a need for the use of psychotropic medicines like antipsychotics in residents with dementia, there is evidence to suggest instances where they are being used too often, for too long, and at doses higher than recommended or in potentially dangerous combinations with other medicines.

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Pharmacists all for generic labelling : 24/04/2014 :

Almost 9 out of 10 pharmacists (88%) voting in this week's AusPharm poll believe it should be mandatory for a drug's generic name to be featured on dispensing labels.

Of the remainder, 10% think featuring the generic name on the label should be an option but not mandatory with only 2% of respondents undecided.

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Accu-Chek Mobile meters recalled - potential for incorrect blood glucose results with ceftriaxone : 23/04/2014 :

Roche Diabetes Care, in consultation with the TGA, is undertaking a recall of its Accu-Chek Mobile glucose tests due to the potential for the antibiotic ceftriaxone to interfere with blood glucose test results. The purpose of the recall is to update the devices' labelling.

Ceftriaxone can interfere with the way the measurement is made and may lead to incorrectly low blood glucose readings.

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