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AusPharm news

RGH E‑Bulletin: Vitamin D update : 03/02/2014 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Vitamin D update.

"The use of Vitamin D supplementation has increased in recent times: it is now widely recognized that a significant proportion of people may have inadequate vitamin D serum concentrations, especially those living in residential care facilities, as well as people with dark skin or those who are homebound. An objective way to assess vitamin D status is through measuring the circulating 25 hydroxy-vitamin D concentration. Concentrations of less than 20–25 nmol/L reflect severe vitamin D deficiency, whereas concentrations of between 25 -40 nmol/L indicate bordering vitamin D deficiency."

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

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Priceline Pharmacy powers along : 31/01/2014 :

Wholesalers must be engaged in CPA6 negotiations

Speaking at the Australian Pharmaceutical Industries Annual General Meeting in Sydney yesterday, CEO Stephen Roche said he expected at least another 20 Priceline Pharmacy stores to open during 2014 on top of the 14 new stores opened during 2013.

He told those in attendance that, for the 21 weeks ending 25 January, the company had seen like to like front of store sales growth of 6.3 per cent and, including dispensary for the same period, like-for-like growth of 4.6 per cent.

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Another report confirms PBS costs under control : 31/01/2014 :

The release yesterday of a Productivity Commission report on the delivery of Government health services has confirmed Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) costs are not growing - on the contrary, total expenditure on the PBS and RPBS in 2012-13 was less than in 2004-05. PBS expenditure per person was $309 in 2012-13, again lower than 2004-05. 

The decline in costs is further confirmation of the downward impact of price disclosure on aggregate PBS spending.

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Safe upgrades follow alprazolam scheduling change : 31/01/2014 :

Almost 1/3 of respondents to this week's AusPharm poll told us, in anticipation of the 1 February inclusion of alprazolam into Schedule 8, their pharmacy has needed to obtain a bigger (or second) narcotics safe in order to store the larger quantities of Schedule 8 drugs they now hold.

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AusPharm CPD catchup: Osteoporosis - the management of established disease : 30/01/2014 :

Want to use the dying days of the holiday season to catch up on some CPD? Why not take a look at another of our more popular activities from 2013?

Osteoporosis – the management of established disease was put together for us by Angus Thomson.

"Osteoporosis is a systemic condition characterised by low bone mass and deterioration in the bone microarchitecture which leads to an increase in the risk of fractures."

After completing this activity, pharmacists should be able to:

  • Identify patients at increased risk of fractures due to concurrent drug therapy
  • Recognise opportunities to optimise osteoporosis therapy
  • Outline emerging concerns regarding osteoporosis therapies.

The competency standards addressed by this activity include (but may not be limited to) 4.2.2, 4.2.3, 6.2.1, 6.2.2, 7.1.2, 7.1.3, 7.2.2, 7.2.3.

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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Mystery object number 3 - the winner is.... : 30/01/2014 :

Many thanks to everyone who submitted entries in this week's mystery object competition. It was a tight call choosing a winner as a number of 'listers supplied answers that were very similar and were correct. In the end we chose Amanda Bryce's entry:

"An Inhaler. To use it, you remove the mouthpiece, half fill inhaler with boiling water (+/- medication), replace the mouthpiece and apply lips to it. Breathe freely in and out as in ordinary full respiration."

We've also going to awarded a second prize to Paul Gibson for his very creative “Honestly officer, it’s a Nelson inhaler” submission.

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Pharmacy Guild looking for champions : 30/01/2014 :

The Pharmacy Guild is looking for pharmacist champions to help illustrate the great work done by the pharmacy profession in Australia.

The pharmacist champions will be part of a campaign to promote the value of community pharmacy to the Australian community.

Champions could have a story about going above and beyond to help a patient, an innovative service that they offer, or something special about their pharmacy.

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Consumer group gets new leadership : 30/01/2014 :

The Consumers Health Forum (CHF) has both a new Chair and a new Chief Executive Officer.

Tony Lawson, the chairman of the Health Consumers Alliance of South Australia and former Treasurer of CHF, has been selected to take over as chairman of CHF. The new Chief Executive Officer is Adam Stankevicius.

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February 2014 PBS schedule : 29/01/2014 :

Download the Full PBS schedule

Download the PBS ‘Summary of Changes’

Download the Efficient Funding of Chemotherapy – S100 Arrangements Supplement

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Poll: will you need a bigger narcotics safe after 1 February? : 29/01/2014 :

In a post to AusPharmList yesterday Marc Willson reminded us that many pharmacies are going to have a hard time fitting their alprazolam stock into their existing narcotics safes when it moves into Schedule 8 on February 1.

How is your pharmacy placed? Is your safe big enough to hold the extra alprazolam stock or will you need to get a replacement or extra safe?

Please let us know by voting in this week's AusPharm poll.

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changeday - make a pledge to improve the health and wellbeing of others : 29/01/2014 :

A web based project - changeday - has been established which asks health professionals to pledge to do one thing (or many things) to improve the health and wellbeing of others.

'What pledge can you make to improve patient, client and consumer health outcomes?' the site asks.

The Change Day project is aiming for 50,000 pledges by 6 March, 2014.

2012 PSA Pharmacist of the Year, Deirdre Criddle, made her pledge this week - "I’m pledging to promote home medication review (HMR) on discharge for every patient at risk of medication misadventure. This invaluable service – where a pharmacist visits a patient in the comfort of their own home, should be available to every patient who has significant changes to their medicine following hospitalisation."

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Mystery object number 3 - win an AusPharm torch - last day : 28/01/2014 :

Only the one entry so far for this week's mystery object competition so, if you get your entry in today, you're a good chance to win the prize.

We'll reward the 'lister who provides the 'best' explanation of what today's mystery object is with one of our schmicko AusPharm keyring torches.

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RGH E‑Bulletin: Medication-related geriatric syndromes : 28/01/2014 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Medication-related geriatric syndromes.

"Many (if not most) older people will eventually develop medical complications that referred to as geriatric syndromes. It is common for the underlying cause to be multifactorial and to have manifestations that involve multiple organ systems. There may be a cascade effect, where one geriatric syndrome may contribute to/exacerbate several others.  It is quite common for a number of geriatric syndromes to be present in the same patient simultaneously, rendering treatment complex and difficult. Drug treatment can both contribute to, and be a part of the management of geriatric syndromes: polypharmacy is common amongst the elderly, and there is a complicated balance required in the adjustment of pharmacotherapy to achieve optimal treatment outcomes and reduce the likelihood of iatrogenic complications for older people."

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

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PBS website goes mobile : 28/01/2014 :

The Department of health has launched a smart phone and tablet version of the PBS website.

Users of mobile devices now have the option to view either the standard or mobile versions of the PBS Website.

The mobile version can be accessed directly via m.pbs.gov.au.

Visiting http://www.pbs.gov.au on most handheld devices will automatically redirect to the mobile version of the site.

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'Snake oil' campaigner also honoured : 28/01/2014 :

Another recipient of an OAM in the General Division of the Order of Australia was Loretta Marron. Loretta is a three-time winner of Australian Skeptics’ Skeptic of the Year award - her Australia Day honour is for "service to community health”.

Loretta has made great contributions to public health by taking on the more dubious aspects of the billion-dollar therapeutic goods industry, the government, supermarkets and pharmacies.

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Professor Andrew Gilbert, two other pharmacists honoured : 28/01/2014 :

South Australian pharmacist, Emeritus Professor Andrew Gilbert, has been made a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day honours awards.

The award was bestowed for 'significant service to pharmacy as an educator, researcher and administrator, and to professional organisations'.

Professor Gilbert was the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia's Pharmacist of the Year in 2005 and in 2011 was the recipient of a PSA Lifetime Achievement Award. He has an international reputation for his research and consultancy work in areas of medicines policy and health practice change. He has been a member of countless professional committees and reference groups.

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'Listers remain opposed to S3 advertising, Guild, PSA offer support (with conditions) : 24/01/2014 :

Following the latest push by the Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI) for regulatory reform that would allow direct to consumer advertising of S3 medicines, we polled 'listers to see what they thought.

Two thirds of respondents to this week's poll on the issue said direct to consumer advertising of Schedule 3 products should not be allowed. The majority of this group (42% of all respondents) thought that potent therapeutic products, be they S3 or S4, shouldn`t be advertised with 25% of all respondents saying advertsing should not be allowed because it would be 'too hard to say no to inappropriate requests for a particular product'.

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Consumers Health Forum puts foot in mouth on S3 advertising : 24/01/2014 :

The Consumers Health Forum (CHF) yesterday put both feet firmly in its mouth when it issued a statement - Advertising pain killers a deadly idea - saying it strongly opposed calls from the Australian Self Medication Industry and the Pharmacy Guild for the easing of restrictions on the advertising of OTC codeine containing analgesics.

“The combination of these drugs is addictive and potentially dangerous in large doses. The advertising proposal sounds like giving vampires directions to the blood bank,” says CHF spokesman, Mark Metherell.

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Guild: re-invest 'a fraction' of price disclosure savings into pharmacy transformation : 24/01/2014 :

In the leadup to the May federal budget the Pharmacy Guild says there is a need to build a greater understanding amongst politicians of the critical role of pharmacies as trusted health care destinations.

Writing in the Guild's Forefront publication Guild Executive Director David Quilty highlighted that, around the world, pharmacies are becoming much more than simply the place that people go to get their scripts filled.

"They are becoming a central part of a more integrated and holistic approach to primary health care," he said.

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January CPD catchup: Update on Vitamin D deficiency : 23/01/2014 :

With Vitamin D being seemingly constantly in the news, we thought you might like to take a look at another of our more popular 2013 CPD activities - Update on Vitamin D deficiency, authored by Debbie Rigby and first published in April 2013.

Vitamin D is critical for bone health. Vitamin D deficiency causes impaired calcium absorption which can lead to rickets and osteomalacia. Additionally, vitamin D deficiency is associated with osteoporosis and an increased risk of fractures.

A large body of observational evidence suggests that low vitamin D levels are associated with extraskeletal sequelae including increased risks of cancer (especially colon, prostate, and breast cancer), psychiatric and cardiovascular disease, infection, metabolic diseases and autoimmune disease.

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