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AusPharm news

Last Chance to Register for the ACP Annual Conference in Hobart on 29-31 August!! : 27/08/2014 :

Only two days to go until the College's 25th Annual Conference and Exhibition in Hobart, Tasmania! So all the "last minute registrants" should be aware registrations close on the 28th of August. Make sure you get online now and reserve your place.   

Over the weekend we have a jam-packed program of interesting, current topics to assist you in your role as a pharmacist, manager or owner... and you can do it all while enjoying a holiday to "sunny" Tasmania!

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$1.1 billion in turnover for TWC : 27/08/2014 :

The Terry White Chemist chain now boasts 175 outlets generating $1.1 billion in sales revenue annually.

Speaking at the Terry White Chemists conference currently underway in Seoul, South Korea, the group's co-founder and Chairman, Terry White, said the past twelve months saw the group add 23 pharmacies to the network.

This growth has been achieved in a tough climate and represents a run rate that exceeds that of Terry White Chemists previous peak, Mr White said.

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RGH E‑Bulletin: Midodrine for orthostatic hypotension : 26/08/2014 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Midodrine for orthostatic hypotension.

"Orthostatic (or postural) hypotension is described as a blood pressure drop of greater than 20 mm Hg systolic, or greater than 10 mm Hg diastolic, within three minutes of standing up. This can lead to symptoms such as dizziness, blurred vision and confusion which can result in syncope or falls. There are many potential causes of orthostatic hypotension, including autonomic dysfunction (e.g. Parkinson’s disease, pure autonomic failure); cardiovascular disorders (e.g. hypovolemia) and medications (e.g. alpha-blockers, diuretics)."

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

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RUM Project receives additional funding, but urges greater efficiency by pharmacies : 26/08/2014 :

The success of the RUM Project, with constantly growing consumer awareness, saw collections of returned medicines from pharmacies increase by over 13% over the past year reaching a point where existing federal funding was exhausted.

In response to the increase, the Government has provided additional funds for the program to maintain its viability through to June 2015 when the current funding agreement ends.

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No PBS Sovaldi for Hep C patients : 26/08/2014 :

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) has rejected an application to PBS list new Hepatitis C (HCV) treatment sofosbuvir (Sovaldi) 'on the basis of unacceptably high and likely underestimated cost-effectiveness and the high and likely underestimated budgetary impact on the PBS'.

In its ruling, the PBAC said that, as the clinical management of individuals with HCV is moving so rapidly, that 'a broader Government and community approach is needed to maximise clinical outcomes and patient access to treatment. As well as subsidising new treatment on the PBS, other factors that increase the capacity to treat patients need to be explored'.

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Guild NSW Branch to offer pharmacist vaccination training : 26/08/2014 :

The Pharmacy Guild's NSW Branch is to offer a nationally accredited course for training pharmacists to vaccinate.

The course - NAT10445: Conduct Immunisation Services within a Community Pharmacy Environment - is an accredited course through the Australian Skills and Quality Authority (ASQA).

While a pharmacist vaccination trial is currently underway in 80 pharmacies Queensland – soon to be expanded to 200 - no pharmacy in NSW is yet legally able to implement a pharmacist delivered immunisation service as the required changes to NSW legislation have not been implemented. The Guild says it hopes they will be forthcoming 'very soon'

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PSA chief: Health Department evidence to Senate Inquiry 'jaw dropping' : 25/08/2014 :

New Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Chief Executive Officer Dr Lance Emerson has described evidence given by Health Department officials to the Senate inquiry into proposed increases to PBS co-payments that raising the costs of medicines will not deter consumers from having their prescriptions filled as 'disingenuous at best and misleading at worst'.

"The Health Department’s statements runs contrary to research and was, to be frank, jaw dropping," said Dr Emerson, pictured at right.

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SHPA and NAPSA establish closer ties : 25/08/2014 :

The Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA) and the National Australian Pharmacy Students’ Association (NAPSA) have committed to a stronger working relationship between the two organisations.

By partnering with NAPSA, SHPA believes it can better engage with pharmacy students at the early stages of their career and better support them on their career journey by highlighting the many career options for pharmacists.

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Majority of pharmacists oppose s*x toys in pharmacies : 22/08/2014 :

Following reports in News Ltd publications this week that some Queensland pharmacies are selling vibrators and s*x toys we asked 'listers whether or not they think it appropriate for pharmacies to sell these products.

Of those expressing a view (excludes the undecided), 57% ticked the 'no, totally inappropriate' poll option. 17% of respondents were 'undecided'.

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Webstercare collaboration improves antipsychotic outcomes : 22/08/2014 :

A joint project between Webstercare and Southern Cross Care NSW & ACT that has driven significant improvements in the quality use of antipsychotics, leading to patient and staff benefits, has been recognised with a High Commendation Award at the 2014 Information Technology in Aged Care (ITAC) Awards.

Utilising the NPS MedicinesWise Quality Use of Medicines report Antipsychotics for behavioural and psychological symptoms for dementia...

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API donates $5,000 to PSS : 22/08/2014 :

The Pharmacists’ Support Service (PSS) has been given a boost through a generous donation of $5000 from Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (API).  The donation will be put towards further developing the Service including through further training and support for the volunteer pharmacists who provide the service.

Since PSS expanded to cover all Australian pharmacists, interns and pharmacy students the call numbers  have increased significantly - from 86 in the 2012/2013 financial year to 146 in 2013/2014.

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NEJM uses innovative technique to communicate research results : 21/08/2014 :

Prestigious journal the New England Journal of Medicine has used a video cartoon to communicate the results of a study it published last week.

The Global Sodium Consumption and Death from Cardiovascular Causes study - funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation - determined that 1.65 million deaths from cardiovascular causes that occurred in 2010 were attributable to sodium consumption above a reference level of 2.0 g per day.

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Grattan downgrades PBS savings estimate by $165 million : 21/08/2014 :

The Grattan Institute's Peter Breadon has admitted the Institute's proposal to benchmark PBS prices to UK prices in order to save $580 million a year did not include provision for the October 1 PBS price disclosure reductions.

Speaking on Tuesday at the Senate inquiry into proposed increases to PBS co-payments, Mr Breadon said the "reason for that was that, at the time we wrote, the prices were, I believe, still indicative. Also, we do not know what the prices in the UK will be after October. Despite that, we have also run those numbers; they are not in the submission but I can provide them afterwards. We found that, even after the cuts for these drugs in October, the savings will still be around $415 million for the government."

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A Healthy Future : 21/08/2014 :

A new Pharmacy Guild publication sets out some of the country’s health challenges, the good work pharmacies are doing in communities across Australia, and what more they might do in the future.

The publication - A Healthy Future – an enhanced role for community pharmacy - highlights the contribution the nation’s 5,350 community pharmacies are already making to the health system and argues that they have the potential to make an even bigger contribution to the health of all Australians.

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Poll: is it acceptable for pharmacies to sell vibrators and sex toys? : 20/08/2014 :

News Ltd publications reported this week that Queensland pharmacies have begun to stock and sell Swoon brand vibrators and sex toys.

The reports claim the products are aimed at “the tepid explorer - the woman who is over 30 and not game to visit a sex store but wants to seek out some fun in a discreet way.”

Is it appropriate for these products to be sold in community pharmacies or are they best relegated to adult product stores?

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

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NPS MedicineWise to host Arabic-language Pharmacist Hour : 20/08/2014 :

NPS MedicineWise is to run its first bilingual Pharmacist Hour later this month.

The Arabic-language Pharmacist Hour will be held on Thursday 28 August 2014 from 3-4PM AEST.

Pharmacist Hour is a program which encourages consumers to ask questions about medicines on NPS MedicineWise’s Facebook page. Questions are answered by a pharmacist who is a member of the NPS Medicines Line team.

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Review of after-hours primary health care : 20/08/2014 :

An independent review of after-hours primary health care services in Australia is to be carried out by respected GP, educator and researcher Professor Claire Jackson.

The review was recommended by former Chief Medical Officer Professor John Horvath in his report on Medicare Locals and the subsequent decision to establish Primary Health Networks.

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Guild to launch PR offensive : 20/08/2014 :

The Pharmacy Guild is to roll out a new PR campaign - Discover more. Ask your pharmacist - designed to advance the community’s knowledge of the value of their local pharmacy.

It is working with high profile Sydney agency Jack Watts Currie to create what it hopes will be 'an engaging awareness campaign' incorporating TV and on-line advertisements and supported by a new website and Facebook page.

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Australian pharmacy student to head up IPSF : 19/08/2014 :

Monash University fourth year pharmacy student James White has been elected Secretary General of the International Pharmacy Students’ Federation (IPSF).

The election took place at the recent 60th IPSF World Congress, held in Porto, Portugal.

National Australian Pharmacy Students’ Association (NAPSA) National President Sam Turner said, “It is great to see NAPSA members utilising their leadership on the world stage. It is credit to the quality and enthusiasm of our members and Australian pharmacy in general. We wish James every success in this exciting endeavour.”

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Pharmacist joins Pollie Pedal : 19/08/2014 :

High profile Victorian pharmacist and former Guild Victorian Branch President Bill Scott was one of the riders in this year’s Pollie Pedal charity bike ride.

At various times in the long ride, Bill rubbed shoulders with Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews.

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