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AusPharm news

AusPharm CPD: Analgesics for low back pain - the pharmacist's role : 03/07/2014 :

The next AusPharm CPD topic for 2014 is Analgesics for low back pain and the pharmacists’ role - it's been put together for us by Dr Jenny Gowan.

"Back problems are common conditions. Estimates from the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2007-08 National Health Survey suggest that about 1.8 million Australians (9.2% of the population) have back problems based on self-reported data. It has been estimated that 70-90% of people suffer from lower back pain in some form at some point in their lives."

This activity has been accredited for 1.5 hours of Group Two CPD (1 CPD Credit) that may be converted to 3 Group Two CPD Credits upon successful completion of the corresponding assessment for inclusion on an individual pharmacist's CPD Record. Accreditation number: A1405AP0.

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Guild: ownership restrictions still justified on public benefit grounds : 03/07/2014 :

Any objective assessment of the competitive framework around pharmacy in 2014 will confirm that the benefits of the existing model are compelling, and that the interests of patients and consumers are being well served believes the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.

Writing in Guild publication Forefront this week, CEO David Quilty put some of the arguments the Guild believes support the existing ownership model.

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Medicines Australia submits new Code of Conduct to ACCC : 03/07/2014 :

Medicines Australia has submitted the 18th Edition of its Code of Conduct to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for authorisation.

The new Code will introduce expanded transparency reporting that will require Medicines Australia member companies to report on an individual basis a wide range of payments and transfers of value to individual healthcare professionals, as well as sponsorships of third party educational meetings and symposia.

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Woolworths health check controversy bubbles along : 03/07/2014 :

Woolworths plan to employ health professionals to conduct health checks in its stores remained in the media spotlight yesterday.

The supermarket giant yesterday relaunched the advertisement that provoked the controversy but, this time, the ad more specifically targets nurses and makes no reference to pharmacists or pharmacy students. 

"XPO Brands are currently recruiting for a health professionals (sic) such as AIN, EN or RN level nurses in Sydney."

However, the ad still appears to leave room for pharmacists to apply as it continues to make reference to 'pharmaceutical qualifications'.

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Poll: will Colesworth get pharmacies? : 02/07/2014 :

The issue of supermarkets being allowed to own and operate pharmacies, never too far away from the pharmacy psych, raised its head again this week with the revelation that Woolworths had been employing staff to conduct 'health checks' in their stores.

Will supermarkets 'get' pharmacies? Please let us know what you think by voting in this week's AusPharm poll.

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PSA, AMA join in criticism of Woolworths 'health checks' : 02/07/2014 :

Both the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) and the Australian Medical Association (AMA) have joined with the Pharmacy Guild in criticising moves by supermarket giant Woolworths to provide health checks to consumers within its stores.

PSA National president Grant Kardachi said a statement by Woolworths that staff providing health checks would not offer medical or product advice and was "just another thing we can do for our customers" was a concern.

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The union, on the other hand... : 02/07/2014 :

In marked contrast to other pharmacy groups, Professional Pharmacists Australia (PPA) said yesterday it would welcome the introduction of a Woolworths’ program that saw pharmacists perform basic health checks in supermarkets, saying it would provide an alternative employment pathway for young pharmacists and could improve health outcomes for the community.

PPA President, Dr Geoff March, said that it would offer another employment pathway for young pharmacists who are often forced to accept low-paid jobs in community pharmacies.

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Sandoz joins GMiA : 02/07/2014 :

Generics supplier Sandoz has joined the Generic Medicines Industry Association (GMiA).

The inclusion of Sandoz means that GMiA now represents all major generic medicine suppliers in Australia and more than 90% of all generic medicines dispensed in Australia.

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Woolworths 'health check' comments : 02/07/2014 :

Mainstream media, including the ABC, picked up the Woolworths 'health check' story yesterday.

As is often the case, the comments posted online in response are well worth a read.

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NZ Guild gets a new President : 01/07/2014 :

Ken Orr has been elected as the new President of the Pharmacy Guild of New Zealand (PGNZ). He replaces outgoing President Karen Crisp, who has been President since 2011.

David Bullen has been elected as the new Vice President.

Commenting on the result, PGNZ Guild CEO, Lee Hohaia, said “Both are experienced community pharmacists and pharmacy owners, and have significant board experience. Ken has been a board member since 2008 and Vice President since 2011. He is a partner in Orrs Pharmacies Ltd in Northland, sits on the board of Green Cross Health and has been the Director of Manaia PHO since its formation."

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PSA National Board - correction : 01/07/2014 :

we reported on the makeup of the new PSA National Board.

We said "The number of Board members has dropped from ten to nine following the integration of the WA PSA Branch into the PSA national structure, which saw its representation on the Board drop from two to one member" and noted that WA's Russell Hill was no longer a Board member.

This is incorrect - Russell Hill remains on the PSA National Board as a Board appointed member.

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Woolworths denies offering 'medical or product' advice, admits 'it's us' : 01/07/2014 :

Woolworths has denied its employees are offering instore medical or product advice (see AusPharm Monday).

The denial comes after the Pharmacy Guild claimed it had photographic evidence that white coated supermarket employees appeared to be  working in health related roles in a Woolworths store.

In a member newsletter circulated last Friday, Guild President George Tambassis said this appeared to be an attempt by the supermarket ‘to circumvent the clear intent of the Ministerial determination which prohibits the co-location of pharmacies within supermarkets’ and ‘is an attempt to hoodwink consumers into believing that they can get professional pharmacist advice and products from a supermarket.

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Victorian PSA, Guild Presidents upbeat after community pharmacy inquiry appearance : 01/07/2014 :

Victorian Branch Presidents of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Michelle Lynch and Anthony Tassone said they were confident they had presented a strong case for greater utilisation of pharmacists in community pharmacy to the Victorian government's inquiry into community pharmacy.

The inquiry, which heard from the two Presidents last Wednesday, is exploring and identifying the potential roles and opportunities for community pharmacy in primary and preventative care. The committee is due to release its report by 14th October 2014.

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RGH E‑Bulletin: Prescribing cascades : 30/06/2014 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Prescribing cascades.

"Polypharmacy is a relatively common issue, particularly amongst the elderly and people with multiple morbidities. Sometimes defined as a situation whereby there are five or more regular medicines prescribed, or 12 or more occasions of medication administration per day, polypharmacy is associated with an increased incidence of adverse drug reactions and drug interactions, as well as poorer adherence to prescribed treatment regimens, and potentially compromised clinical outcomes. If it is known that polypharmacy is associated with outcomes that are not positive, what drives this phenomenon?"

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

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Board warns on pharmacists’ workloads : 30/06/2014 :

In a communiqué issued on Friday, the Pharmacy Board has counselled pharmacists to be mindful of the its Guidelines for dispensing of medicines when setting staffing levels.

"Excessive workloads [..] may hinder the ability of pharmacists to meet their professional obligations such as review of the patient’s medication history and provision of medication counselling, and may contribute to the occurrence of dispensing errors" says the Board.

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Supermarkets employing health professionals, students to provide health advice? : 30/06/2014 :

The Pharmacy Guild has expressed concerns about what it describes as 'a disturbing development in one of the large supermarket’s marketing of health products'.

XPO Brands (whose client base includes Woolworths) recently advertised for 'health professionals such as final year pharmacy students, or graduate pharmacists; and entry level nurses' in Sydney to provide 'general health checks to customers in store including blood pressure checks & cholesterol checks as well as engaging in general health discussions' and 'providing assistance and advice on product related questions from customers'.

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Makeup of new PSA Board finalised : 30/06/2014 :

Following the completion of elections in each state and territory, the makeup of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia's (PSA) new National Board has been finalised.

The number of Board members has dropped from ten to nine following the integration of the WA PSA Branch into the PSA national structure, which saw its representation on the Board drop from two to one member.

There are two new Board members - former Guild National President, John Bronger, and head of the Curtin University School of Pharmacy, Professor Jeff Hughes.

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White coats the go : 27/06/2014 :

The result of this week's AusPharm poll confirms our suspicion that more pharmacists now wear white coats at work than has previously been the case.

The poll - a repeat of identical polls we ran in 2005, 2007 and 2012 - found that 40% of pharmacists now wear a white coat in their workplace. In 2005 and 2007 the figure was 26% while the period 2007 to 2012 saw a marked increase - to 38% - with just a small increase since then.

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Health Department head moves on : 27/06/2014 :

Long time Secretary of the federal Department of Health, Professor Jane Halton, is to leave the position to take up a new role as Secretary of the Department of Finance.

Professor Halton has been Health Department head since 2002.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott paid tribute to Professor Halton, saying she had made a substantial contribution to the development of health policy and programmes in Australia and internationally.

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Victorian, WA PSA branches announce new leadership teams : 27/06/2014 :

The Victorian and WA Branches of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia have completed their Branch elections and announced their new leadership teams.

The Victorian Branch Committee, to take effect from July 1, is made up of Joe Demarte, Vali Ghobadi, Jenny Gowan, Michael Gray, Julie Grint, John Jackson, Michelle Lynch (Branch President), Benjamin Marchant, Jarrod McMaugh and Louis Roller.

The new WA committee is made up of Teresa Di Franco (Branch President), Michael Garlepp, Samantha (Jo) Higgins, Jeffery Hughes, Russell Hill, Amy Page and Jocelyn Sisson.

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