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AusPharm news

May 2014 PBS schedule : 22/04/2014 :

Download the Full PBS schedule

Download the PBS ‘Summary of Changes’

Download the Efficient Funding of Chemotherapy – S100 Arrangements Supplement

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RGH E‑Bulletin: Droxidopa : 22/04/2014 :

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

"Droxidopa (marketed as Northera®) has been recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of orthostatic dizziness or light-headedness in patients with symptomatic neurogenic orthostatic hypotension caused by primary autonomic failure (associated with conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple system atrophy, and pure autonomic failure), as well as dopamine beta-hydroxylase deficiency, and non-diabetic autonomic neuropathy. Neurogenic orthostatic hypotension (NOH) is a rare, chronic but debilitating cause of orthostatic drop in blood pressure that occurs upon standing, and is associated with Parkinson’s disease. Symptoms of NOH include dizziness, lightheadedness, blurred vision, fatigue, and fainting upon standing, and may severely limit the patient’s daily activities."

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

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Union launches 'Clean up pharmacy' campaign - calls on non-owners to share their concerns about community pharmacy : 22/04/2014 :

Employee pharmacist union Professional Pharmacists Australia (PPA ) last week launched a new campaign aimed at getting non-owner pharmacists to share their concerns about 'worrying practices' occurring in community pharmacy.

PPA President Dr Geoff March said that the union has been flooded with concerns from pharmacists since the Pharmacy Guild cited allegations of questionable behaviour around the provision of HMRs and RMMRs as a reason for defunding the programs and, more recently, the revelation that one pharmacy had claimed 319 Medschecks in two weeks.

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Poll: should a drug's generic name feature on dispensing labels? : 22/04/2014 :

In a post to AusPharmList last week Julie Grint suggested that if pharmacy software companies were to change their default settings on pharmacy labels to place the generic name of the drug first on the top line and the brand name in brackets afterwards then much of the confusion that patients experience with being dispensed different brands of the same generic would be eliminated.

Her suggestion has some merit but would likely face opposition from pharma companies.

What do you think? Should the generic name feature on the dispensing label? Please let us know what you think by voting in today's AusPharm poll.

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API confident despite asset writedown : 22/04/2014 :

Pharmacy wholesaler Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (API) has revealed the details of the $132 million write down in the carrying value of some assets that led to the suspension of trading in its shares last week.

In a statement issued to the market on Thursday the company said that some of the write downs are 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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AusPharm over Easter : 17/04/2014 :

As usual, we won't be publishing on Good Friday or Easter Monday - we'll be back on Tuesday.

A happy and safe break to those of you who get one over Easter.

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Pharmacist opposition to homeopathics strengthening : 17/04/2014 :

The result of this week's AusPharm poll reveals that pharmacists are now much more strongly opposed to pharmacies stocking homeopathic products than 5 years ago.

80% of respondents to this week's poll said pharmacies should not stock homeopathic products. When we ran the identical poll in 2009, only 56% of respondents had this view.

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API shares remain in trading halt : 17/04/2014 :

A trading halt on API shares, implemented on Monday afternoon, has been extended.

API now says it expects to be able to make an announcement concerning the carrying value of its assets late on Thursday. It had initially hoped to make the announcment yesterday (Wednesday) morning.

It expects the trading halt to be lifted when the announcment is made.

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Guild: survey shows pharmacies to reduce hours, drop services : 17/04/2014 :

The Pharmacy Guild says the results of a survey it conducted in over 500 pharmacies during April suggest that up to a quarter of pharmacies will reduce opening hours in the 2014/15 financial year - on average by 5.4 hours a week - because of lower PBS remuneration.

The survey also found, says the Guild, that many pharmacy services are also at risk of either being abandoned, cut back or increased in price.

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Exciting initiatives for engagement at CPExpo 2014 : 16/04/2014 :

In a first for pharmacists, delegates at CPExpo14 will have the ability to vote and comment during the conference on resolutions and ideas submitted by their colleagues about how to move pharmacy forward, using a system called The Script. 

Launching The Script, NSW Branch President John Bronger said that it was an exciting move.

“Gathering the outcomes of our Better Pharmacy Futures Forums that we have held around the country, and having delegates vote on what they think is important is going to be great.  Delegates want their say, and PSA is listening,” Mr Bronger said.

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Guild: pharmacists' high regard needs to be nurtured and grown : 15/04/2014 :

Yesterday's news that pharmacists rated highly for ethics and honesty in the 2014 Roy Morgan Image of Professions Survey confirms that pharmacists are a valued and respected part of our health system, says the Pharmacy Guild.

In a statement issued yesterday in response to the survey the Guild said the findings should put a spring in the step of pharmacists all over Australia.

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New pharmacy workforce stats from HealthWorkforce Australia : 15/04/2014 :

A new report from HealthWorkforce Australia, Australia’s Health Workforce Series: Pharmacists in Focus, sets out a detailed analysis of the Australian pharmacy workforce.

Amongst the key findings are:

  • over half of all pharmacists are female.
  • they have an average age of approximately 40 years
  • they mostly work in community pharmacy.
  • they work part-time hours.

The report also draws on census data that highlights...

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API shares in trading halt : 15/04/2014 :

A halt has been placed on trading in the shares of pharmacy wholesaler Australian Pharmaceutical Industries, pending an announcement from the company over the value of its assets.

The company said yesterday it expects to make an announcement regarding the 'carrying value of its assets' before the commencement of trading on Wednesday 16 April.

It says the announcement is 'part of the process of finalising its half year results', due out on 30 April.

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Poll: should pharmacies sell homeopathic products? : 15/04/2014 :

Last week's release by the NHMRC of its draft Information Paper on the Evidence on Homeopathy found ‘there is no reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective for treating health conditions.’

It has been suggested that, as there is no evidence to support the efficacy of homeopathic products, pharmacies should not stock / sell them. The Pharmacy Board's Code of Conduct [(Clauses 2.2 (n) and (p)] suggests as much.

What do you think? Please let us know by voting in this week's AusPharm poll.

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RGH E‑Bulletin: Pimavanserin & treatment of psychosis in Parkinsonís disease : 14/04/2014 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Pimavanserin & treatment of psychosis in Parkinson’s disease.

"Psychotic symptoms, especially visual hallucinations and paranoid delusions, are said to affect up to 40% of patients with Parkinson’s disease at some stage. Management approaches for these symptoms should include consideration of other comorbid states such as delirium (especially that associated with infections), reduction of dopaminergic agents and the use of antipsychotic agents. The atypical antipsychotic agents most commonly used in the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease Psychosis (PDP) are clozapine and quetiapine. Quetiapine is usually the treatment of first choice as clozapine requires strict monitoring protocols. Risperidone and olanzapine are not as well tolerated and may worsen PD compared to quetiapine and clozapine."

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

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TGA reviewing cardiac ADRs of domperidone : 14/04/2014 :

The TGA is reviewing new information regarding domperidone (Motilium) and its potential effects on the heart, particularly with doses above 30 mg daily.

The European Medicine Agency's Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) has recently recommended restricting the dose of domperidone to less than 30 mg daily and duration of use to one week due to the risk of heart problems, including QT prolongation and arrhythmias.

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Pharmacists second most ethical and honest profession : 14/04/2014 :

Pharmacists have been rated the second most ethical and honest profession after nurses in the 2014 Roy Morgan Image of Professions Survey.

The survey found that 91% of Australians aged 14 and over rate nurses as the most ethical and honest profession – the 20th year in a row since nurses were first included on the survey in 1994.

Other professions that gained high ratings for ethics and honesty in 2014 included doctors (86%, down 2% on 2013), pharmacists (86%, up 2%), dentists (74%, unchanged), High Court judges (74%, up 1%)and school teachers (72%, down 4%).

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Half price Swisse vitamins at Chemist Warehouse : 11/04/2014 :

So, is anybody other than CW / MC still supporting Swisse?

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Pharmacists just won't charge for what they do : 11/04/2014 :

55% of the respondents to this week's AusPharm poll told us their pharmacies provided a free 'staged supply' service for their customers.

Another 10% charge a dollar or less with a further 12% charging between one and two dollars.

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SHPA: RMMR limit must be lifted : 11/04/2014 :

The Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA) has renewed its call for the recently imposed two year limit on patient access to RMMRs to be removed.

The call follows the recent release of the Senate’s Community Affairs Reference Committee's report, Care and management of younger and older Australians living with dementia and behavioural and psychiatric symptoms of dementia (BPSD), in particular its recommendations on the use of antipsychotic medicines and the management of these medicines in residents in aged care facilities.

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