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AusPharm news

Weigh risks and benefits of old and new oral anticoagulants : 30/04/2013 :

NPS MedicineWise has urged health professionals to weigh the risks and benefits of oral anticoagulant therapies in people with non-valvular atrial fibulation following the PBAC recommendation that newer oral anticoagulants be listed on the PBS.

To assist clinicians working with anticoagulants it has lanched a series of new decision support tools for oral anticoagulants, including an anticoagulant safety checklist, switching oral anticoagulants, dose adjustments for newer anticoagulants, and a decision algorithm.

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A million dollars a week : 30/04/2013 :

Independent Australian online news service The Global Mail has published a lengthy opinion piece criticising the pharma company marketing strategy of 'duchessing' doctors with fine food and wine to influence their prescribing in favour of the company's products. The piece is underpinned by a Global Mail database, compiled from half-yearly reports that pharmaceutical companies belonging to industry association Medicines Australia have been required to make since 2007.

The story provides a number of case studies that highlight the practice with the author, Michael Fitzjames, claiming that “educational events” tend to happen at predictable times in the companies’ campaigns, for example in the leadup to PBAC consideration for initial PBS listing or when the manufacturer is applying for an older drug to be approved for new indications.

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August 1 EAPD PBS price reductions announced : 29/04/2013 :

Details of the next round of Expanded and Accelerated Price Disclosure (EAPD) PBS price reductions, due to come into force on 1 August 2013, were announced on Friday by the Department of Health and Ageing.

39 molecules are on the list with those likely to impact most on community pharmacy simvastatin (a 45% reduction), clopidogrel (a 44% reduction) and risperidone (a 40% reduction). These three price drops alone will cut about $130 million annually from government PBS expenditure.

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RGH E‑Bulletin: Considerations when dispensing oral chemotherapy agents : 29/04/2013 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Considerations when dispensing oral chemotherapy agents.

"There is a perception that oral chemotherapy (particularly therapies that target a specific cancer) is safer for the patient than coming to hospital for IV administration. However, convenience in terms of time for transport and administration can be offset by the potential for misadventure, either through patient misunderstanding or lack of monitoring of toxicity. Patients who misinterpret instructions may inadvertently take an incorrect dose or continue therapy for longer than intended, plus they may not be reviewed as frequently by clinicians, particularly if they live in the country."

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

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Poll: will you dispense RU486? : 29/04/2013 :

In a decision widely reported in mainstream media over the weekend the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee recommended on Friday that the abortion drug RU486 be PBS listed.

If the drug eventually does receive a PBS listing some pharmacists will decline to supply it on conscientious objection grounds while others will have no such concerns.

What will you do? Please tick the relevant box in today's AusPharm online poll.

**Please note no discussion of the moral issues surrounding the use of RU486 will be posted to AusPharmList, nor will any correspondence be entered into - MD**

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Compounding pharmacies criticized by Health Report : 29/04/2013 :

In last week's episode of ABC Radio National's The Health Report, which focused on counterfeit drugs, host Norman swan took a swipe at Australian compounding pharmacies, saying they are subject to little regulatory control and that there is no guarantee that consumers will actually get what is prescribed for them.

" ... we haven't even broached the subject of substandard medications, in particular those made in some Australian compounding pharmacies at the request of prescribing doctors. There is virtually no regulatory control of either the prescribing doctors in this respect or the pharmacies, and you haven't a clue what you're getting."

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NPS: RU486 listing 'not about the morals and ethics of abortion' : 28/04/2013 :

In a statement issued on Friday following the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee's recommendation to PBS list abortion drug RU 486, NPS MedicineWise says it supports 'the scientific and evidence-based recommendation'.

NPS MedicineWise CEO, Dr Lynn Weekes, said this decision is not about the morals and ethics of abortion but rather affordable access to options for safe medical termination of pregnancy.

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CPExpo 2013 education program finalised : 26/04/2013 :

The NSW Branch President of the PSA, John Bronger OAM, has released details of the patient support partners, industry sponsors and nationally recognised clinicians and practitioners secured for CPExpo 2013.

In releasing the information Mr Bronger said: “The quality and experience of speakers secured for CPExpo 2013 (31May-2 June) is outstanding, and complements the superior resources that our patient support partners will provide delegates, and the interactive exhibition we are preparing with our industry sponsors.”

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'Listers commemorate ANZAC Day : 26/04/2013 :

Almost three quarters of those responding to this week's AusPharm poll told us they would either be attending an ANZAC Day service or 'spending a quiet moment in active reflection'.

Only 3% responded that ANZAC Day 'is just another day for me'.

6% ticked the 'little or no interest, this is not part of my cultural heritage' box.

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Guild calls on Pharmacy Board to investigate 4 Corners claims : 24/04/2013 :

Reports in last Monday's ABC TV Four Corners program of a Melbourne compounding pharmacist supplying performance enhancing drugs to AFL players have the potential to damage the good reputation of community pharmacy in Australia says the Pharmacy Guild.

The Guild says it is appalled at the alleged behaviour adding that the ABC decision not to name the pharmacist involved slurs the name of all compounding pharmacists.

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PHARMeFOOTY weekly wrap : 24/04/2013 :

AFL - Round 4

Round 4 of the 2013 AFL season started off with the Cats and the Swans at the SCG. The Swans fought hard however it was the Cats who took the win, 124-103. Other matches for the week saw the Hawks fire up to defeat the Dockers at Aurora Stadium by a 42 point margin.

Due to a number of representative matches being held last weekend, including the Australia / NZ test match, there were no NRL matches.

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NAPSA makes a Difference – Charity Cup 2013 : 24/04/2013 :

Once again in 2013 the National Australian Pharmacy Students’ Association (NAPSA) is running its annual Charity Cup campaign in which pharmacy students across sixteen universities participate in Charity Cup events, which run throughout April.

NAPSA is calling on those in the pharmacy industry to support its fundraising efforts.

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PSA pilots Ethics Advisory Service : 24/04/2013 :

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia has launched a pilot Ethics Advisory Service to provide information and advice to PSA members, or to act on complaints from members.

The new service, which is a first for pharmacy and is available free-of-charge to PSA members, is based on PSA’s Code of Ethics for Pharmacists which consists of a number of principles covering five main areas of focus which are core to pharmacists and pharmacy practice. These areas of focus are the consumer, the community, the pharmacy profession, business practices and other health-care professionals.

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PBS restrictions eased on Alzheimer's drugs : 24/04/2013 :

The criteria for PBS access to donepezil, rivastigmine, galantamine and memantine to treat Alzheimer's Disease have been eased following the completion of a post market review of the drugs and subsequent consideration by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC).

Previously patients have had to show a minimum level of improvement in an Alzheimer’s disease test each time they needed a new prescription. Now patients can continue treatment for as long as their doctor and carers consider it to be effective, and doctors can use a streamlined authority approval system.

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Looking for a new challenge? Keen to expand your horizons and build on your clinical knowledge? : 23/04/2013 :

If you answered yes to the questions above, join your colleagues at the ninth Annual Association of Consultant Pharmacy (AACP) seminar ConPharm 13 at the Hilton Hotel Adelaide from Friday 7 to Sunday 9 June 2013.

This year’s program has something for all pharmacists, regardless of their area of practice. Each year the planning team strives to blend a range of speakers and topics that will have broad appeal. Come and see for yourself why ConPharm is ‘Once again a truly valuable update - a fantastic array of evidence-based presentations providing information that I can put to use in my practice immediately’.

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Complementary medicine industry lobbying for regulatory reform : 23/04/2013 :

Presumably as part of a co-ordinated response to the current TGA "Consultation: Evaluation of complementary medicine substances for use in listed medicines", the Complementary Healthcare Council of Australia (CHC) and the Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) both put out statements yesterday arguing for regulatory reform of the sector.

The CHC statement said that complementary medicines 'differ from pharmaceutical drugs' as they do not claim to be 'a medical solution to a medical problem'; rather, they look at how to assist the overall ‘wellness’ of consumers, prevent illness or reduce the duration of and illness 'by maintaining a healthy balance'. The group maintains that the current form of regulation in Australia is at risk of suffocating 'an important industry'.

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Poll: how will you acknowledge ANZAC Day? : 23/04/2013 :

This Thursday is ANZAC Day, probably Australia's most important national occasion. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. The soldiers in those forces quickly became known as ANZACs, and the pride they took in that name endures to this day.

Will you personally acknowledge ANZAC day by attending one of the many commemorative events around the country or is it 'just another day' for you?

How will you 'put the day in'? Please let us know by voting in this week's AusPharm poll.

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New member for NPS Medicinewise Board : 22/04/2013 :

GP and professional education advocate Dr Roger Sexton has been appointed as director of the NPS MedicineWise board in the role of Health Practitioner (GP) director.

Announcing the appointment NPS MedicineWise Chair Dr Janette Randall said that Dr Sexton is an active contributor to the medical profession bringing broad professional experience and a desire to positively influence lifelong medical education, quality prescribing and optimal patient care.

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RGH E‑Bulletin: Omalizumab for chronic urticaria : 22/04/2013 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Omalizumab for chronic urticaria.

"Type 1 hypersensitivity reactions underlie many common allergic conditions, including allergic asthma, conjunctivitis, rhinitis, anaphylaxis and urticaria. This type of reaction involves the presentation of an antigen to T helper cells, which activate B cells to produce further IgE antibody. These antibodies then bind to mast cells and basophils causing sensitisation, and on repeat exposure to the antigen there is rapid release of inflammatory mediators such as leukotrienes, prostaglandins and histamine. On this basis, IgE has become a target of considerable interest for drug design."

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

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Penrith Pharmacy Battle : 22/04/2013 :

A group of western Sydney pharmacy owners is engaged in a protracted legal battle with entities associated with a Chemist Warehouse site in the Penrith Supacentre.

The dispute concerns the granting of a Council approval to operate the site as a permissible use in a bulky goods precinct, on the basis that a retail pharmacy forming part of the development would  be ancillary to other uses. A group of local pharmacy owners challenged the council consent on the basis that a retail shop is operating at the site and that this shop is not incidental or ancillary to the other uses of the site.

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