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AusPharm news

Students asked to share their view of pharmacy’s future : 25/03/2013 :

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia has launched a new competition for final year pharmacy students in Australia designed to encourage students to communicate their vision for community pharmacy and the role of the pharmacist in the future.

“The future is in the hands of innovative students. It’s going to be up to them to make or break the world of pharmacy”, National President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Kos Sclavos, said.

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New pharmacy program accreditation standards approved : 25/03/2013 :

The Pharmacy Board has approved revised accreditation standards for pharmacy programs in Australia and New Zealand.

The approval follows a review of the existing standards by the Australian Pharmacy Council (APC), the designated accreditation authority for the pharmacy profession in Australia. The review built on existing accreditation standards and included a comparison against international standards.

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Three new additions to Asthma Council Library : 25/03/2013 :

The National Asthma Council Australia has released three new evidence-based information papers for health professionals, together with a series of corresponding patient education brochures.

The three resources, Asthma & Allergy; Asthma & Wheezing in the First Years of Life; and, Asthma & Complementary Therapies will form the basis of a new library of free resources that already includes Asthma & Lung Function Tests (launched in 2012). 

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New generics resources launched : 25/03/2013 :

The Generic Medicines Industry Association (GMiA) and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia have jointly launched a new initiative – Why choose generic medicines?

According to the two organisations, Australians are very positive towards generic medicines - 82% agree that a generic medicine is ‘a product I know and trust’ however Australians display a preference (2:1) for branded over generic medicines, revealing a disconnect between favourable perceptions and their purchasing decisions.

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CSO: don't let your guard down : 25/03/2013 :

Pharmacists need to remind themselves of the benefits of the wholesaler Community Service Obligation (CSO) and ensure it is included in the 6th Community Pharmacy Agreement says Deloitte Access Economics' Professor Ian Harper.

In a presentation at the APP conference on Saturday Professor Harper took delegates back to 2005, prior to the introduction of the CSO, and described a fragile wholesaling environment in which the industry saw the emergence of a number of 'short line' wholesalers that threatened the viability of the full line providers. The ability of pharmacies in rural areas in particular to obtain PBS drugs in a timely fashion was becoming increasingly uncertain.

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Beware of hackers : 25/03/2013 :

Speaking during the Panel discussion at the APP conference on Friday, Guild President Kos Sclavos told delegates that the threat posed by offshore hackers attempting to penetrate community pharmacy computer networks was one of the biggest threats facing the industry in the next 12 months.

Fred IT Group CEO Paul Naismith said that his company had dealt with clients in the last three months who had been the target of hackers. He warned delegates that if attacked it was highly unlikely they would be able to retrieve the stolen data.

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RGH E‑Bulletin: Liraglutide : 25/03/2013 :

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

"In recent years there has been great focus on incretin-based therapies for type 2 diabetes mellitus. Incretin hormones such as glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1) help to maintain blood glucose levels by regulating insulin and glucagon. These compounds are secreted by gut endocrine and pancreatic cells in response to a meal. The incretin effect is reduced in patients with diabetes, which contributes to impaired insulin regulation. Liraglutide (Victoza®) has recently become registered by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration for the treatment of adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus as an adjunct to diet and exercise. Liraglutide is a glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist produced using recombinant DNA technology. Liraglutide binds to and activates the GLP-1 receptor, thereby stimulating insulin release as well as decreasing inappropriate glucagon secretion. The potential for hypoglycaemia is low, as insulin is only released in response to high glucose levels."

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

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800 'unemployed' pharmacists : 25/03/2013 :

Speaking at the APP conference on the Gold Coast on Saturday Guild President Kos Sclavos said he believes, taking into account 'underemployment' where pharmacists aren't working as much as the would like, there are about 800 full time equivalent 'unemployed' pharmacists in Australia at present.

Mr Sclavos said it was important to get good data so that accurate employment stats could be compiled. He added that, because of skewing of the figures caused by pharmacists' pre-registration year, data relating to both the first and second years following graduation should be studied.

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SHPA, union respond to HMR funding announcement : 25/03/2013 :

Following Friday's announcement by Health Minister Tanya Plibersek that HMR funding would not be reduced in most instances, the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA) says it is pleased it will be more closely involved in the HMR Hospital Referral pathway that will commence later this year.

The Minister said, as part of her announcement on Friday, “I have agreed research is needed to make sure the targeting of the HMR program is appropriate. This will happen as part of the HMR Hospital Referral pathway that will commence later this year. However, the research will not just involve the Guild and Department – both the PSA and SHPA will be actively involved, and other peak stakeholders will be consulted to ensure we get it right.”

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PBS expenditure in decline for the first time in 20 years : 25/03/2013 :

Previously unpublished PBS data shows that, for the first time in 20 years, government expenditure on the PBS is in decline. This finding was outlined in a presentation to delegates at the weekend's APP conference by the Guild’s National Director of Health Economics, Stephen Armstrong.

Figures on PBS expenditure and prescription volumes are released monthly by Medicare however that data tracks the pattern of claims processing, which is lagged and can accelerate and slow down unpredictably (as AusPharm points out when we publish these stats). This published data is volatile and bears no relationship to PBS dispensing by community pharmacies in each month, says the Guild.

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HMR and other Professional Program funding safe : 23/03/2013 :

In an announcement made at the APP conference late yesterday afternoon Guild President Kos Sclavos confirmed that agreement has been reached between the Department of Health and Ageing and the Guild to preserve existing levels of funding for Pharmacy Professional Programs, including Home Medicines reviews.

Rumours have been circulating in pharmacy circles for a fortnight that fees would be slashed following the leaking of an internal DoHA / Guild discussion document canvassing significant fee reductions.

For the details, read on. For a personal message to pharmacists from Health Minister Tanya Plibersek, take a look at today's AusPharmList Post of the day.

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Lim's Pharmacy 2013 Pharmacy of the year : 22/03/2013 :

Lim’s Pharmacy in Springvale, Victoria is the 2013 QCPP Pharmacy of the Year.  The honour was announced yesterday at the Australian Pharmacy Professional conference (APP) on the Gold Coast.

Lim’s Pharmacy is the community engagement category winner, and was judged to be the best pharmacy overall. Owner pharmacist Richard Lim accepted the award on behalf of his team.

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Pharmacists: open slather pharmacy ownership unlikely : 22/03/2013 :

More than 3/4 of pharmacists voting in this week's AusPharm poll believe that a new review of pharmacy ownership laws in Australia would not result in the complete abolition of 'pharmacist only' ownership.

In November last year Productivity Commission Chair, Gary Banks, flagged that a second National Competition Policy Review of pharmacy ownership remains on the Commission's 'to do' list. 

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State of the Industry Symposium kicks off APP : 22/03/2013 :

As has become a tradition at the annual APP conference, proceedings got underway yesterday with the State of the Industry symposium. Key players from the main Australian pharmacy stakeholder groups gave their take on what lay ahead for community pharmacy in 2013 and beyond.

First to speak was IMS Australia General Manager Andy Jackson who gave a broad overview of the global and local pharmaceutical markets. He reported that global market growth in 2012 stood at just 2% but that OTC growth in pharmacy for the same period was 12%.

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NPS launches new consumer generics campaign : 22/03/2013 :

NPS MedicineWise has launched a new consumer campaign, featuring digital animation and print media, which dramatises the fact that it’s active ingredients that make a medicine work, and that two brands of the same medicine with the same active ingredient are an equal choice.

Print advertisements will run for the next few weeks in Sunday press and on mydr.com.au, as well as on the radio on the Fairfax and Macquarie networks. 

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AusPharm CPD: RGH Pharmacy E-Bulletin Digest No 57 : 21/03/2013 :

The next in our 2013 series of continuing professional development activities is the RGH E-Bulletin Digest No. 57.

This CPD activity assesses your understanding of four recent RGH Pharmacy E-Bulletins (Volumes 49-3 - 49-6  --> January- February 2012).

After completing this activity, pharmacists should be able to:

  • Discuss the important issues to consider with respect to drug therapy during electroconvulsive therapy
  • Describe key findings from recent research into the use of apixaban to prevent VTE in people with AF
  • Outline findings of recent research into the use of strontium as a treatment for osteoporosis in men
  • Discuss the clinical pharmacology of serelaxin.

This activity has been accredited for 1 group 2 CPD credits suitable for inclusion in an individual pharmacist’s CPD plan. Accreditation number: A1304AP0.

Click here to do this Continuing Professional Development activity. Or, if you prefer, you might like to take a look at our other CPD activities here .

AusPharm gratefully acknowledges the financial support provided by MIMS.

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PSA issues pharmacy immunisation guidelines : 21/03/2013 :

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) has released guidelines for providing immunisation services with a view to promoting best practice and the delivery of high-quality immunisation services in pharmacies.

National President of PSA, Grant Kardachi, said the PSA’s Practice guidelines for the provision of immunisation services within pharmacy provided guidance to pharmacists on professional issues and obligations related to immunisation services within the pharmacy setting.

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Senate inquiry into the supply of chemotherapy drugs: SHPA highlights concerns : 21/03/2013 :

Yesterday (20 March) was the deadline for public submissions to be lodged for the Senate inquiry into the supply of chemotherapy drugs.

The inquiry was established after concerns were raised by patients, community pharmacies and public and private hospitals following the 1 December 2012 price disclosure related cuts to the price paid to pharmacies for supplying some cytotoxic drugs, principally docetaxel. Changes to the funding of paclitaxel from 1 April will remove a further $10 million (annual) from chemotherapy services in private hospitals.

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'Save HMRs' petition a hit : 21/03/2013 :

The 'Save HMRs' petition launched by Dr Peter Tenni on Tuesday afternoon has, as of 6AM this morning, been signed by over 1500 people.

The petition calls on Health Minister Tanya Plibersek to reject proposals contained in a leaked Guild / DoHA document to significantly reduce funding for HMRs and some other pharmacy professional programs.

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Poll: will pharmacy ownership go open? : 20/03/2013 :

In November last year Productivity Commission Chair, Gary Banks, flagged that a second National Competition Policy Review of pharmacy ownership remains on the Commission's 'to do' list.

Mr Banks listed pharmacy ownership as one area among many where a 'second, more focused' review would serve a purpose saying [competition policy driven reform] "progress has stalled or even reversed in some policy areas".

What do you think the outcome of such a review might be? Please let us know by voting in this week's AusPharm poll.

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