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Online poll

31/03/2015 : Should all Schedule 3 codeine sales be tracked in real time on a national online database?
yes, agree with the PSA call
yes, but only if the database in integrated into dispensing software
no, no need. Codeine related morbidity is overstated
more important to track benzos instead

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AusPharm news

Care needed with anticholinergics in older patients : 06/06/2013 :

Published as part of the June issue of Australian Prescriber, Volume 4, Number 3 of the Medicines Safety Update advises clinicians to exercise caution when assessing whether or not to use anticholinergic drugs in older patients. The Update also has more to say about the risks associated with the use of new anticoagulant drug, dabigatran.

Two recent long-term studies examined cognitive impairment in older patients with both studies reporting an increased incidence of cognitive impairment in patients using anticholinergic drugs.

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UNE student wins NSW PSOTY award : 06/06/2013 :

The School of Pharmacy at the University of New England (UNE) achieved a milestone at the weekend with its first entrant in the NSW Pharmacy Student of the Year (PSOTY) competition taking out the title.

UNE’s Callan Beesley was named the NSW Pharmacy Student of the Year at a reception held as part of the PSA's Clinical and Practice Expo (CPExpo) at the weekend.

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TGA, Medsafe introduce early warning system for medicines and medical devices : 06/06/2013 :

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and its New Zealand counterpart, Medsafe, have jointly introduced a new Early Warning System to assist in the monitoring of the safety of medicines and medical devices after they have been released onto the market.

There are two types of communications that can be issued as part of the Early Warning System; 'Monitoring communications' and 'Alert communications'.

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TGA circulates options for regulatory reform of compounding pharmacies : 06/06/2013 :

The Therapeutic Goods Administration yesterday released a consultation paper looking at options for reform of the regulatory framework for pharmacy compounding.

The paper is being circulated following the raising of concerns both locally and overseas regarding the complexity and scale of manufacture in pharmacies that was not envisaged when the current regulatory arrangements were originally put in place. The principal concern is that the existing arrangements do not provide adequate assurance that medicines manufactured in pharmacies will meet acceptable standards of quality and safety.

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Poll: Have you registered for your Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record : 05/06/2013 :

The number of people registering for a Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) has grown significantly in the last three months with over 170,000 people now registered.

It took 213 days for the first 50,000 registrations to be lodged but only 37 days for the third 50,000 people to register. Regsitrations opened on 1 July 2012. AusPharm recently registered and found the process to be remarkably quick and easy.

Have you registered for your own PCEHR? Please let us know by ticking the relevant box in this week's AusPharm poll.

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Problems with PBS listings for rosuvastatin : 05/06/2013 :

Problems have emerged for community pharmacies this month following errors in the way generic versions of rosuvastatin were added to the PBS database.

In some circumstances, pharmacies have been unable to dispense some brands of rosuvastatin as PBS benefits, despite the brands being PBS listed.

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PSA, PPA join Guild in welcoming removal of pharmacists from SOL : 05/06/2013 :

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) and Professional Pharmacists Australia (PPA) have joined the Pharmacy Guild in welcoming the federal government's decision to remove pharmacists from the Skilled Occupation list from 1 July 2013.

The Pharmacy Guild issued a brief statement on Monday saying that the decision 'reflects the pharmacy workforce reality in many parts of Australia'.

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Union: award wage rise insufficient : 05/06/2013 :

Professional Pharmacists Australia (PPA) said yesterday the 2.6 per cent increase in award wages announced by Fair Work Australia on Monday was not enough and did not fairly remunerate pharmacists for their complex and important roles in Australia’s healthcare system.

PPA President, Dr Geoff March, said pharmacists deserved to be better paid for the important work they do to keep Australians healthy every day.

“Professional Pharmacists Australia wants all pharmacies to be profitable pharmacies and pay their pharmacists appropriately for the work we do for patients,” Dr March said.

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Pharmacy Board reminds pharmacists of 'pharmacist only' (Schedule 3) medicine requirements : 04/06/2013 :

The Pharmacy Board has moved to remind pharmacists that, when supplying a 'pharmacist only' (Schedule 3) medicine, they must be satisfied that there is a genuine therapeutic need for that medicine.

In a communiqué published on its website yesterday, the Board points out that Guideline 4 of its Guidelines on practice specific issues highlights to pharmacists their obligation to comply with their statutory responsibilities regarding the supply of pharmacist only medicines, including supplying appropriate quantities of these medicines.

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Pharmacists off Skilled Occupation List : 04/06/2013 :

The federal government has announced that both community and hospital pharmacists will be removed from the Skilled Occupation List (SOL), effective 1 July 2013. Migrants with occupations listed on the SOL receive more favourable consideration when applying to migrate to Australia than those with occupations not listed.

Previously on the SOL, pharmacists were removed from the 2010 SOL only to be re-instated in 2011, to widespread criticism from the pharmacy profession.

The Pharmacy Guild issued a brief statement yesterday welcoming the decision, saying that 'it reflects the pharmacy workforce reality in many parts of Australia'.

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June Australian Prescriber: OST, statins, pneumococcal vaccines and electronic health records : 04/06/2013 :

The June 2013 issue of Australian Prescriber is now available online. Topics featured in this issue include:

  • Opioid treatment of opioid addiction
  • Statins in older adults
  • Pneumococcal vaccines: past, present and future
  • Personal electronic health records: the start of a journey

It also contains the most recent Medicines Safety Update.

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Self Care relaunched with improvements and new features : 04/06/2013 :

PSA’s popular Self Care program has been reinvigorated and restructured following extensive consultation with pharmacists and pharmacy staff using the system.

Launching the new Self Care at CPExpo last weekend, PSA National President Grant Kardachi said the relaunch involved some major improvements to the program, as well as new features and initiatives.

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Hospital pharmacy managers resign over patient safety concerns : 03/06/2013 :

Following concerns raised at Latrobe Regional Hospital that management is placing financial objectives ahead of patient safety, Pharmacy Manager, Anne Leversha, and her deputy Lyn Billington have resigned from their positions.

The two pharmacists tendered their resignations after management had declined to increase the number of pharmacists to cover the increase in workload since 2009 despite the hospital offering a range of additional patient services and despite an independent review of the pharmacy service in 2012 recommending that the hospital increase the number of pharmacists.

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RGH E‑Bulletin: Canagliflozin in the management of Type 2 Diabetes : 03/06/2013 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Canagliflozin in the management of Type 2 Diabetes.

"Canagliflozin belongs to a class of oral agents known as sodium-glucose transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors – these drugs are undergoing investigation for use in the management of type 2 diabetes (T2D). The kidneys play a fundamental role in glucose homeostasis. It is known that plasma glucose concentration is a modulator of SGLT expression and activity. An important factor is that people with T2D renally reabsorb a proportionately higher amount of glucose in comparison to people who do not have diabetes, which in part contributes to hyperglycemia. The SGLT2 transporter is located in the proximal convoluted tubule and is responsible for approximately 90% of reabsorbed filtered glucose. Administration of a SGLT2 inhibitor to a patient with T2D results in glycosuria, with a corresponding decrease in blood glucose concentrations."

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

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NPS launches short antibiotic resistance videos : 03/06/2013 :

As cold and flu season sets in, NPS MedicineWise is launching a series of six-second videos on Twitter to highlight the problem of antibiotic resistance. The campaign, developed for the Twitter Vine app, is a first for public health promotion in Australia.

In a series of four humorous short films, NPS MedicineWise is depicting a world in which taking antibiotics for viruses, like colds or flu, is considered anti-social behaviour.

NPS MedicineWise CEO, Dr Lynn Weekes, says the campaign was designed to change the public's perception that antibiotics are effective in the treatment of viral infections. She says the light-hearted films carry a serious message: don't expect antibiotics for cold or flu.

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New warfarin resources for consumers : 03/06/2013 :

As part of its 2013 Achieving Good Anticoagulant Practice national program, NPS MedicineWise has developed a new free resource for people taking warfarin.

The Warfarin Dose Tracker is a passport-sized card that helps people taking warfarin keep track of their INR results, record any changes to their daily warfarin dose and be reminded when their next INR test is due. Samples have been mailed to all community and hospital pharmacies.

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TGA consultation on the advertising on therapeutic goods to the public : 03/06/2013 :

The TGA is inviting comments from interested parties on proposals to reform the regulatory framework for the advertising of therapeutic goods to the public.

The consultation document describes the existing regulatory framework, documents problems associated with it, outlines the objectives of and the proposals for reform and invites comments on likely impacts of implementation of the suggested proposals.

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Union building a profile : 31/05/2013 :

After years of relative inactivity, during which it was sometimes dismissed by critics as innocuous and destructive, recently rebadged employee pharmacist union Professional Pharmacists Australia appears to be attracting the attention of a significant proportion of its target market - employee pharmacists.

49% of the (non owner) respondents to this week's AusPharm poll said they would be prepared to join the union. In a worrying sign for PSA, three out of every five pharmacists in this group said they'd join up instead of renewing their PSA memberships. A further 18% of (non owner) respondents said 'maybe' they'd join up.

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Vitamin D tests and deficiency: New patient resource from NPS MedicineWise : 31/05/2013 :

A new patient information leaflet on vitamin D deficiency, produced by NPS MedicineWise, is now available on the NPS website. The leaflet is part of a suite of resources developed for the latest NPS MedicineWise educational program on preventive activities in general practice.

Vitamin D testing is one of several medical tests appraised in the program that focuses on preventive health in 40 – 49 year olds. It encourages GPs to prioritise evidence-based risk assessments and tests, and avoid inappropriate testing that may cause more harm than good.

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Work on advanced practice framework progresses : 31/05/2013 :

The Advanced Pharmacy Practice Framework Steering Committee this week issued a communique detailing its progress on a number of tasks associated with progressing the framework.

The group reported that it was pleased with the  number of pharmacists who participated in a recent survey on advanced pharmacy practice and shared their views and experience. It says it was also pleased with the number of individuals who indicated their willingness to be involved in further work around developing formal recognition of advanced level practice. The outcomes of the survey will be published when full analysis has been completed and the results from the survey are being used to guide a way forward for the recognition of advanced level practitioners. In a related move, the group has established a working group to explore details around a future recognition model.

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