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AusPharm news

Pharmacy Board releases updated guidelines : 17/02/2014 :

Revised guidelines and codes of conduct, and a new social media policy, were released by the Pharmacy Board last week and come into effect in March.

The Board is recommending pharmacists familiarise themselves with the updated versions to ensure their practice meets Board expectations.

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Rigby: HMR funding crisis foreseeable : 17/02/2014 :

Amidst ongoing expressions of anger and, in some cases, despair from pharmacists in AusPharmList posts and on social media websites over the changes to HMR program rules announced last week, prominent consultant clinical pharmacist and Australian medication review pioneer Debbie Rigby says the problem was entirely forseeable.

Ms Rigby points out that, in a climate of increasing uptake of over 15%, 5th Agreement funding for HMRs was actually reduced from that allocated in the 4th Agreement.

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Catholic pharmacist belted for conscientious objection : 17/02/2014 :

Albury pharmacist Simon Horsfall has once again found himself the focus of mainstream media attention after a Facebook post critical of his decision, on religious or conscientious grounds, not to dispense oral contraceptives (OCs) when used for their primary purpose of contraception.

For the last 12 years Mr Horsfall, a practising Catholic, has been including a leaflet in all dispensed packs of OCs, advising patients of his conscientious objection, and requesting that they obtain future supplies at an alternate pharmacy.

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Support in times of change – Pharmacists’ Support Service : 17/02/2014 :

Are you facing an uncertain future and need to talk?

When you feel unable to control a situation it is common to feel anxious and stressed, particularly during times of change and uncertainty. The world and the pharmacy profession are constantly facing change and this can create challenges which leave you feeling very concerned about what the future holds.

The Pharmacists’ Support Service is available on 1300 244 910  to provide a listening ear and non-judgemental support to individuals who need to talk anonymously to another pharmacist.

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Changes to Medication Management Programs Dishearten Pharmacy Students : 17/02/2014 :

The National Australian Pharmacy Students’ Association (NAPSA) has urged the Australian Government to extend the budget for medication management programs funded under the 5th Community Pharmacy Agreement in the wake of the changes announced on the 12th of February.

The new capping arrangements have left pharmacy students feeling further disheartened about the employment opportunities that will be available to them in the future.

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ACCC goes after Pfizer for alleged anti-competitive conduct on atorvastatin : 14/02/2014 :

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has instituted proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia against Pfizer Australia for alleged misuse of market power and exclusive dealing in relation to its supply of atorvastatin to pharmacies in contravention of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.

Prior to the loss of patent protection in May 2012, Pfizer's Lipitor was prescribed to over one million Australians, with annual sales exceeding $700m. The ACCC’s allegations relate to offers made by Pfizer to pharmacies in early 2012 for the supply of Lipitor and Pfizer’s own generic atorvastatin product.

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Consumers, union, SHPA, PSA reaction to 5CPA changes : 14/02/2014 :

The Consumers Health Forum (CHF), Professional Pharmacists Australia (PPA) and the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA) all issued statements yesterday in response to Wednesday's announcement from the Pharmacy Guild that claims for Home Medicines Reviews are to be capped at 20 / month per provider, claims for Medschecks / Diabetes Medschecks are to be capped at 10 / month per pharmacy and that patients may only receive one (funded) HMR / RMMRs every two years.

All three raised concerns about the changes.

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Pharmacists on board for 'screening, prevention and wellness checks' : 14/02/2014 :

The result of this week's AusPharm poll suggests that pharmacists are strongly in favour of a proposal put to government by the Pharmacy Guild in a pre-budget submission earlier this week.

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More from the Guild on changes to HMR, Medscheck funding : 14/02/2014 :

Given the pounding the Guild is taking on AusPharmList over Wednesday’s announcement of the HMR / Medscheck program capping, we asked the Guild to explain more clearly the reasons for the changes.

In response Guild President George Tambassis sent along the following:

“This has been a very difficult decision as the Government has made clear that we have to work within the existing Agreement budget."

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Petition: Reverse the Changes to the Medication Review Program : 14/02/2014 :

A petition has been set up in an attempt to convince Health Minister Peter Dutton to reverse the 5th Agreement Program rule changes announced on Wednesday afternoon.

It was put online by Dr Peter Tenni, the instigator of the March 2013 'Save HMRs' petition that played a part in then Health Minister Tanya Plibersek's decision to reject calls for a moratorium to be imposed on funding for HMRs. That petition attracted 1879 signatures.

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US pharmacists earn an average of US$117 thousand a year : 14/02/2014 :

Pharmacists have come in at number 5 on the U.S. News 100 Best Jobs of 2014 list. The rankings are based on criteria including employment opportunity, good salary, manageable work-life balance and job security.

"Even in a tough job market, the unique mix of medical knowledge and people skills required to run a pharmacy counter remain in demand" says the 'pharmacist' entry.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 14.5 percent employment growth for pharmacists by 2022, with the field adding 41,400 new jobs to the current pharmacist workforce of 281,560.

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ACOSS joins call for accelerated price disclosure process : 13/02/2014 :

Another group to lodge a 'pre-budget submission' with the federal government this week was peak body for the community services and welfare sector and the national voice for the needs of people affected by poverty and inequality, the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS).

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HMR, Medschecks numbers capped, pharmacists livid : 13/02/2014 :

The number of Home Medicines Reviews able to be claimed by a single provider has been capped at 20 / month with the number of Medschecks / Diabetes Medschecks able to be claimed by a single pharmacy capped at 10 / month.

The new limits were announced late yesterday afternoon by the Pharmacy Guild and take effect from 1 March.

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Chemmart Pharmacies back Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month : 12/02/2014 :

In a bid to help raise awareness of ovarian cancer this February, Chemmart Pharmacy and Ovarian Cancer Australia (OCA) are inviting Australians to paint their nails teal – the international colour of ovarian cancer.

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PSA outlines 6CPA aims : 12/02/2014 :

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) says that the 6th Community Pharmacy Agreement should be negotiated in the context of it being the cornerstone of pharmacy’s contribution to the provision of a comprehensive suite of primary healthcare services for the community. 

In a letter to PSA members, PSA President Grant Kardachi said that this approach will enable pharmacists to be better identified as healthcare clinicians and community pharmacies to be regarded as healthcare destinations.

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Poll: should pharmacies do 'screening, prevention and wellness checks'? : 12/02/2014 :

One of the proposals in the Pharmacy Guild's pre-budget submission put to government this week was that community pharmacies should conduct 'screening, prevention and wellness checks'.

The submission defines the service as a 'comprehensive in-pharmacy health check service to assist in early identification of disease risk in order to encourage lifestyle behavioural changes and address identified risk factors, as well as referrals to other health professionals such as GPs where required. A health and wellness check may include blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose, body measurements, lung function, bone density and deal with lifestyle risk factors such as smoking, diet, sleep and exercise.'

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Pledging to fight antibiotic resistance does make a difference : 11/02/2014 :

NPS MedicineWise is urging all health professionals to take the pledge to fight antibiotic resistance after new research showed that making a public commitment leads to significant improvements in antibiotic prescribing.

The study, published recently in JAMA Internal Medicine, reported a 19.7% drop in inappropriate prescribing over three months after doctors displayed a signed poster in their practice explaining their commitment to the judicious use of antibiotics.

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Medicare targets pharmacies claiming twice for same PBS script : 11/02/2014 :

In an article in the current Bulletin Board, the Department of Human Services says pharmacists claiming more than once for the same prescription are a key focus of its health professional Compliance Program.

The department says that if pharmacies claim, and are paid, for supplying the same prescription more than once, it will recover the additional payments.

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QR codes now on prescriptions for ordering via smart phones : 11/02/2014 :

The majority of GPs and specialists can now print scripts with QR codes following software updates from Australia’s major clinical software providers this week.

Doctors using the latest versions of clinical software programs by Medical Director, Genie, Zedmed, Practix, Totalcare, and Houston can now print QR codes on prescriptions. By the end of March, 99% of Australian GPs and specialists will be able to print QR codes, once software updates by Best Practice, Communicare, Stat, Medtech and eRx’s other clinical software partners are released.

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Strontium ranelate (Protos) and risk of adverse events : 10/02/2014 :

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is currently undertaking a review of strontium ranelate (Protos) to assess the risk of adverse events including cardiovascular events.

While the review is underway, the TGA is reminding health professionals of the current contraindications and precautions included in the Product Information (PI) for Protos and of the need to evaluate cardiovascular risk before prescribing.

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