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AusPharm news

Alerts improve asthma inhaler adherence: study : 31/07/2014 :

Asthmatics can reduce their risk of flare-ups with personalised alerts that remind them to use their inhaler, according to a new study.

Researchers at the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research in Sydney investigated the use of a device that clips on to the inhaler, with personalised ring tones and ring times that remind the patient to take a puff if they miss a dose.

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Tambassis rebuts latest Clarke missive : 31/07/2014 :

Pharmacy Guild President, George Tambassis, yesterday responded to renewed calls for the abolition of the pharmacy location rules by saying they "provide a strong public policy benefit of ensuring that there is fair and equitable access to PBS-subsidised medicines delivered through an accessible pharmacy network."

Mr Tambassis's comments came in response to an article by health economist Professor Philip Clarke published in yesterday's Financial Review newspaper in which he described the location rules as ‘perniciously anti-competitive’. 

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Poll: do you enjoy your work as a pharmacist? : 30/07/2014 :

With all of the challenges thrown at pharmacies / pharmacists these days (low employee wages, difficult trading conditions, difficult working conditions etc) we're wondering whether people are enjoying their roles as pharmacists.

We've asked 'listers this before and will compare this week's poll result with those obtained from identical polls in 2012, 2007 and 2003.

So, how is it for you? Do you enjoy your work as a pharmacist? Please let us know by voting in this week's AusPharm poll.

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Union: confusion over award changes : 30/07/2014 :

Employee pharmacist union, Professional Pharmacists Australia (PPA) is calling for greater industry awareness of the changes to the Pharmacy Industry Award that came into effect on 1 July 2014 - in particular the change that all pharmacists previously working as permanent casuals (working 'reasonably predictable' hours) must be moved to either permanent full-time or permanent part-time status.

PPA says it has received many calls from pharmacists who have experienced problems in the transition to the new arrangements and wants to ensure pharmacists are aware of their new rights.

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PAC14 Early Bird registrations closing soon : 30/07/2014 :

Early Bird registrations for PAC14, which offer savings of up to $188 on a full registration, close on Thursday, 31 July, so act now to make the most of a great opportunity to save money while securing your attendance at one of Australia's premier pharmacy events.

National President of the PSA, Grant Kardachi, said PAC14 would present an exciting and highly interactive education and networking program.

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PBS Hospital Medication Chart under development : 29/07/2014 :

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care is developing a national standard medication chart for use in inpatient and outpatient settings in both public and private hospitals to provide for the prescribing, dispensing and claiming of PBS medicines directly from the chart. The chart will also accommodate the provision of non-PBS medicines.

The project is a key initiative in the Commission’s Medication Safety Program, which is charged with improving the safety and quality of medication use in Australia.

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Expressions of interest invited for review of the competency standards : 29/07/2014 :

The Pharmacy Practitioner Development Committee (PPDC) is commencing a review of the Australian pharmacy profession’s competency standards. The National competency standards framework for pharmacists in Australia, issued in 2010, is regarded as a dynamic document and is formally reviewed on a regular basis.

On behalf of the profession, the PPDC is seeking expressions of interest from suitable individuals or groups to assist with the first stage of the review - to undertake background research and literature review on national and international competency standards development for pharmacists and other health professions.

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RGH E‑Bulletin: Antidepressants in pregnancy : 28/07/2014 :

The topic of this week's RGH E‑Bulletin is Antidepressants in pregnancy.

"Depression is very common in pregnant women and in the postnatal period, with an estimated 13% affected. Treatment of depression in pregnant women remains a challenge as exposure of a foetus to severe maternal depression may well be as risky as exposure to antidepressants. Factors such as a deficiency in randomized controlled trials, the limited power of studies, failure to control for confounding variables and the lack of information about disease state of the women contribute to the challenge of deriving a solid evidence base for the treatment of depression in this context. As a result clinicians have to work in a clinical situation that is characterised by less information and more risk."

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

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Winners of 2014 Reader's Digest most trusted brands survey announced : 28/07/2014 :

The winners of 2014 Reader's Digest most trusted brands surveys were announced recently.

Dettol topped the First Aid Brand category with Colgate coming in a number one in the Oral healthcare category ahead of Oral B. Panadol topped Nurofen in the Pain relief category.

In the supermarket category Coles was number one, ahead of Aldi at number 2 with Woolworths only managing a third placing on the list.

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Medication Management Programs - have your say : 28/07/2014 :

As part of a broad PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) Review of Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement (5CPA) Medication Management programs, the organisation has put up an online survey to get health professionals' views and perspectives on them.

The programs and services covered by the Review include: Home Medicines Review (HMR),  Residential Medication Management Review (RMMR), MedsCheck/Diabetes MedsCheck, Clinical Interventions, Dose Administration Aids and Staged Supply.

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Harvey scathing of lack of transparency in new MA Code of Conduct : 28/07/2014 :

Public health physician, Dr Ken Harvey, has hit out at Medicines Australia's draft 18th Code of Conduct, recently submitted to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for approval, saying it does little to improve transparency around payments to health professionals.

In 2012, when edition 17 of the Medicines Australia Code was released, the ACCC limited its authorisation to 2 years rather than the 5 years sought in order to encourage Medicines Australia to improve transparency. While Edition 18 of the Code “encourages” healthcare professionals to consent to disclosure, it also allows them to opt-out while retaining the financial and related benefits of their interaction with member companies.

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Quarter of a million Australians in ‘liver danger zone’ : 28/07/2014 :

A new analysis, released to mark today's World Hepatitis Day, warns that approximately 250,000 Australians with untreated hepatitis B or C are have reached the critical age-point (aged over 40 years) where liver scarring accelerates and the risk of cirrhosis, liver cancer and liver failure dramatically increases.

“We dub this the ‘liver danger zone’ – where middle-age accelerates the impact of viral hepatitis on the liver,” said Professor Greg Dore from the Kirby Institute in Sydney, whose analysis forms part of a Hepatitis Report Card.

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Tambassis: government support for location rules at risk? : 28/07/2014 :

Amidst concerns some pharmacists are 'gaming the system' with regard to pharmacy Location Rules, Pharmacy Guild President George Tambassis has moved to defend the Rules but has also warned his members that behaviour that could be seen to undermine the Rules' intent and effectiveness could place at risk government support for them.

In a communication to Guild members on Friday Mr Tambassis reported 'concerns' have been expressed in regard to the way the Rules have been applied to applications for new pharmacies in large medical centres and, also, with the Ministerial Discretion provision in the Rules - in particular, that Ministerial Discretion may be being considered without the knowledge input of nearby pharmacies and that, in some instances, the Ministerial Discretion avenue may be being used simply as a right of appeal.

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Large gap between pharmacists' perceived worth and actual pay : 25/07/2014 :

The results of this week's AusPharm poll suggest that pharmacists believe a pharmacist in charge (PIC) is worth far more than either the market dictates or pharmacy owners are able to pay.

Almost one third of repondents (31%) to the poll told us they think an appropriate annual remuneration package for a pharmacist in charge is over $100k per annum.

23% of respondents thought $80-90k about right with a further 24% choosing the $90-$100k range.

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Role of paracetamol in low back pain questioned : 25/07/2014 :

Paracetamol, when used to treat acute low back pain, does not speed recovery or reduce pain, new Australian research concludes.

According to researchers – who included Sydney University School of Pharmacy’s Professor Andrew McLachlan - even though every back pain treatment guideline in the world currently recommends the use of paracetamol as the first-line back pain analgesic, no previous studies have provided convincing evidence that it is effective in people with low back pain.

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Guidelines for the regulatory management of registered health practitioners and students infected with blood-borne viruses : 25/07/2014 :

The Pharmacy Board, together with the other 13 AHPRA Boards are consulting on the draft ‘Guidelines for the regulatory management of registered health practitioners and students infected with blood-borne viruses’.

The closing date for submissions in 26 September 2014.

Details are here.

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SHPA members get access to an extensive e-book library : 24/07/2014 :

Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA) members now have access to an extensive e-book library through EBSCOhost, as a new member benefit.

SHPA’s Medicines Information Committee of Specialty Practice (COSP) and Accredited Pharmacists Reference Group selected the library  titles and both groups will be involved in reviewing them to ensure the e-books in the collection are current and of value to members.

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New committee formed to 'focus on the development of pharmacist practitioners' : 24/07/2014 :

A new Pharmacy Practitioner Development Committee (PPDC) has been established to continue the work conducted over the last three years by the Advanced Pharmacy Practice Framework Steering Committee (APPFSC).

The group describes itself as "a profession-wide collaborative forum established to focus on the development of pharmacist practitioners through consideration of competencies and scopes of practice".

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Guild puts trust in Coalition : 24/07/2014 :

The Pharmacy Guild said yesterday it had "no reason to believe that the Coalition is not absolutely committed to the election promises it has made to community pharmacy."

These were:

  • "The Coalition continues to support the model of pharmacies being owned by pharmacists to ensure community pharmacy remains focused to the needs of patients" - Prime Minister Tony Abbott in a pre-election letter to the Guild, and
  • "We also support pharmacy location rules which ensure that Australians regardless of where they live have more equitable access to medicines delivered through a viable, privately owned and financed national network of community pharmacies" - Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss in a pre-election letter to the Guild.

At APP, in March 2014, the Minister for Health, Peter Dutton, continued the theme.

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Opportunity to showcase your practice at PAC14 : 24/07/2014 :

Researchers and practitioners are being given an opportunity to showcase their practice through poster and oral presentations at the Pharmacy Australia Congress (PAC14).

The PAC14 Organising Committee has called for people undertaking pharmacy-related research or implementing pharmacy practice innovation to submit abstracts to be considered for presentation at PAC14.

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